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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Marketing & Communications
(714) 876-2380

Eighth annual Pacific Coast Wine Festival offered fabulous wines, tantalizing auction items and an all-around good time in support of Pacific Symphony, raising $200,000!

Orange County, Calif. — March 12, 2015

Reveling in fine wines, delish dining and philanthropic spirit, guests of this year’s Pacific Coast Wine Festival (PCWF), which took place at the five-diamond Island Hotel last Saturday night, raised their glasses, paddles—and more than $200,000 for Pacific Symphony’s artistic and education programs! Attracting a sold-out crowd of more than 300 guests, the festival offered an evening of elegance and fun as gentlemen came groomed, sporting dapper suits, and ladies dolled up in glamorous cocktail dresses. Sparkling wine glasses chimed as sommeliers poured reds and whites from vineyards around the world and guests bustled about enjoying the tastings and considering more than 100 silent auction items. Temperatures rose as the three lots closed, and guests rushed to place a final bid on their favorite items. A scrumptious wine-paired feast was served in the ballroom, and guests delighted in an inspiring performance of “The Final Countdown” by members of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra. The dynamic live auction concluded the evening and provided rare wines, dining experiences and wine vacations to claim. Gourmet chocolate and port were served on the way out, and guests left full, happy and if they were lucky, with bottles of delectable wines and prizes to take home.

Bursting onto the Orange County scene eight years ago, PCWF has established a reputation as one of the most esteemed wine festivals in the region, in addition to providing significant funds for the Symphony. Co-chaired by event founders Mike Kerr, Fred Salter and Valerie Van de Zilver, the 2015 PCWF was generously sponsored by Land Rover-Aston Martin-Jaguar of Newport Beach, Regency Air, Commerce West Bank and BNY Mellon. For more information on PCWF, visit For more information on the Symphony, visit

“For me the most exciting parts of the evening were welcoming our huge crowd—we were sold out again!—and tasting the amazing line-up of wines offered,” expresses Kerr, who also serves as chair of the Symphony’s Board of Directors. “Our number one goal is to have fun, and we totally succeeded! The wine festival is great because it’s a chance to introduce a whole new group of people to Pacific Symphony. Financially, we did well, raising more than $200,000 to support the education and artistic programs of the Symphony.”

Once the clock struck 5 p.m., the three auction lots opened and guests began sniffing, swirling and savoring an exclusive collection of wines from around the world. These included selections from Italy, France, Spain, Australia, Argentina and South Africa. The incomparable California wines ranged from cult and storied artisanal wineries to well-known vintners from Santa Barbara up to Napa. Waiters strolled through the rooms offering appetizers of truffle arancini with mushrooms, parmesan and cream sauce, and chicken roulade with oven-dried tomato aioli. An indulgent platter of fine cheeses, fruit and crackers was available in the foyer.

When asked what his favorite wines were, Kerr said, “Really?  You’re asking me to pick? Impossible! There were so many wonderful, decadent Cabernets from Napa, or spicy, deep Tempranillo from Spain? A lush Super Tuscan, silky Bordeaux or smooth Malbec? I can’t choose. I love them all equally!”

The mellow sound of jazz music carried through the air as guests examined the items of the silent auction. Notable items included a week in Mammoth skiing the slopes and enjoying a stay inside a private condominium, driving an F-Type Jaguar on the Chuckwalla Valley Raceway and borrowing the car for the weekend, and four premiere front-row seats in the orchestra pit tables to see the Symphony’s Summer Festival. Plus, designer jewelry and handbags, California vacation stays, wine tours, photo sessions and of course, magnums of rare and exceptional wine!

Once the lots closed for bidding, guests entered the dining room for a scrumptious wine-paired dinner prepared by the Island Hotel’s Executive Chefs David Man and Marc Johnson. As they stepped into the golden-lit room, guests took a liking to the atmosphere as chandeliers hung from the ceiling and white-clothed tables were topped by bouquets of wine-hued roses and fruit placed inside wooden boxes, along with bottles of chardonnay and cabernet to complement the meal. Guests sat down to an arugula salad with Marcona almonds, heirloom tomatoes, dried cherries and sherry-orange vinaigrette. The main course was a pan-roasted filet of beef served with custard potatoes, port wine sauce, leeks and truffles. Coffee and tea were served with a chocolate and salted caramel bombe with berry coulis for dessert.

Charismatic auctioneer Jim Nye brought the crowd’s attention to the anticipated live auction, always thrilling and filled with one-of-a-kind items. The hottest ticket was a trip for four to meet Italy’s most-famous winemaking family, Antinori, who generously donated a private tour and wine-tasting at their vineyard in Bargino. This special trip went to Maggie and John Hinson for $22,000. Clarence Turner won a trip for three couples to the Oregon Wine Country to tour some of the best vineyards in the northwest, for $4,500. A weekend in Santa Barbara that included the use of a Land Rover to travel up the coast, as well as reservations for the Central Coast Tour to visit Firestone Vineyard, Dragonette Cellars and Jonata Ranch was won by Jess Moore for $5,500. A private jet trip to Napa, where three couples would enjoy a two-night stay at the Meritage Hotel, along with private tours through The Pine Ridge, Alpha Omega Winery and Herb Lamb Vineyards went to Judy and Jin Chang for $18,000.

Among the elite wines won was a 100 Point Cabernet Sauvignon from Hundred Acre, taken home by Michelle and David Horowitz for $6,200. A case of 1989 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, donated by film composer James Newton Howard, went to Donald Hu for $5,500. Two bottles of Domaine Leroy were won by Brian Pollack for $4,500.


PCWF supporters not only enjoyed an extravagant evening of wine, but also invested in the cultural value of the community by benefiting Pacific Symphony. Pacific Symphony is led by Music Director Carl St.Clair, who celebrates his milestone 25th anniversary with the orchestra this season. The largest orchestra formed in the United States in the last 50 years, it is widely recognized as an outstanding ensemble making strides on both the national and international scene, as well as in its own burgeoning cultural community. The Symphony’s education and community programs strive to inspire people of all ages to perform and love symphonic music by serving the community with programming that is built on meaningful partnerships and features the world-class musicians of Pacific Symphony.