IMPRESSIVE PARTICIPANTS: Whenever we come across a festival that has to do with a) restaurants b) vineyards c) brewers or d) all of the above, we typically go straight to the participants' list. Oh, it isn't that we don't like the pretty pictures of goblets filled with sparkling libations or the rosy-cheeked attendees lifting a glass. Those are all definitely part of the bigger picture. But we need to know who will be there, what the logos will be on the glasses, and what winemakers and winemaking representative we'll be chatting up. A glance at the Monterey Wine Festival participant list does not disappoint: Alexander Valley Vineyards, Anchor Distilling, Fog's End Distillery, and Pierce Ranch Vineyards are some of the top-level names. But they're all top-level at this party, which marks 36 years in 2012. Oh, and the dates and place? Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 at the Custom House Plaza in Monterey.
NOW, ABOUT THE FOOD... Well. Where to start? There's a chowder competition going down on Saturday, June 9 -- we were going to be cheeky and say "oh, a chowder contest in Monterey?" but, of course, Monterey kind of has the corner on chowder, as we all well know -- and several tempting food purveyors. We want to sample at Cabot Cheese and Village Cove Seafoods and Cloud 9 Olivery. Tickets start at ten bucks for just the chowder competition and head up to a VIP-ish $55 for the wine festival. More information? Start here.