Southern California's largest and most posh culinary showcase will feature a week of cooking classes, demonstrations and tasting events with San Diego's premiere gourmet professionals.
"The setting couldn't be better," said Michelle Metter, a festival producer. "When you are surrounded by the bay with luxury sailboats and yachts sailing by, hundreds of award-winning wines and amazing food to taste, it is difficult to have a bad time."
A variety of events have been scheduled for each day of the festival, with most taking place around the Downtown and Embarcadero areas.
New this year at the festival is "Bling and Bubbly," a sparkling wine and champagne tasting event at Downtown's luxury Ivy Hotel on Nov. 14. It will feature catered cuisine from The Quarter Kitchen, a fashion show and a silent auction.
Part of the proceeds will benefit Becky's house, a transitional residential program for women and children escaping domestic violence.
Also new this year is the "Chef of the Fest Competition," where 60 of San Diego's top chefs will compete for a $50,000 cash and prize award for creating the best dish.
The competition will be held at the Grand Tasting event, which is the week's culminating affair, on Nov. 17 at the Embarcadero Park North behind Seaport Village.
In addition to the chefs, 30 gourmet food companies and 160 international winemakers and spirit producers will be on hand at the Grand Tasting event.
"It does not matter if you are a wine novice, a seasoned collector or a nondrinker altogether; the festival really has a wonderful mix," said Metter.
The Wine & Food Festival annually attracts thousands of local foodies as well as visitors from all over Southern California and beyond, highlighting San Diego as an up-and-coming culinary hot spot.
"First and foremost, it's great for San Diego," said Lisa Redwine, general manager of Molly's Restaurant & Wine Bar and wine director for the Downtown Marriot. "Having people who live outside realize it isn't just a sleepy little surf town with fish tacos."
Redwine said that when she moved to San Diego two years ago and searched for a sommelier position, there were hardly any to come by. Now, she said, as San Diego's restaurant scene grows up, it seems like new restaurants with sommeliers are cropping up all over town.
"That says a lot for what we're doing," she said.
Redwine will be moderating a "Women Winemakers" panel on Nov. 16 at the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center.
The festival will also feature its share of star-studded celebrity chefs, including Bravo's Top Chef contestants Brian Malarkey of Oceanaire, Brian Hill and Frank Terzoli.
"We are very proud of chefs in our community who have had the opportunity to raise their celebrity status with appearances on shows like Top Chef and The Next Food Network Star," said Metter. "Certainly their recognizability helps draw people to the event. But we try to strike a solid balance, though, and pick chefs to headline the event who are making waves for a variety of reasons. One of our major goals with this festival is to help create national celebrities out of our local chefs."
More chefs participating throughout the week include Isabel Cruz of Isabel's Cantina, Gavin Kaysen of El Bizcocho and Dave Lawrence, author of "Boy Eats World."
Cooking classes take place at the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center, 200 Harbor Drive, and Macy's School of Cooking at Mission Valley Mall. Prices for events vary and packages are available.
For full event information or to purchase tickets visit www.worldofwineevents.com or call (619) 342-7337. Must be 21 years or older to attend.