Tag Archives: Berkeley Wine Festival

Fairmont hotel group in talks to buy Claremont Hotel

The Claremont Hotel & Resort has been purchased by the  Fairmont hotel group and Richard Blum, the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein Photo: Paula Steele
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Update 1/29: The general manager of the Claremont Resort sent out the following email Tuesday night confirming that a sale of the hotel is in progress:

“The Claremont’s owner has entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with FRHI (The Fairmont/Raffles Hotels International group) and their Capital Partners.  It is expected that FRHI will complete the transaction on/about February 27, 2014.  The Claremont will become a Fairmont managed property at that time.”

Sincerely, Bruce Carlton
General Manager

Original story: A hotel chain that owns the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco and many luxury resorts around the world will acquire the Claremont Hotel and Spa, according to internal Claremont Hotel communications and numerous employees.

FRHI Hotels and Resorts, a Toronto, Canada based chain owned by investors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, will take complete possession of the resort by Feb. 28, according to the memo, which was obtained by Berkeleyside. FRHI (Fairmont Raffles Hotels International) also owns the Raffles chain, (the Raffles in Singapore is considered its flagship hotel) and the Swiss hotel chain, Swissôtel. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Wine Festival: Tastings on your doorstep

Tres sabores
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By Deborah Grossman

For the Grand Opening reception of the Berkeley Wine Festival Mike Wanless of TateDog Wines decorated his table with a canine statue resembling his former pet. While pouring his wines, he shared stories about TateDog, “a not particularly good, but a ‘great’ dog.”

A first-timer at the festival, which is held at The Claremont Hotel Club and Spa, Wanless lives in Oakland, and sources his grapes from Livermore where he also makes his small production wines. The vintner said he was pleased to participate in a major-league festival with big-name producers such as Joseph Phelps, ZD Wines and Michael David Winery.

More pragmatically, he was  thrilled that his table was sited right next to Rockridge restaurant Wood Tavern. “TateDog Cabernet Sauvignon pairs well with the restaurant’s lamb meatballs. After folk got their food, they came right over for more wine,” he said. … Continue reading »

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Bites: What’s new on the East Bay food scene, XIV

Tractor stools at Sweet leaf
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Bites is Berkeleyside Nosh’s round-up of restaurant, bar and food-related news in the East Bay. Bites is produced by Nosh in collaboration with Christina Mitchell, founder of East Bay Dish. To stay up-to-speed with all that’s going on locally, read our daily Nosh Wire, and check out previous editions of Bites. We always love receiving food-related tips at nosh@berkeleyside.com.

Coming soon…

Venezia-Dining-Room-1024x768MONARCH TRADING CO. Joel DiGiorgio plans to open a “Californian crafthouse” restaurant serving pizza, salads, and lots of California-centric wines and beers in the Caffe Venezia space at 1799 University Ave. in Berkeley. DiGiorgio, who was born and raised in Berkeley and comes from a restaurant background, tells Berkeleyside Nosh that his family are close friends of Caffe Venezia’s owners and he’s thrilled to be taking over the place. He says he has lots of exciting plans for Monarch Trading Co. which he hopes will be open by this summer. More details to follow. Meanwhile, Caffe Venezia will hold a “Farewell Venezia Opera Night” with stars of the West Edge Opera on Tuesday, April 9, $15 per person cover charge, classic Venezia menu. Call for reservations 510-849-4681.Continue reading »

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Josh Thomsen gathers talent for Claremont wine fest

Josh Thomsen
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Josh Thomsen knew from a young age that he wanted to be a chef and credits his late father, Jerry, for sparking his culinary interest. His dad would put in a long day as a stockbroker, come home, go to the market, and then cook up a storm — making a mess, using every pot in the house, and turning out a delicious dinner.

The Culinary Institute of America grad has done his dad proud. Thomsen’s resumé includes stints at the French Laundry in Yountville, Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles, and The Lodge at Pebble Beach. He’s also worked in kitchens in big-buck Las Vegas venues like Tao Restaurant at the Venetian Resort, the Mansion at the MGM Grand Hotel, and the Michael Mina-owned Nobhill Tavern.

These days Thomsen, 40, is the executive chef at local landmark The Claremont Hotel, Club, and Spa, known for its regal white facade and killer views. Until recently, though, the hotel wasn’t exactly known as a destination dining experience. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley wine maverick: Kermit Lynch

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Berkeley is a city of wine independents.

Sure, the place is known for its dedication to free speech, the right of the City Council to pass resolutions concerning U.S. foreign policy, and its devotion to all foods local and organic.

But the city also treads its own way on wine, which was made abundantly clear in a San Francisco Chronicle interview with wine master, Kermit Lynch.

Lynch, whose 22-year old book, Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine … Continue reading »

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First Berkeley Wine Festival opens tomorrow

Chef Josh Thomsen
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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 … Continue reading »

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