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A Weekend of Taste

WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Wine drinkers, take a sip at one of these OC events.


If you see a man surreptitiously staring at a slender set of legs on May 6, don’t roll your eyes. He’s probably just studying the wine in his glass from one of 30 or more wineries that will be on display during the 2nd Annual Great Wine Festival at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine.

From 2-5 p.m., guests with a wine weakness (we prefer to call it a strength) will be able to taste their favorite libation from regions that wind all over the West Coast: from Temecula to the Central Valley, to Napa and Southern Oregon. Tondre, Gnarly Head, Freemark Abbey, and Ferrari Carano are just some of the wines that will be represented.

“This wine festival is a little different,” says Jennifer Miramontes, a spokesperson for the event, “because you don’t have to buy tickets for each wine you taste. One ticket will include trying all wines at the festival.”

For visitors looking for something sweet, Cake Pop Creations will be on site. Cake Pop Creations’ specialty is a small ball of cake coated in chocolate or candy, which is then placed on a stick. The cake pops come in a variety of flavors, from chocolate to peanut butter and jelly.

The Legal Aid Society of Orange County, a nonprofit organization that provides free and low-cost legal services to low-income individuals, will host the event. LASOC will use the money earned at the festival in an effort to keep certain programs open – the hotline, specifically - after receiving a 15% funding cut, Miramontes says.

In the Great Wine Festival’s debut last year, LASOC was able to raise over $30,000. Miramontes expects this year’s event to surpass that number and receive a turnout of 300 to 400 people. Tickets are $75.

For those who want to turn wine tasting into a three-day weekend, OC Tastefest Food and Wine Celebration will be taking place May 4 and 5 at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.

The two-day event will showcase more than 25 restaurants, including Slater’s 50/50, Ten Asian Bistro and Marrakesh. A chefs challenge will take place on May 5, judged by several well-known cooks and TV personalities. And live music will be performed throughout the event by bands including Steely Dan, Santana and The Eagles cover bands.

For the chefs challenge, six challengers will create dishes focusing on health and fitness and will be analyzed by celebrated chefs, including Pascal Olhats, Jenny Rose and Rachel Marie. The competition will be hosted by Susan Irby the Bikini Chef, and Stuart O’Keeffe and Manouschka Guerrier of Food Network’s Private Chefs of Beverly Hills.

This year’s festival is in conjunction with the 2012 OC Marathon. General admission tickets for OC Tastefest are $20.

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