Wine professionals toast success


Eddie Osterland hosts party celebrating San Diego as a world class dining destination

San Diego has always been the envy of the nation for our beaches, weather, and casual lifestyle. The area is rapidly becoming celebrated as a culinary destination as well.

A recent party in La Jolla celebrated fine dining’s coming of age in San Diego County. More than 35 local sommeliers, wine buyers, and writers involved in advancing the local wine and food scene attended the festivity where a flurry of the great wines of the world were poured in the home of Eddie Osterland - the man who set the bar for premium restaurant service in the community.

Osterland, America’s first master sommelier, has been here throughout the transformation of San Diego’s modern cuisine scene. When Osterland came here in 1990, San Diego dining was mostly about unremarkable casual food with a smattering of fine dining establishments trying to find their identity.

Today, San Diego showcases dozens of formally trained sommeliers who have elevated area restaurant experiences to the level of those found in other major cosmopolitan cities.

Having moved on from traditional sommelier service, Osterland now uses his background in psychology along with his restaurant expertise to create a presentation he calls “Power Entertaining with Wine and Food.”

It was therefore fitting that Osterland, a pioneer in the wine and entertaining business, organize and host this singular event.

In the 1960s when the Napa Valley was trying to present itself as a viable international wine region, Robert Mondavi led the way by helping his fellow winemakers, who where actually his business competitors, to produce better wine. He had the foresight to recognize if others succeeded around him, he too would prosper.

Similarly, San Diego area sommeliers from competing restaurants have collaborated directly, contributing to the plethora of fine dining experiences available to area residents and tourists alike.

Dan Chapman, general manager and sommelier from California Modern at Georges at the Cove said, “These are my friends and the people that are about wine. You don’t see this in (Los Angeles) or San Francisco.”

Myres McDougal, wine director and Jack’s Ocean Room general manager, believes local sommeliers should be able offer mutual support as peers and push one another to become better.

“We can all learn something from each other,” said McDougal.

The wines most consumed and discussed during the occasion were rieslings from Germany. Fittingly, Truly Fine Wines, a German wine specialist located near the Morena Boulevard Costco, assisted Osterland with the affair.

Their business development manager, Dustin Jones, said, “I’m working with wines that I think are the most interesting in the world.”

To learn more about Osterland’s services, visit



2006 Martin Alfaro Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay

$23 at Jonathan’s of La Jolla and Vintage Wines in Miramar

Richly yellow in color and above average weight. Shows aromas of pineapple with a hint of bananas foster and mouthwatering crème brulee. A lengthy finish features butterscotch, almonds, and yellow apple. Outstanding complexity both on the nose and palate. Take your time with this wine and discover what a great Santa Lucia Highlands chardonnay is all about. 14.5% alcohol, 93 points.