It was truly an honor to be a part of Wine Enthusiast’s 20th Anniversary of its Wine Star Awards recently at The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The event was particularly special because this year marked the first time it was held on the west coast after taking place in New York for sixteen years and then Miami for another three. (Hopefully this will mark a new trend for the Bay Area!)
In addition to highlighting the 2020 winners, the magazine also paid tribute to the last two decades of winners — most notably through an eye-catching Walk of Fame-style entryway that featured the names of past recipients within gold stars on the ground. Wine Enthusiast chairman and CEO Adam Strum wanted to recognize all winners in a very visually striking way, and also served as the emcee for the evening.
As BIZBASH reported in its coverage of the event, “The black-tie dinner and award show were held in a design-forward space covered by a canopy of twinkling lights. Wine Enthusiast’s internal events team relied on experienced vendors to bring in everything from furniture rentals to lighting and sound to heaters and a full kitchen build out. “
That event team was led by Jen Cortellini, Director of Special Projects & Events for The Wine Enthusiast, who ran the event and was amazing to work with. Thanks to a phenomenal effort from everyone involved, from the event producers to all the the experienced participating vendors, the whole set-up for the gala came together in only a day and a half!
Francis Ford Coppola received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Jon Bon Jovi, along with his son Jesse Bongiovi and winemaker Gérard Bertrand, were also recognized for their Hampton Water rosé, with a focus on their sustainability efforts and community impact. Bon Jovi later performed an acoustic version of “Livin’ On A Prayer.”
Global Gourmet’s event catering included a selection of tray-passed hors d’oeuvres along with 15 wine tasting stations during cocktail hour for 750 guests, followed by a four-course seated dinner served at 63 tables with a variety of amazing wines, of course.
The hors d’oeuvres included Sushi Lollipops, Jicama and Orange “Ceviche” and Kalua Pork and Taro Root Tacos, among others.
The seated coursed dinner began with appetizers pre-set on the tables, followed by a seafood Mahi Mahi course, a choice of entrée between a Veal Osso Buco with Marinated Mushrooms, Farro, Arrowleaf Spinach and Rosemary Jus, and vegetarian option of Roasted Maitake Mushroom with French Green Lentils, Citrus-Braised Swiss Chard and Baby Root Vegetables
and a Harissa Emulsion.
For dessert there was a tough choice between a La Pura Vida Light Coconut Dacquoise Cake with Passion Fruit-Vanilla Bavarian Passion Fruit-Mango Compote and House Candied Pineapple or the “Aroi Mak” Coconut Tapioca Pudding with Thai Aromas, Mango-Passion Fruit Compote and Micro Basil
House Candied Pineapple.
Guests enjoyed our California Old Fashion, Cucumber Mint Gimlet and Nonino Paper Plane specialty cocktails during the After Party. And a selection of sweets (S’mores in a Jar, Chocolate Mini Cupcakes and Assorted Chocolate, Lemon, Raspberry, Coffee, Pistachio and Vanilla Parisian Macarons) and savory treats (Warm Bavarian Pretzels with Spicy Brown and Pale Ale Mustards and a Cheddar-Ale Sauce) and lots of wine tasting options available in the main lobby.
It was certainly a night to remember above and below the stars and we hope to see everyone here again next year!