The Claremont hosts the first annual Berkeley Wine Festival starting tomorrow. The two-month long festival celebrates wines from the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. The festival opens with a grand reception and tasting of more than 50 wines from top wineries including Far Niente, Duckhorn Wine Company and Cliff Lede Vineyards.

Following the opening, there will be a series of receptions, dinners and seminars hosted by local winemakers.

The Berkeley Wine Festival is modeled after the Boston Wine Festival created by Daniel Bruce, the award-winning chef of Meritage at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Since launching the Boston Wine Festival over 20 years ago, Bruce expanded the event to New Orleans with the French Quarter Festival in 2007 and is launching the Capital Wine Festival in Washington, D.C. and Berkeley Wine Festival this year.

The Berkeley Festival also marks the launch of a “Vineyard to Table” menu in the newly opened Meritage at the Claremont, under the guidance of executive chef Josh Thomsen (above right). The prix fixe menu will feature ingredients grown specifically for Meritage by local winemakers.

Lance Knobel

Lance Knobel (co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine in Britain,...

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  1. Thanks Michael for your candid feedback. We agree the wine list needed some work. We’ve made a lot of progress already and continue to add new wines weekly. The Berkeley Wine Festival is a golden opportunity for us to work with some great winemakers and to supplement our cellar with wines that are well paired with the exciting new food of Executive Chef Josh Thomsen. We are confident we are on the right path and hope you will visit Meritage again soon to see and taste our progress for yourself!

  2. I’ll admit…my morbid curiosity is piqued. Why? Because the “host” restaurant for this festival (the new “Meritage at the Claremont”) has easily the worst wine list I’ve seen since…I don’t know when. The 80s? Apart from a couple trophy bottles left over from the last Claremont restaurant, the wine list is almost indistinguishable from Aisle 2 at the College Ave Safeway.