Monday, March 5, 2012

Just wining...with gratitude...and fatigue...

Well, we did it. We lived through the 2nd Annual Santa Clarita Wine Fest at the Bridgeport Marketplace in - you guessed it - Santa Clarita. It was a beautiful day, a large and friendly crowd and a group of happy VIP's hanging out in the evening. There were some challenges, but we met them head-on with smiles on our faces, and we got things squared away.

Mark Newman
I don't have the final numbers, but it appears we had more than 1000 guests - significantly up from last year. We were so busy in the Class/VIP tent that we never had a chance to actually go around to check out the event. I sent JD out to get a couple of truly amazing lasagna cupcakes from the HeirloomLA food truck. I think a couple of my somms were able to taste some of the great wines that were being offered, but I still need to taste the Wedell Cellars Pinot Noir!

Barrie Lynn

Chris Uhde
Mark Newman, the Million-Dollar-Palate himself, enlightened a happy group of wineaux about the wonders of Spanish and Italian wines, Barrie Lynn, the Cheese Impresario, and Mike Riboli of Riboli Family Wines (you might know them as the San Antonio Winery) provided delightful and delicious cheese and wine pairing instruction, and the always-wired Chris Uhde of JVS Imports shared the mysteries of single malt Scotch, the 'water of life'.

We did a seriously fast turnaround after the last class, turning the classroom into the VIP event room, and hosted a large and happy group of local VIP's all there to support the Michael Hoefflin Foundation. Yummy food was provided by Kabuki Japanese Restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen, Frankie's New York Italian Restaurant, and Daphne's Greek Cafe. Grizzly Republic, Le Grande Courtage, Dalton, Roxo Port, Riboli Family, Accolade Brands, Patel, and Stanger Vineyards all provided wines to accompany the comestibles, and a good time was had by all. I was particularly happy to spend some quality time with the Wandering Wino himself, Shawn Burgert, and his lovely wife!

A million thank you's to my A-Team of sommeliers and pourers, without whom none of this would have worked: Debra Bizek, Ally Clymore, Erik Siering, Marya Glur, Cynthia Schnaidt, Michelle Villenueva, Shelly Cote, Eric Bermudez, Susie Majesky, Kathy Lockhart, Bob Jones, Shawn Halahmy, and of course, the inestimable John 'JD' Dickey. I also want to thank my good friend and colleague, Xochitl Maiman, who came through every time I got on the radio with yet another request for help or information.

Now, on to the 2012 LAWineFest on June 9th and 10th! Cheers!


Wandering Wino said...

Fun times! I loved that there was cheese booths next to wine tables throughout. Great palette breaks with the Firestone beer Union Jack, a personal fav.

So great spending some down time drinking wine with you. BTW, the Wedell Pinots are nice, I hope to see them in LA again this year! Until LA, cheers!

Eve Bushman said...

Another excellent event put to bed by the Goddess. We can rehash all you missed over brunch my friend. Hope you get a break before revving up for your next adventure!