By Rick Riozza

For the past two years, this column has been really supportive of the Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival. This fun and most enjoyable event is now on its third year and has already become quite the notable food and wine festival, not only locally, but throughout the Southern California wine circles. This wonderful event takes place this week: Friday, and Saturday, February 28th & 29th at the Rancho Mirage Community Park, just down the road from The River Mall.

You wine lovers will recall that just last month, the Palm Springs Pinot Fest, held at the Ritz-Carlton was a rousing success. And most of you know that it’s the same wonderful promoter and festival organizer David Fraschetti, who is at the helm at both of these Rancho Mirage events.

David is quick to announce: “Welcome to the Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival, where palm trees and the famous Palm Springs mountain views serve as the backdrop to one of the most talked about wine events in California. Featuring the Special Sunset Rare and Reserve Tasting and the Grand Tasting Finale at the beautiful Rancho Mirage Community Park”


David continues, “Sip, swirl and taste hundreds of incredible award-winning wines and cuisine from some of the best chefs from the Palm Springs area. For the Grand Tasting, enjoy an afternoon of fun, wine, food and live upbeat music – at the classiest wine and food festival under the sun! If you love wine, great food, and that famous Palm Springs weather, then the Rancho Mirage Wine & Food Festival is the event for you!”

As with last year’s event, this wine & food fest takes place over two days. This Friday the 28th, from 4:30-6:00 pm, there will be a Special Sunset “Reserve” tasting; and the Festival Grand Tasting takes place Saturday, February 29th afternoon 2:30-5:30 (1:30 for Early Tasting tickets).

Special Sunset Rare and Reserve Tasting: Known as the toughest ticket in town, this high-end tasting event is limited to just 300 ticketholders. California’s best winemakers will dust off their rare and reserve level bottles in a wine-lovers fantasy night of sipping the good stuff! Some of the wines being poured are impossible to buy and are no longer in distribution. Tickets to this Friday’s special evening event are $65

David chimes in and describes the evening event: “A sparkling champagne reception greets guests who will then be treated to Trophy Cabs, rare bottles from Sonoma County, Award winning wines from Paso Robles and Lodi and some of the best Pinot’s from California’s Central Coast, Santa Barbara County and Oregon. Appetizers will be available while live music keeps things upbeat.”

“The beautiful Rancho Mirage Amphitheater at the Community Park provides the perfect backdrop for this romantic winter night under the stars. The Rancho Mirage Wine and Food Festival Silent Auction of fine wines, exotic large format wine bottles and special luxury wine tours will raise money for our most worthy non-profit: Les Dames d’Escoffier.”

The Festival Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon is a wine & food tasting party on the lawn at the Rancho Mirage Community Park & Amphitheater. Early ticket holders will begin the festivities at 1:30 ($115); General Grand Tasting starts at 2:30 ($95).

But before we get into talking about all the wineries and restaurants on-board this year, let me get this out quick: For you vino lovers & foodies alike, who haven’t ordered your tickets to this event, our friend, the Festival promoter Dave Fraschetti, has offered you readers $20 off the ticket price of either a General Admission ticket or Early Entry ticket when you go on-line to order: Simply use the promo code: PSWINEBLOG at

This year, there are over 40 wineries pouring at this event. And, we know that David continues to insist on winery’s most premium wines to be showcased. We urge you to go on-line and check out the line-up. Any wine lover who does so, will no doubt plan to be at the tasting!

Too many to list here, but some wineries of distinction include: Goldschmidt Vineyards, Lafond Winery and Vineyards, Klinker Brick Winery, Rombauer Vineyards, Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance, Alquimista Cellars, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Michel David Winery, Opolo Vineyards, Santa BarbaraWinery, and of course so many more.

When it comes to the culinary aspect of this event, David never holds back and invites the valley’s top eateries that include Mastro’s Restaurants, Flemmings, Pinzimini, Blue Ember, Eureka Burger, the Edge Steakhouse, Mission Hills Country Club, Stuft Bar & Grill, and Acqua California Bistro, just to mention a few. Cheers! & Bon Appétit ! See you there!

Rancho Mirage Food & Wine Festival, 71560 San Jacinto Dr, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270. Tickets at (and remember the Promo Code!—PSWINEBLOG)

Les Cactus Shout Out! We recently visited the new designed-driven boutique hotel, Les Cactus, that just opened. It’s located in the Warm Sands neighborhood of Palm Springs and has been updated and refurbished to deliver a whimsical, chic, approachable service—all at an affordable price. Named after the 60’s French rock ‘n roll hit by Jacques Dutronc, Les Cactus Palm Springs brings to life an “Airbnb-meets hotel” experience unique to the desert.

“We want guests to feel as comfortable as they would in the home of a best friend or family member,” explains Matthew Kurtz, the LA-based hotelier/designer. “That could mean grabbing snacks and drinks from the Hotel’s kitchen, playing the Hotel’s piano or acoustic guitar or stocking up on extra amenities from the curated retail shop”.

The Les Cactus Hotel is a 21+ only, 27-room hotel, with bungalow style, one-bedroom suites and studios, many of which feature large kitchenettes. Outside you’ll find a cozy firepit, a perfect place to linger with a glass of Rose’, a hot tub, heated swimming pool and a rooftop deck to catch the sunset.

For more information, go to or call 760-422-5500.