Sonoma Shambala to Shine at 20th Annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction Benefitting Local Charities

Bollywood-themed Grand Finale to Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Presented by Visa Signature Set for September 2, 2012 at Chateau St. Jean

The 2012 Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction Poster featuring vintners, winemakers and chefs from throughout Sonoma County celebrating the 20th Anniversary of this important charity event.
The 2012 Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction Poster featuring vintners, winemakers and chefs from throughout Sonoma County celebrating the 20th Anniversary of this important charity event.
  • The 2012 Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction Poster featuring vintners, winemakers and chefs from throughout Sonoma County celebrating the 20th Anniversary of this important charity event.
    The 2012 Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction Poster featuring vintners, winemakers and chefs from throughout Sonoma County celebrating the 20th Anniversary of this important charity event.
    The 2012 Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction Poster featuring vintners, winemakers and chefs from throughout Sonoma County celebrating the 20th Anniversary of this important charity event.
    The 2012 Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction Poster featuring vintners, winemakers and chefs from throughout Sonoma County celebrating the 20th Anniversary of this important charity event.
(Sonoma County, CALIF.) — Auction-goers will be immersed in the intrigue of India at the 20th annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean sponsored by TricorBraun WinePak on Sunday, September 2, 2012. The theme of “Sonoma Shambala” will provide a fantastic feast for the senses filled with world-class wines and culinary marvels. This wondrous combination of Wine Country elegance and South Asian decadence will serve as the backdrop for the culminating event of the three-day Sonoma Wine Country Weekend set for Labor Day Weekend August 31 – September 2, 2012. Tickets to the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction and all Sonoma Wine Country Weekend events are on sale at www.SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com

       As the Auction marks the 20-year milestone, organizers are pulling out the stops to treat guests to an amazing day that begins with a bustling bazaar filled with brilliant colors, seductive smells, sensual delights and a tempting preview of thirty-five live auction treasures. Next, guests will settle in the Wine Spectator Auction Tent where each table is hosted by a vintner or grape grower. Auctioneer Dave Reynolds, who presided over the very first Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction, will coax bidders to raise their paddles, while the Sonoma County wine community brings their Bollywood-best performances to the stage.
       
       In addition to the wine and bidding excitement, a line-up of many of Sonoma County’s top chefs will prepare a delectable, gourmet luncheon feast featuring Sonoma’s freshest bounty. 2012 Co-Culinary Directors are Bruce Riezenman, Park Avenue Catering; and Josh Silvers, Jackson’s and Petite Syrah. They will be joined in the kitchen by Octavio Alcantar, Barndiva; Carlo Cavallo, Meritage Martini Oyster Bar and Grille; Duskie Estes, zazu restaurant + farm; Douglas Keane, Cyrus Restaurant; Andrea Koweek and Moaya Scheiman, Crisp; Doug McFarland, Ramekins; Narayan Somnames, Yeti Restaurant; and Catherine Venturini, Olive and Vine.
       
       “The 20th annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction will be colorful and opulent, but it has also given us a very special opportunity to reflect upon two decades of important fundraising that has raised more than $11 million for Sonoma County non-profits,” said Maureen Cottingham, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Co-Producer, “We looked back at our first auction catalog and have worked with several of the original participating wineries and vintners to create some stunning lots and an entertaining experience with a retrospective slant.”

       The beneficiaries of the 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend “Fund-A-Need” group contribution auction lot are the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley and Boys & Girls Club of Central Sonoma County —organizations focused on academic success and critical to the youth population of Sonoma County. Some of the hottest offerings of the 35 live auction lots that will be sold to benefit a wide array of additional Sonoma County charitable organizations include:
  • Race Like a Rama with Ram's Gate Winery and Patrick Dempsey – A Northern California helicopter tour for six that includes a pass beneath the Golden Gate Bridge ending with a flight over Monterey Bay before landing at Laguna Seca Raceway to hang out with television, film and racing star Patrick Dempsey. Ram’s Gate vineyard designate wines served during a private dinner party at the winery with Dempsey are also included.
  • Namaste the Chateau St Jean Way: Grand 20th Anniversary of Cinq Cépages – A private winery experience with Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren and the chance to enjoy a selection of many of her favorite past vintages of Cinq Cépages. The winner will be invited to the 20th Anniversary Release Party for the 2009 Cinq Cépages and receive 20 etched magnums (1.5L bottles) of the 20th anniversary release of this iconic wine.
  • A Culinary Adventure like Naan Other with Robert Young Estate Winery – Sonoma Wine Country living will be celebrated with this gourmand’s getaway. The weekend includes private tours, lunches, dinners, a trip to the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market, a cooking class and more!
  • Slumdog Extraordinaire: An Evening of Storytelling with Our Founding Vintners – For an incredible experience sharing wines, tall tales and a slice of Sonoma history, join the Founding Vintners of the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction for an unforgettable dining experience at Beltane Ranch. Twelve people will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit the beautiful and historic Beltane Ranch in the heart of Sonoma Valley for a private dinner party with many of the founders of the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction. A collection of 20 magnums from the original vintners is also included.
       “The Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction is an important event for all of Sonoma County,” added Honore Comfort, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Co-Producer, “We are fortunate that our wineries and grape growers have continued to be so community-minded and generous. We also appreciate the generosity of our bidders and supporters for all that they do to support this event and our community.”
       
