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  • Writer's pictureKathy Condon

Desert Wine Festival at Omni Rancho Las Palmas

Updated: Apr 19

View of pathway at Omni Rancho Las Palmas to Desert Wine Fest
Site for the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Desert Wine Festival Photo by Kathy Condon

It was an ordinary day in front of the computer when I was invited to attend a Chef's Dinner at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas to launch their first Desert Wine Festival on their beautiful grounds.

I was fortunate to spend a few days at this resort in the middle of Coachella Valley in Rancho Mirage, which had me wondering why I hadn't spent more time here. See my article 6 Ways to Enjoy a Staycation at a Luxury Resort, and you will learn about my experience there last summer. Thus, I was thrilled to be invited back.

Table setting for Desert Wine Fest Dinner at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Photo by Kathy Condon
Omni Rancho Las Palmas Table Setting for Chef Desert Wine Fest Dinner Photo by Kathy Condon

Omni Rancho Las Palmas Chef Dinner

Dressing for a night out on the town, my friend Kim Galland, owner of Kimbals downtown Palm Springs, and I headed out. Parking is easy for dinner at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas. There is a self-parking lot, or you can valet park and leave your car behind security gates.

It was still daylight and the perfect time for Kim to see the lobby and exit entrance to the restaurant, bathed in the sunlight. The dining tables were set on the patio, waiting for valley visitors and guests to arrive for dinner.

However, we were greeted by Resort Manager Ed Moreno, who guided us to the patio beyond the Bleu Embers Restaurant to a private space. There, we saw this beautifully set table.

Scherr Lillico, CEO/Director of Desert Wine Fest, and Mary Gavin of the Wagner Family of Wines, who would showcase Caymus Vineyard wine during our dinner, also graciously greeted us.

Chef Simon Warren pulled out all the stops with his four-course dinner.

Photo of baked Pacific Oysters on half-shell at Omni Rancho Las Palmas Chef Dinner.
Omni Rancho Las Palmas Chef Dinner Pacific Oysters Photo by Kathy Condon

AMuse – Pacific Oyster (Flashed Fried/Hollandaise/Domestic Caviar) paired with after Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay 2021

First Pairing- Mushrooms (Exotic Bend/Truffle Cream/Focaccia Crisp) paired with Mel Soleil Reserve Chardonnay 2121

Caymus wine Sea Sun featured at Omni Rancho Las Palmas Wine Dinner
Omni Rancho Las Palmas wine dinner featuring Caymus wines Photo by Kathy Condon

Second Pairing—Poached Pear (Point Reyes Blue/Candied Pecan Brittle/Date Jam) paired with Sea Sun California Chardonnay 2021 (This turned out to be one of my favorite Caymus wines.)

Third Pairing--Seared Sea Scallops (Pork Belly, Candied Beets/Parsnip Puree) paired with Caymus California Carbnet Savuvigon 2021

Fourth Pairing—Smoked Chocolate Cake (Toffee Crumble/Cherries/Vanilla Cream) paired with Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

With new friendships formed and an evening of superb wines and fine dining, we said our goodbyes. Then we walked back onto the grounds toward the resort's entrance, past the firepits and guests enjoying their nightcaps under our beautiful Palm Springs starlit sky.

View of tents across the small pond of the Desert Wine Fest. Wine Festival on the grounds of the  Desert Wine Fest at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa.
View of the site at Omni Ranco Las Palmas of the Desert Wine Fest Photo by Kathy Condon

Desert Wine Festival Fun Event

The Desert Wine Festival is in Full Swing at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort

With perfect weather on Saturday morning, it was a pleasure to head out to the Desert Wine Festival at the Omni Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage. Parking was at a premium. However, organizers had thought of that and provided detailed parking instructions with your tickets.

People who had never been on the grounds could marvel at the sight as they walked outside from the resort lobby. The sound of bubbling water was in the air from the two-tier fountain, topped with a profuse of flowers, announced the entrance to the courtyard.

Once checked in and received your wristband, you were handed a wine glass and a program. Then, it was time to sip and enjoy everything related to wine.

Music was on in the air, with locals performing on stage. You could see people sitting down and tapping to the upbeat music floating through the air.

For non-wine drinkers accompanying friends, Aqua Panna, San Pellegrino, or Celsius was available but kept us all hydrated on the warm Palm Springs afternoon.

Besides the wines, there were exhibitors. My friend bought some fabulous jewelry from Timka Jewelry, and I couldn't resist getting PartyPop Corn for an upcoming trip. It was fun browsing the vendors interspersed with the various wine tasting opportunities, and I resisted buying some beautiful apparel.

Man in chef coat serving salad on small square plates at the Desert Wine Festival VIP lounge
Chef Daniel of Daniel's Table serving food Photo by Kathy Condon

However, the afternoon was focused on wine tasting, and we had wine tasting with wineries from Washington, Oregon, California, Spain, Italy, and even New Zealand. The VIP area was sold out, and guests enjoyed food prepared by Chef Daniel of Daniel's Table in Cathedral City.

It was a lovely afternoon, leisurely enjoying the afternoon on the beautiful grounds of Omni Rancho Las Palmas. I could have easily returned to the Desert Wine Fest for the second day of the weekend event, but alas, I had previously committed to other plans.

Finally, it was wonderful knowing The Desert WineFest event was a fundraiser for The Desert Cancer Foundation.

Kathy Condon with short dark hair wearing a white shirt and large gold beads.
Kathy Condon Journalist and Travel Writer

Kathy Condon is a Travel Writer, Journalist, and Award-winning Author. Her niche is luxury experiences and smaller communities living in the shadows of large cities. 760-902-3094

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