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Wine Wanderlust Guide: November 2017

Plan your travels with wine in mind: Wine Spectator's new monthly roundup highlights exciting, book-now happenings—from a wine-and-film festival in Napa Valley to SommCon to Sherry celebrations
Photo by: Bodegas Williams & Humbert
International Sherry Week brings a taste of Spain to other countries with events centered around the fortified wine.

Samantha Falewée
Posted: November 3, 2017

Want to explore wine around the world? Wine Spectator's new monthly guide opens the door with insider tips, upcoming events and seasonal packages, and once-in-a-lifetime cultural experiences.

Travel Intel

What’s the big news in the world of wine, travel and food? Check our Travel Intel section to stay in the know.

The Wharf in Washington, D.C., Debuts

The Wharf, the $2.5 billion neighborhood development along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., officially opened Oct. 12. It's a mile-long promenade of residences, hotels, restaurants, parks, public piers and shopping and leisure spaces in the city’s southwest quadrant. A highlight of the 20-odd restaurants comes from the husband-and-wife team of chef Fabio and Maria Trabocchi, whose Fiola and Fiola Mare both hold Wine Spectator Best of Awards of Excellence for their wine lists. The couple's new Del Mar restaurant is their first centered on Spanish cuisine, reflecting Maria's heritage. As the Wharf celebrates the upcoming holidays, check www.wharfdc.com for info on events like Thanks for Giving, which salutes active military and veterans (Nov. 4), Light up the Wharf, which offers music and entertainment with a Christmas tree lighting (Dec. 1), and the Holiday Boat Parade (Dec. 2).

Rendering courtesy of Lázaro Rosa-Violán Studio
Del Mar—offering tapas, a raw bar, charcoal-grilled fish and more—is now open.

Journeys in Wine and Food

Ready for the next adventure? Look for these wine travel experiences this November.


Napa Valley

Napa Valley Film Festival
The Uptown Theater, an Art Deco building that first opened in 1937, is hosting screenings.

The Napa Valley Film Festival (www.nvff.org) returns for its seventh-annual event Nov. 8–12 with screenings, wine tastings, culinary demonstrations, winemaker dinners and more. More than 120 new independent films and studio previews will be screened in nine venues, from the Margrit Mondavi Theater at the Napa Valley Opera House to the historic Cameo Cinema in St. Helena. The Culinary Institute of America at Copia, the CIA’s location in downtown Napa, hosts a fun array of films and filmmakers paired with culinary demonstrations, with topics from using invasive species in sushi to the history of women commanding the kitchen in a male-dominated industry. At the festival’s “Up-Valley” hub, check out the wine tastings, artisan pavilion and dining at Farmstead Restaurant and Long Meadow Ranch Winery. Wine Spectator’s own senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec is hosting two seminars: "Finding the Beauty in the Rot" (Nov. 8, 1 p.m.) and "Next Level Food and Wine for Film" (Nov. 9, 3 p.m.). Festival day passes begin at $85 per person and include a screening, an afternoon wine tasting and a culinary demonstration; a full VIP pass is $2,500.

Napa Valley Film Festival Will Bucquoy Napa Valley Film Festival Frank Micelotta/Picture Group

San Diego

For hardcore wine education, the SommCon summit, Nov. 15–17 at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, attracts industry professionals and wine obsessives alike. Attendees should expect to dive headfirst into diverse topics such as “History of Wine: Pangaea to Pasteur,” “Competing in Sommelier Competitions,” “An Overview of Oxidation and Reduction Chemistry in Wines” and “Wine and Music: Mysterious Resonances Explored.” Be sure to look at what’s available to the public and what is trade-only under the Schedule of Events at www.sommconusa.com. You can also use the time to earn a certification, and they’re not limited to wine: If you’re attending as a trade member, jump into the second level of the Cicerone Certification Program ($395) for beer, or try for a WSET Level 1 Award in sake ($265). On opening day, Champagne Taittinger presents the kick-off toast as Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Awards program director Gillian Sciaretta gives special remarks before lunch, which will be served with Loire Valley wines.

New York

There is always a splashy dining event with the latest and greatest culinary stars happening in New York. But if you’re in the city this November, consider going off the beaten path for a wine dinner at Gloria. The quiet, understated pescatarian restaurant, which opened earlier this year to encouraging reviews, is a winning find in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, at the western end of Midtown Manhattan, not far from touristy Times Square. For the fall season, the restaurant is offering an American Natural Winemaker & Brewer Dinner Series. On Nov. 20, winemaker Nathan Kendall comes in from the Finger Lakes to bring tastes of his winery’s Rieslings, Pinot Noir, a pétillant-naturel made with sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier (formerly of Rouge Tomate) and a surprise bottling. Prices are $78 per person, including wine, and dinner begins at 7 p.m. Ten percent of the dinner proceeds will be donated to the National Immigration Law Center; get details at www.gloria-nyc.com.

Katie Burton
Tucked away from the bustling crowds, Gloria offers a calming respite.

The Caribbean

While many Caribbean islands are trying to recover in the wake of Hurricane Irma earlier this fall, Barbados escaped damage. On Nov. 16–19, the Barbados Food & Rum Festival charges ahead, featuring chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten for the second year in a row, along with a lineup of local and other international chefs. Amid events such as a polo match and a beach party, the chef's big moment comes halfway through the festival at his Gourmet Safari ($200), where he will host a multicourse dinner for 150 guests at one of the island’s most famous restaurants, the Cliff. The menu will include dishes such as spiny lobster in romesco sauce, coconut- and lime-infused tuna sashimi and spiced lamb chops with cucumber-lime yogurt, paired with cocktails made from rums produced on the island, such as Mount Gay Distillery. Tickets are available at www.visitbarbados.org/food-and-rum-festival.

Barbados Food & Rum Festival
The kick-off event at the Barbados Food & Rum Festival offers tastes of island specialties.


International Sherry Week is focused on a small region of Spain, but takes place around the world. From Nov. 6–12, tastings, special menus and themed parties in more than 25 countries—from the U.S. to England to Japan, plus, of course, Spain—showcase the diversity of Sherry in this celebration coordinated by El Consejo Regulador Jerez-Xeres-Sherry. A map on the event’s website (www.sherry.wine) tracks the events at restaurants, bars and wine shops, while other sections offer food-pairing guides and a chart, recipes and cocktails, tasting mats and fun infographics.

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