       The 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Honorary Co-Chairs, who will play a key role in Auction activities, are selected for their wine industry leadership and community service.  Honored this year are Margo and Don Van Staaveren, Chateau St. Jean as the Winery Co-Chairs and The Robert Young Family as the Grower Co-Chairs.
       
       Don and Margo Van Staaveren enjoy a unique distinction in Chateau St. Jean’s rich 39-year Sonoma Valley heritage: they are two of only four winemakers in the winery’s entire history. They also fell in love during their time at Chateau St. Jean together and have been happily married for over 29 years. “We are honored to be the Co-Chairs for the 2012 Sonoma Wine County Weekend. Sonoma is our home and you will not find two bigger advocates when it comes to Sonoma County and the pride we feel for our region’s wines, our growers and our community. We are thrilled to welcome friends, visitors and fellow vintners to Chateau St. Jean for this tremendous weekend of beautiful wine, food and to showcase this most beautiful region,” said Margo Van Staaveren.
       
       The Robert Young Family has farmed the same land in Alexander Valley for over 150 years, spanning six generations. For over 100 years prunes and livestock sustained the family enterprise, but in 1963 Robert Young recognized that the land was better suited to grow wine grapes and pioneered the planting of the first Cabernet Sauvignon in Alexander Valley. Today, the twenty two family partners grow twelve wine grape varieties on 300 acres of certified sustainable vineyards. “Our family is honored to have been asked to be the Grower Chair of the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend,” said Jim Young of Robert Young Vineyards. “We realize that we have been blessed and it is our pleasure to support this effort that supports local charities while allowing us to share the best that Sonoma County has to offer. We are especially delighted to share this honor with Margo and Don Van Staaveren as winery Co-Chairs, given our long standing relationship with them and Chateau St Jean Winery.”

       The 20th Annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction is set for Sunday, September 2 from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Chateau St. Jean, 8555 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, Sonoma County, California. Tickets for this single event are on sale now at www.SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com for $500 per person.
       
       For those who cannot attend the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction and would like to participate in the charitable effort, an online auction of additional  lots, including many of Sonoma County’s finest large format wine bottles and exclusive experiences, is open for bidding through September 7, 2012 at http://www.biddingforgood.com/sonomawinecountryweekend.
       
About Sonoma Wine Country Weekend:
       Produced in partnership by the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Foundation and the Sonoma County Vintners, the 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend event features the Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch®, the Sonoma Starlight Supper Club at Francis Ford Coppola Winery sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, the 20th Annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean sponsored by TricorBraun WinePak, and an assortment of additional winery-hosted events throughout Sonoma County.

       Proceeds from Sonoma Wine Country Weekend support Sonoma County non-profit organizations. To date, a cumulative total of more than $11 million has been donated directly to Sonoma County non-profits by the local wine community through this event.
       
       Tickets, which range from $85 to $500 per person, are on sale now. Many events sell out, so prospective attendees are encouraged to purchase early. Presenting Sponsor Visa Signature is also offering cardholders event perks and savings. For more information visit www.SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com, like it on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/winecountryweekend and follow on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SonomaWCW.
      
2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Schedule At-A-Glance
Friday, August 31
12:30 p.m. – Winemaker Lunch Series, sponsored by TricorBraun WinePak
7:00 p.m. – Sonoma Starlight Supper Club at Francis Ford Coppola Winery sponsored by Kaiser Permanente
6:00 p.m. – Winemaker Dinner Parties, sponsored by TricorBraun WinePak
Saturday, September 1
11 a.m. - 4 p.m. – Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch®
6:00 p.m. – Winemaker Dinner Parties, sponsored by TricorBraun WinePak
6:00 p.m. – Chairman’s Dinner Party
Sunday, September 2
12:30 p.m. – Winery Barbecues at Wineries throughout Sonoma County
1 p.m. – 7 p.m. Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean, sponsored by TricorBraun WinePak

