Off the Menu OC

Covering the dining scene in and around the OC

Wine and Laughter: Summer Soiree with Rita Rudner at Newport Beach Winery

What pairs well with red wine? Artisan cheeses, gourmet food, and lots of laughter!

That’s the recipe The Laguna Playhouse has created for their End of Summer Soiree at
the exclusive Newport Beach Vineyards and Winery on Thursday, August 25, from 6
to 8 p.m.

Special guest is comedienne Rita Rudner, who brings her hilarious evening of comedy to
The Laguna Playhouse August 26, 27 and 29.

We had the opportunity to interview Rita when she performed at Laguna Playhouse
last year, and we also watched her hysterical show, and can vouch for Rita’s
quick wit and loopy take on life and love (among other topics she touches on in
her show).

We also got to sample several Newport Beach Winery blends, including OC Red and Wretched Excess, at the Newport Beach Film Festival’s closing night party. Both wines were excellent.


Justin Myers, the winery’s director of sales and marketing, gave us a tour recently so we could see the vineyards, underground wine cave, botanical and tropical gardens, Koi ponds, and bird aviary.

“A lot of people still don’t know we’re here, even though we planted our first vines in 1999 and started bottling in 2001,” Justin told us when we arrived. “We have 3 ½ acres of
vineyards where we grow cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, petite
verdot, and malbec. We pick the grapes and blend them together, and then keep
our fingers crossed and hope for a great result.”


“Do people ask you why someone would put a vineyard in Newport Beach, an area not exactly known for growing grapes?” we wondered.

“Wine is owner Richard Moriarty’s passion,” said Justin. “When he bought this property, he did not want horses or a field of grass, so he decided to plant grapevines. Like he
once told me, Newport Beach is not bad farm land, it’s just expensive farm land.”


We strolled to the wine cave—a 1,000 square foot room dug into a hillside next to Richard’s house. Justin pulled back the huge wooden door to reveal a long row of wine barrels, plus several sets of bistro-style tables (made from wine barrels) and chairs.

“Most of the barrels contain our 2010 vintage,” noted Justin. “Guests who attend the Laguna Playhouse party next week will taste the 2009 OC Red blend. We’ll be serving appetizers and cheeses from Summit Event Catering, and I’ve invited the sommelier from Villa Nova to come and pour his family-owned Rugg wines. We’ll also be offering tours
of the gardens and koi ponds.”


And if that’s not enough, a special VIP experience is available for ten people
starting an hour prior to the main event, and features Newport Beach Winery
owner Richard Moriarty conducting a private tour of his vintage car collection
(including his famed Lamborghini hanging magically on the wall), art gallery,
and Lamborghini engine/coffee table.

Richard will also offer samples of his rare (only 80 cases made of each), award-winning 2001 Back Bay Cuvee and 2002 Coyote Cuvee to VIP attendees, paired with artisan cheeses from Vin Goat in Corona del Mar. All VIP guests will receive a gift bag with deluxe samples from Jo Malone Boutique South Coast Plaza, chocolates from Teuscher in Fashion Island, and a signed bottle of the just released 2009 OC Red.


Tickets are $90 each. VIP experience tickets are $1,000 each (limited to 10 people). We’ve
got ours—do you have yours yet? Tickets can be purchased online via the Laguna
website, or by calling Amy Larson at The Laguna Playhouse at
949-497-2787 ext 216. For more information, email Amy Larson at

Thanks for reading!

For more dining adventures, check out Off the Menu OC on Facebook and Twitter!Christopher Trela

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This entry was posted on August 23, 2011 by in Wine event and tagged , , , .
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