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The Real Deal Wine and Dine in Pasadena

Glass Pinot

Pasadena Pinot Fest Grand Kickoff Dinner 

to feature five chefs, five courses, and five wineries for a good cause


There are wine dinners, and then there are dinners worth getting my attention. In the short time of Wandering WIno's excistence, I have not written about anything related to a wine dinner. Mainly because there were none that really got me all that excited, and my wife, friends, and family will quickly attest, I do not fake my emotions well, especially when written, it's just not my style.

After working wine dinners and the gamit of restaurants, ranging from coffee shop to ultra fine dinning, I can tell you it takes a bit to get me excited. This dinner is something that got my motor running. Great wine pairings are a lot of fun for sure, but I need more. As a former Pasadena resident, when I saw the list of restaurants involved, it brought back some great dinning memories of fantastic food experiences. Those participating include: The Raymond, AKA Bistro & Bistro 45, Elements, Noir Food and Wine, and Altadena Town and Country Club.

Pasadena Pinot Fest 

(Above Photo credit - Mary Kay Wilson) (Pictured Mike Farwell and Chef Claud Beltran of Noir Food & Wine, and Craig Sloane, general manager of Altadena Town & Country Club)


As a former restaurant manager, bartender, server, and chief bottle washer, I can tell you from the other side of the counter, these are fantastic dinning establishments that on their own would be exciting.

Frank Ostini

(Above Photo - Frank Ostini of Hitching Post Wines)


As an officially certified wino that loves Pinot Noir, Pinot Fest is again, enough to get excited about on its own. Let's now add legendary status winemakers wine into the mix. Are you excited yet? While their wines are stellar, the winemakers themselves will be on hand. I could say much about each on their own, but let's just start with one winemaker being inducted into the vintner's hall of fame this coming Febuary, 2012. Video interview of him on our homepage through Feburary.

Alma Rosa


(Above Photo - Bruno D'Alfonso of D'Alfonso-Curran Wines)


I've had the pleasure of drinking four of the five winemakers line-up of wines. Knowing that each of them are amongst some of the top Pinot Noir producers, I can not begin to tell you how excited I am to try that fifth winemakers wines.

Now, combind all of these things, and this is what I call a wine dinner!

The Grand Kickoff Dinner will be held on Jan. 15, 2012, 6 p.m., at the Altadena Town & Country Club 

·      Course I—Elements Kitchen (Chef Onil ChibĪ¬s) and Clos Pepe WineryChardonnay (Wes Hagen);

·      Course II—AKA Bistro & Bistro 45 (Chef James Lambrinos) and Hitching Post Winery Pinot Noir (Gray Hartley and Frank Osini);

·      Course III—Altadena Town & Country Club (Chef John Angelopulos) and Alma Rosa Winery Pinot Noir (Richard Sanford);

·      Course IV—The Raymond Restaurant (Chef Tim Guiltinan) and D'Alfonso-Curran Wines Pinot Noir (Kris Curran and Bruno D'Alfonso);

·      Course V—Noir Food & Wine (Chef Claud Beltran) and Williams-Selyam Winery Pinot Noir (Jeff Mangahas and Bob Cabral) 

To purchase Grand Kickoff dinner tickets, which are $149 - $179 per person, please visit 

And to make this standout event even more significant, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the in-need children and families served by Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services—one of the largest provider of children's mental-health services in Los Angeles County.

This is all a fantastic way to kick off a series of events that will finalize with the Pinot Festival Grand Public Tasting at the Altadena Town & Country Club on Feb. 11, which will feature wines from more than 100 wineries. I've seen the list and it is impressive. For information and tickets ($95 per person), visit or call 626.795.7199.