Tickets*
Tickets On Sale: June 1, 2012 
Sonoma Starlight Supper Club at Francis Ford Coppola Winery: $95/person or $175/person Patron
Winery Barbecues: $85/person
Winemaker Lunch: $85/person; Winemaker Dinner Parties: $150/person
Chairman’s Dinner: $175/person
Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch®: $150/person (General), $195/person (Grand Reserve)
Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean – 20th Anniversary Event: $500/person
* Special Visa Signature Cardholder pricing and benefits available at www.SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com  

About Visa Signature
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is presented by Visa Signature which offers account holders a range of benefits that provide special access and can save time and money.  In addition to points, miles, cash back or other premium rewards offered by Visa Signature partners, account holders enjoy perks such as 24/7 complimentary concierge services, the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection and exclusive offers for fine wine and food, travel, and sports and entertainment events.  For more information on Visa Signature and issuers offering Visa Signature visit www.visa.com/signature.

About Chateau St. Jean
Founded in 1973 in the Sonoma Valley, Chateau St. Jean is the quintessential Sonoma winery.  Chateau St. Jean produces an extensive portfolio of Sonoma County wines as well as vineyard designated wines, limited production Reserve wines, and the flagship Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren, who was named “Winemaker of the Year” for 2008 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, has been with Chateau St. Jean for over 30 years. Chateau St. Jean is the first Sonoma winery to be awarded the prestigious “Wine of the Year” award from Wine Spectator Magazine for its 1996 Cinq Cépages, a Bordeaux style blend of “five varieties” and has long been recognized as a leader in vineyard designated wines. For more visit www.chateaustjean.com.

About Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Francis puts it best, saying the winery is, “A wine wonderland, a park of pleasure where people of all ages can enjoy all the best things in life – food, wine, music, dancing, games, swimming and performances of all types. A place to celebrate the love of life.” Francis Ford Coppola Winery is located at 300 Via Archimedes in Geyserville, California, accessed from US HWY 101 and the INDEPENDENCE LANE exit. Among the many unique attractions at the property, Francis Ford Coppola Winery features wine tasting, two restaurants, a swimming pool, a movie gallery, a performing arts Pavilion and a park area with game tables and bocce courts. Francis Ford Coppola Winery opens at 11 a.m. daily. For more information, call (707) 857-1400, toll free (877) 590-3329 or visit www.FrancisCoppolaWinery.com.

About MacMurray Ranch
Nestled in the heart of the Russian River Valley, the historic MacMurray Ranch is home to award-winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. MacMurray Ranch Winemaker Chris Munsell crafts a collection of elegant, expressive wines from cool-climate vineyards in California and Oregon, reflecting a passion for the special places that create extraordinary grapes. Kate MacMurray, daughter of Hollywood legend Fred MacMurray, remains deeply connected to MacMurray Ranch, carrying on the legacy of this iconic Sonoma landmark. Learn more at www.macmurrayranch.com.  

About 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Sponsors and Beneficiaries
A partnership between Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Foundation and Sonoma County Vintners, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is California’s premier wine, food and social event, taking place on Labor Day weekend each year. The events comprising Sonoma Wine Country Weekend have raised over $11 million in support of local charities that benefit students, children, farm workers and people in need.  The 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is presented by Visa Signature®.  In addition to Visa Signature, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend sponsors include: TricorBraun WinePak, MacMurray Ranch®, Buick, Cooking Light, Wine Spectator, San Francisco Magazine, Chateau St. Jean, Francis Ford Coppola Winery and Kaiser Permanente. For a complete list of beneficiaries and sponsors, please visit www.SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com.

About Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance and Foundation and Sonoma County Vintners
The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance (SVVGA) is a non-profit trade organization serving over 500 members who share a mission to promote awareness of Sonoma Valley’s grapes, wine, and history as the birthplace of the California wine industry. The Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Foundation (SVVGF) is a non-profit 501c.3 organization that has raised over $8,000,000 for local Sonoma Valley charities. For more information on the SVVGA and SVVGF, please visit www.SonomaValleyWine.com.

Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to raising awareness of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier wine regions, noted for its heritage of artisan winemaking, distinct growing regions, and extraordinary quality. Founded in 1944, SCV represents more than 175 wineries of all sizes throughout the county. Learn more about SCV at www.SonomaWine.com.


Journalists: High-resolution artwork is immediately available. For more information, to speak with an event representative or to inquire about press credentials for the 2012 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend please email or call Lisa Adams Walter at (707) 255-0300 or lisa@adamswalter.com. For more information visit www.SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com, like it on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/winecountryweekend and follow on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SonomaWCW.

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