Take Five: Cindy Racco talks about the Newport Beach Wine Festival


In November 2023, Balboa Bay Resort & Club in Newport Beach appointed Cindy Racco, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the luxury hospitality industry, as managing director.

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Photos courtesy of Balboa Bay Resort

Managing Director Cindy Racco

From Friday, May 24 through Sunday, May 26, Racco will be experiencing her first Newport Beach Wine Festival at the Balboa Bay Resort. Held over the Memorial Day weekend, this popular event kicks off the summer with a celebration of wine, spirits and coastal cuisine. This year’s event weekend will feature an elegant Justin Winery Limited Release Wine Dinner, the Grand Tasting featuring an array of wineries and distributors, and a Veuve Clicquot Champagne Brunch.

Stu News caught up with Racco to find out more about the event –and her first six months at the Balboa Bay Resort & Club.

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Magnificent harbor views

Q: How did this event start and what do you attribute its popularity?

A: The Newport Beach Wine Festival was started in 2003 to bring together the community and Balboa Bay Club members to enjoy quality wines and raise money for the Balboa Bay Club Scholarship Fund. The popularity of this event is due to the variety of culinary experiences available throughout the weekend and of course the picture-perfect harbor views!

Q: How has it evolved over the years?

A: The event has transitioned from solely highlighting wines to encompassing a diverse selection of spirits and immersive experiences, such as the Macallan Whiskey Tasting and the Don Julio Agave Workshop, curated exclusively for Balboa Bay Club members. Additionally, it serves as a platform to shine a spotlight on the expertise of our culinary team who curate delectable displays of coastal cuisine.

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A diverse portfolio of wines and spirits

Q: How are the featured wines chosen?

A: We meticulously choose our wine and spirit vendors from among our trusted partners who actively contribute to our beverage program at Balboa Bay Resort & Club. The festival promises to offer a true taste of Balboa Bay, providing guests with a comprehensive selection from the diverse portfolio we’ve meticulously curated for our various outlets and catering services.

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Attendees take part in the tastings during last year’s event

Q: Has this proven to be one of your favorite events?

A: The Newport Beach Wine Festival is sure to be one of my favorite events! It is so exciting to see so many of our beverage partners and culinary team come together to kick start the summer with local residents, members and guests.

Q: You’ve been with Balboa Bay Resort & Club since November, what are some of the highlights so far?

A: My experience at the Resort and Club has been nothing short of extraordinary so far! I was blown away by the deep-rooted holiday traditions and history of the Club celebrating 75 years last year, including the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Christmas Boat Parade, to name a few. Additionally, the Pickup and Martin families have graciously welcomed me with open arms. The incredible Resort and Club teams have consistently demonstrated their commitment to luxury hospitality, serving as the foundation of our unparalleled excellence.

Editor’s Note: For more information and to purchase tickets to the Newport Beach Wine Festival, visit www.balboabayresort.com/nbwinefestival/.