Community organizations large and small can be grateful for the powerful draw that wine can be, to raise funds for their activities to help the needy. It seems more and more events spotlight wine to increase attendance and support for worthy causes. America helps those that need help, a truly noble way to give and make a difference.
Pacific Symphony in Orange County is a classic example of a memorable evening that raised $160,000 from some 300 happy attendees. Wine enthusiasts were eager to bid up some very attractive auction items, mostly well-known wines that they were able to also taste. Winemakers and Sommeliers were available for answering questions; the entertainment was by a cellist who lavished the dinner guests with a solo performance of moving renditions of symphonic favorites. He was a stunning example of why the guests were there.
The planners of this event went to great lengths to insure that popular wine brands were on hand to satisfy the most demanding tastes.
Names that stood out were: Chateau Montelena, Miner, Beaulieu, Chappellet, Foley, Seghesio, Silver Oak and Paul Hobbs. Clearly, Napa Valley wines were well represented. Tickets were $375 each and the value was there.
Over in Palm Desert, another strategy, equally effective, was in place for the many hundreds that visited the recent Food & Wine Festival, held under three large, impressive tents.
Here the spotlight was on the greats of the culinary world, as over 20 celebrity chefs and restaurateurs shared specialty dishes with the assembled. This event benefits scholarship funds to send student chefs to the best culinary schools in the world.
This was the third annual Food & Wine Festival and it’s drawing some household names, including top drawer wine and food personalities from San Diego: Jesse Rodriguez Wine Director from The Grand Resort Del Mar, and William Bradley, Executive Chef from 5 star restaurant Addison, also at the Grand Del Mar.
The crowd saved their best energy for the legendary chef Roy Yamaguchi, highest award winner of the group and owner of Roy’s Asian flavored restaurants. He wowed everyone with a Yellowtail Fish, Hamachi style, with Sesame.
The wines here were well-known quality brands, attracting crowds to taste the latest releases from: Frescobaldi, Grgich Hills Estate, Hall, Kenwood, King Estate, Lancaster, Seghesio, St Francis and Turnbull.
In San Diego at a Gaslamp District hotel, a benefit wine-food event for Elder Help, an organization that helps local seniors, took another turn. Themed entertainment, namely Prohibition and the Roaring ‘20s, brought guests out mostly in costume for the music, dancing, food and wine sampling and many fun auction items.
The movie Chicago played on the side of an adjacent building, while “mobsters” mixed and mingled with the guests, most of whom wound up in the “Casino Gaming Room.” This was yet another well planned, unique fun event designed around wine and food. Organizers promise a “Masquerade” night next year.
For details on the Pacific Symphony’s next event, visit pacificcoastwinefestival.com. For the Food & Wine Festival, details are at palmdesertfoodandwine.com. The event website for Wine & Dine San Diego is winedinesd.com.
Nipozzano Reserva 2008 Just Released
With 90 percent Sangiovese carefully mixed with 10 percent Malvasia, Colorino, Merlot and Cabernet, the new 2008 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Reserve is a celebratory wine from the Chianti Rufina District of Tuscany. Its deep red eyes captivate, and once consumed, display cherry, raspberry and a slight spice accent, typical of great Sangiovese. ($20.) It earned Wine Enthusiast’s “Wine of the Year.”
San Diego Wine Company in the Miramar area has a Cabernet Wine Tasting May 19 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for $15. Details and wines available at (858) 586-WINE.
Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar has a Grgich Hills Wine Dinner May 18 at 6:30 p.m. For $95, it includes appetizers, four-courses and wines. Call (858) 535-0078 for details and an RSVP.
Sbicca Del Mar presents “far from ordinary” white wines May 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. for $45; $84 for two. Find out about a global assortment of different whites. Call (858) 442-2749.
The Wine, Brews and Blues Festival at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido is May 19 from 5:30 to 10 p.m., brought to you by the Rotary Club of Bonsall. General Admission $65.
Two stages of entertainment, silent auction, wines from all over the world and restaurant tasting. Go to bonsallrotary.com/events.html for ticket information.
The next Concerts in the Vines event at Orfila Winery in Escondido is May 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. with the Stoney B Blues Band. $25 includes a glass of wine. Call (800) 868-9463 for ticket info.