Director of Marketing & Communications
Sixth annual Pacific Coast Wine Festival proves to be a delicious night of levity, laughter and libations, raising over $200,000 for Pacific Symphony artistic and education program
February 12, 2013
Selling out more than a week in advance, this year's Pacific Coast Wine Festival (PCWF) drew 325 people in ritzy cocktail attire to the elegant five-star Island Hotel in Newport Beach last Saturday night to taste and revel in a plethora of flavors offered by approximately 50 wineries. Among the evening's world-class wine experts were Master Sommelier Michael Jordon, who shared wines from the Piedmont wine region of Italy, and Master of Wine and Cape Wine Master Peter Koff, who represented wines from South Africa. The finest French and Italian selections, including Mouton, pleased those with Old World tastes, but the California wines were no less exceptional, ranging from cult and storied artisanal wines to those that needed no introduction. The sensational evening of high-quality tasting also included a wine-paired culinary feast and a silent and live auction that included both rare bottles of wine and exceptional experiences—all of which raised glasses, spirits and $200,000 (net) for Pacific Symphony's artistic and education programs.
Launching just six years ago, PCWF is becoming one of the most respected wine auctions in California. Cumulatively, PCWF has brought in more than $800,000 over the last six years, with each event consistently topping itself. Attended by both wine enthusiasts and music supporters, PCWF 2013 was co-chaired by Mike Kerr, Fred Salter and Valerie Van de Zilver, who together planned the extravagant evening, which began at 5 p.m. as guests began to arrive—just to find six striking, sleek, top-of-the-line vehicles lining the walkway—three Ferraris and three Maseratis provided by event sponsors Ferrari and Maserati of Newport Beach. Once inside, guests were encouraged to stroll through multiple rooms and enjoy appetizers that included smoked salmon, crème fraiche and caviar; crostini with olive tapenade; smoked duck with mango chutney; and imported cheeses with grapes, walnuts and dried fruit, while bidding in the silent auction and—of course—tasting an extraordinary array of wines.
"The 2013 Pacific Coast Wine Festival was awesome!" declares festival co-chair Kerr. "We sold out and ended up with a waiting list of people that we couldn't accommodate. And there were so many highlights! We had amazing guest wineries—our best line-up ever—with a great mix of old favorites and so many new stars. Our guests were treated to 90 different wines, including six sparkling wines from three different continents. In all, we had 17 different varietals to choose from. Clearly over-the-top—but what a line-up!"
The dazzling variety of wines were chosen by Advanced Sommelier Jim Huston from Charlie Palmer for the event including Domaine Serene, Herb Lamb Vineyard, Lewelling, Lewis Cellars, Martinelli Vineyards, Neal Family and Vega Sicilia. Other wines included: Alpha Omega, Archery Summit, Blackbird Vineyards, Campesino, Charles Smith, Châteauneuf du Pape, Crocker & Starr, Domaine Cristia, Dragonette Cellars, Golden State Wine Company, Iron Horse, Jaffurs Winery, Kobalt, Lindstrom, Long Shadows, McPrice Myers, Novy Family Wines, Patz & Hall, Pine Ridge, Seghesio and Siduri and more.
Around 7 p.m., guests were ushered into the ballroom, where tables were adorned in shades of wine colors and corks peeked out of centerpieces, to enjoy a three-course meal with wine pairings designed by the Island Hotel's Executive Chef David Mann. The feast began with a fresh fig and baby mache salad with blue cheese and toasted almonds; assorted breads; marinated filet with sweet potato au gratin and vegetables; followed by coffee and a decadent chocolate salted caramel mousse. Guests were entertained by three very talented members of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra who are soon headed to Carnegie Hall: Katherine Park, violin; Matthew Gustafson, cello; and Natalie Cernius, piano, performing Dvorák's Piano Trio No. 4 in E Minor, Op. 90, "Dumky" VI. Lento Maestoso. The evening culminated with an exciting live auction led by Jim Nye and featuring some of the finest wines and auction lots in the United States.
The room was energized and the bidding fierce as eight rare bottles of a brand new wine from Screaming Eagle (eight years in the making), called Second Flight—consisting of estate-grown Cabernet Franc and Merlot (two bottles each of a four-year vertical collection from the years 2006-2009)—went to Erin Walsh and Jim Moloney for $2,750. The package, "2000 Cabernets," offering cabs from the years 2000-2007, was purchased by Janice and Clarence Turner for $4,500, while Robin and Steve Kalota took home "Que Syrah, Syrah" (2001-2008) for $2,750. The "'80s Bordeaux" (1982-1989) package went to Donna and Ernie Schroeder for $3,500, and "Big Boys," offering magnums from a variety of reds, went to Laura and Eddie Cunningham for $5,500.
Wine paired with travel was another hot item, and for $8,500, Christopher Tower took home "Napa's Epicurean Paradise," a trip to Napa Valley that included tastings at multiple wineries and accommodations at the Meritage Resort and Spa. Also going for $8,500, purchased by Teresa Nichols, was "Your Own Private Napa," a two-night stay for two couples in a guest house on the hilltop Lindstrom Wines property, followed by a one-night stay in a private guest house at Progeny Winery on Mt. Veeder, complete with tastings, tours and airplane transportation. Other destination trips centered around wine took lucky bidders to Maui and Oregon.
Local packages included a stay at the St. Regis in Monarch Beach, which included a magnum of 2009 Hundred Acre Ark Cabernet and weekend use of a Maserati Gran Turismo, purchased by Sassinee and Robert Corbin for $6,500. The Anaheim Ducks package and a "VIP Lakers Experience" (plus weekend use of a Ferrari!) also proved popular. Twilight Tasting at Opus One brought in an additional $5,000; "The Master Wine Experience at Charlie Palmer" went for $3,250; and dinner for 10 at the Big Canyon County Club sold for $3,750.
The over-the-top evening concluded with vintage port and gourmet chocolates, sponsored by Whole Foods, before guests picked up their auction items and headed home.
"I'm proud to say that we blasted through our fundraising goals for the evening," says Kerr. "And the compliments we received from everyone who attended were uniformly positive. At least 20 people said the same thing in almost the same words: ‘This was a perfect evening—can't wait for next year!' Wow, that's nice to hear.
"A sold-out evening, stunning wines, great fun, great support for the Symphony. It's pretty hard to top this year, but just wait—the 2014 PCWF is going to be even better!"
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