Sweet Stems, Sights at Monterey Wine Festival

The Chowdah Challenge & Celebration is part of your Saturday entrance.


HOW WOULD YOU RANK... the following things? A perfect glass of chardonnay, a tangy breeze right of Monterey Bay, historic buildings full of character, the fact that we're on summer's doorstep, and a creamy, hot-but-not-too-hot bowl of clam chowder. We mean, even assigning a number or slot to any of these delicious items and sights is a challenge, for if you love wine and hearty stews and Monterey and warm-weather events, you probably want to place 'em all at #1. Here's our opinion: Everything can be #1, no ranking required, at the Monterey Wine Festival, which returns for its festive 42nd gathering over the penultimate weekend of summer. That's on Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10, so you still have time to arrange your trip to the picturesque...

CUSTOM HOUSE PLAZA, in the old city, which is where all of the sipping, socializing, and breeze-enjoying shall take place. Yes, you're not far from the water, and, yes, seafood-y stews are on the menu, at least on Saturday, when the Chowdah Challenge & Celebration takes place. Your Saturday ticket to the festival includes the chowder, er, chowdah fun, take note. And while you're taking note, take note of this: Sunday is all about the Kings of Calamari and Masters of Mussels, if that's how you prefer your outta-the-waves eats. And should you be more into the whole spirits scene, and not the grapes so much, there's a cocktail camp to join. In short? A lot is doing at this long-runner of a stem-laden lark, from food to drinks to all of those soft 'n salty Monterey pleasures, so get up on the need-to-knows now.

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