The Wandering Wino Blog

Sunset Savor Central Coast

Wine and Food

When it comes to food and wine, there is a chemistry that simply comes together in such a wonderful way that so many people appreciate. There are many wine festivals throughout the State, but when it comes to bringing together really great food with special wines, Sunset Savor Central Coast is tough to beat.

The Cliffs Beach Sunset

Every September a culmination of some of the very best local farmers, fisherman, chefs, restaurants, wineries, and winemakers join together to celebrate everything that is amazing about the California Central Coast.

Dinner Seat Ocean View

The event kicked-off Friday evening with Sunset Wine Editor  Sara Schneider  and Sunset President Barb Newton on the beautiful cliffs of Pismo Beach at the Dinosaur Caves Park. Every year Sunset Magazine has an international wine competition, and Friday September 29th, was the grand tasting and dinner. The Sunset Magazines' selection of award winning wines were exclusively poured for guests as a sneak peak prior to the release of Novembers issue showcasing these wines. Appetizers were sampled by some of Pismo Beach's accomplished chefs.

Wine Pour

Cracked Crab Pismo

(Pismo Beach Cracked Crab owners Mike and Kathy Lee) One of the stand-outs of the evening

Chefs Plate

The evening was just getting started as a five course dinner was served on the beach cliffs overlooking the setting sun. There was no shortage of wines to pair with each course as diners were encouraged to pour the wine of their own choosing at their leisure. The dinner started with a jazz band and crispy pork belly with apple fig jam, puffed rice, and sherry gastrique prepared by Chef Ashley Kato of Marisol at The Cliffs Resort.

Ocean View Chair

More fantastic wine discoveries took place at the dinner tables including a couple of real "A-gamers" like David Girard Syrah from El Dorado California, and Auteur Pinot Noir from Mendocino. These are wines truly deserving of awards.

Jazz Band

The evening continued with an after party in the main tent complete with DJ, dancing, dessert wines, and dessert.

 After Party Dancing

Sunset Savor Central Coast Dinner 

Sunset Savor Central Coast Wine Glass

Sunset Savor Central Coast Entrance

The following two days were the main event of Sunset Savor the Central Coast, held at Rancho Santa Margarita just south of Paso Robles wine country. It was impossible to find a lack of activities at this very large and well organized event. Celebrity chefs, brew masters, Sunset experts, and winemakers were involved in multiple extra seminars like "Does Your Glass Really Matter?" The "Idaho Wine Commission" with Wine Editor Sara Schneider and panel shared about this under the radar region and their wines. 

Idaho Wine


Firestone Beer

Apple Farm

Food Network

(Above Photo - Chef Rick Moonen, Sunset Editor Kitty Morgan, Food Network Star Ted Allen, Sunset Wine Editor Sara Schneider)

There was no shortage of Food Network stars and big name chefs like Susan Feniger who is so well know for her elegant and eclectic street food. The always smiling chef Aarti Sequeira, host of Aarti Party taught on simple ways to blend Indian influence into American classics. 

Chef Susan

Ararti Party Sequeira

(Above Photo - Aarti Sequeira)

Chef Rick Moonen

Chef Rick Moonen, owner of the amazing RM restaurant in Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, demonstrated his culinary talents by creating what he is best known for, seafood. 

Chef Rick Moonen RM

Chef Rick Moonen seafood

Ted Allen Food Network

Author and Food Network star Ted Allen hosted "The Battle of the Bay." This event brought together two local chefs from Morrow Bay that went head to head. Chef Adam Pollard of Taco Temple and Chef Paul Arangorin from the Inn at Morro Bay were challenged to put their fish cooking skills to the test. Sunset Editor-in-Chef Kitty Morgan was given the honors of judging the event.

Kitty Morgan Judge

Ted Allen

Ted Allen Chef Paul Kitty Morgan

Paso Robles Session

There was also a special session called "Discover Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance" led by Sunset Wine Editor Sara Schneider. The six member panel held some of Paso's pioneers and brightest stars, including winemaker/owners from Eberle, Terry Hoage, Ecluse, Brian Benson, Hope Family, and Victor Hugo. The session covered everything great about Syrah, and Paso Robles pioneering from the early '70's up to what makes Paso Robles such a fantastic wine region today.

Paso Robles Wine Alliance

Paso Robles Syrah

VONS Picnic

Chef Steve Lyons

(Above Photo - Celebrity Chef Steve Lyons)

The event was well spread out and diverse.  One could walk from Chef Central inside a historic church, to the pavilion, to the VONS picnic area, to the gardening demonstrations, cooking demonstrations, to the breweries pouring, with the only concern being prioritizing what to experience. Plus countless vendors, 100+ wineries pouring fantastic wines, and local restaurants offering samples of high quality foods.


(Above Photo - Sidecar Restaurant Oyster)

Port Cheese

Tablas Creek Bottle

Tap It Beer

Treana Wine

The Hope Family Winery that includes the Treana label, did something special, not typically seen at an event. They mixed their already tasty Treana Rhone white wine (two parts) with (one part) ST Germain liquor over ice and lemon garnish. This is highly recommended under most any conditions, especially hot summer days. These thirst quenching beverages were so popular they ran out very early. 

After spending the weekend at this amazing event it could easily be compared to a brides wedding day. It felt like it went by too quickly and I didn't get to see everyone or everything. The good news is the event will be aviable to experience again next year.   


  • larry schaffer
    Posted Monday 08 October 2012 18:30
    Shawn, Great write up and especially great pics!!! I find this event more about Paso then I do about the 'Central Coast' . . . what say you? Cheers!
  • Wandering Wino
    Posted Monday 08 October 2012 20:38
    Thanks so much Larry! Yes and no. I'd say there is a lot of central coast foods and business represented. Morro Bay seafoods, oysters, Madonna Inn, many Pismo, Morro Bay chefs. Santa Barbara vintners, SLO, and Santa Maria Valley each had a table that represented their respected regions. Paso Robles Wine Alliance had a table, as did many individual wineries from Paso Robles. They were all represented, but no question the majority of the wineries were Paso Robles.

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