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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

Wine Enthusiasts Rise to the Occasion! Pacific Coast Wine Festival’s 10th Anniversary Raises More Than $240,000 for Pacific Symphony

Orange County, Calif. — March 16, 2017

Renowned winemakers, collectors and enthusiasts joined forces with Orange County music lovers to support Pacific Symphony at the 10th annual Pacific Coast Wine Festival (PCWF), raising more than $240,000 for the orchestra’s artistic and education programs! Taking place on Saturday, March 11, at the elegant five-diamond Island Hotel in Newport Beach, this year’s PCWF topped off a decade of splendid wines and significant fundraising. Nearly 300 guests enjoyed an abundant selection of over 35 first-class wineries to taste from, a delicious wine-paired feast and both silent and live auctions offering rare bottles and one-of-a-kind experiences. As a special treat for the anniversary, guests had the opportunity to also taste the Top 12 Wines from Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list, as well as bid on a package to take these award-winning wines home during the live auction. The PCWF was generously sponsored by Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin Newport Beach and Regency Air.

“The big hit was the Wine Spectator Top 12,” said Pacific Symphony Board Chair Joann Leatherby. “The Old World wines were definitely my favorites, which includes those from Oregon. My appreciation for Italian wines also increased. The gift of a great tasting is that all of the guests get to try new wines and discover the styles they enjoy the most, and in this case, it’s all to support the wonderful work of Pacific Symphony!”

Chaired by Greg Bates, this year’s committee put together a sensational offering of wines from the Bordeaux region of France, to Italy’s Tuscany, to Spain, South Africa and back home to the exclusive boutique wineries of Sonoma and Napa Valley. Pouring wineries included Beekeeper Cellars, Blackbird Vineyards, Bougetz Cellars, Chateau Haut-Batailley, Chateau La Vieille Cure, Chateau Maillet, David Arthur Vineyards, Del Dotto Vineyards, Domaine Daniel Dampt, Herb Lamb Vineyards, Kaapzicht, Loring Wine Company, Montemaggio, Nellcôte, Pont Neuf, Privé Vineyard, Progeny Winery, Riverain Vineyards, Trinitas Cellars, Vega Sicilia, Vignamato, Villiera Wines, William Cole Vineyards and Zotovich Vineyards.

Also included in the tasting were the Top 12 Wines from Wine Spectator’s Top 100, including Lewis, Domaine Serene, Beaux Frères, Château Climens, Produttori del Barbaresco, Orin Swift, Ridge, Antinori, Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Hartford Family, Hamilton Russell and Abadia Retuerta.

While savoring the wines, guests had the opportunity to bid on over 300 silent auction items. Remarkable prizes included a VIP tasting experience at Frank Family Vineyards in Calistoga in Napa Valley, a seven-night stay at the Hanalei Bay Resort in Kauai, stays at the Pelican Hill Resort, a trip to Oregon’s wine country for two couples and a Gold Pass for Pacific Symphony’s summer series. Plus, wine tasting trips, dinners, Disneyland tickets, hotel stays, a $1,000 gift certificate to South Coast Plaza, jewelry and offerings of exquisite and rare wine.

Once the lots closed for bidding, guests entered the ballroom, which was elegantly decorated to resemble the grape orchards of the world. Burgundy and wine roses were strung across a rustic wooden backdrop, and the stage was set with bountiful baskets filled with olive plants, Bosc pears, plums, figs, rosemary and lavender. Beneath chandeliers, tables were topped with bouquets of cappuccino and amnesia roses, purple hellebores, burgundy dahlias, burgundy anemones, lilac and wine-colored ranunculus.

For the second year, PCWF featured an upgraded $10,000 table experience with paired wines from a single winery, a winery representative to explain the wine pairings, an enhanced dinner menu, varietal stemware and elevated décor. Wineries pouring at the exclusive Jeroboam-level tables were Del Dotto, William Cole and Blackbird. The VIP menu included a first course of Carrot Passato Soup with Vadouvan Crème followed by an entrée of Seared Filet with Brandy Reduction and Lobster Tail in Smoked Butter Emulsion served with Zucchini, Carrot, Baby Yellow Squash, Red Pearl Onion and Roasted Garlic Potato Puree. Dessert was a delicious S’more Pudding Cake and Salted Caramel Ice Cream, served with Housemade Marshmallow and Graham Cracker Crisp. Other tables enjoyed a salad of Roasted Beet and Humboldt Fog with Baby Mȃche, little Tomatoes and Creamy Curry Dressing. The entrée was a French Coq Au Vin in Natural Jus served with Potato Au Gratin and Zucchini, Carrot, Baby Yellow Squash and Red Pearl Onion, followed by a similar dessert.

Guests were welcomed by Bates and Leatherby. As they dined, they enjoyed a performance of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” by Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra alum, cellist Samantha Lee and cellist Jonathan Kim, a Debut Artist at Carnegie Hall. Soon after, charismatic auctioneer Jim Nye brought the crowd’s attention to the live auction, which featured a bounty of delectable, one-of-a-kind wines to take home and unique travel and dining experiences. Color commentary by Ian Blackburn of Beekeeper Cellers added to the excitement.

“I’ve never seen an audience so engaged in bidding,” said Leatherby. “Everyone was into it. We had so many great auction items donated by so many people. We are grateful to all of the auction donors and to all of the guests.”

Among the most desired auction items was a Private Jet to Napa for three couples to experience a two-night stay at the Meritage Resort and Spa and to enjoy tasting experiences across the valley, which sold for $17,000 to Maria and John Young. Next, three couples won the Truffle Hunt Under the Tuscan Sun package, which includes seven nights at the private Cortona Countryside Villa overlooking the Valdichiana Valley. This unique prize went to Lauren and Richard Packard, Pat and Rick McAuley and Laura and Ed Cunningham, each for $6,400. Monette and Steve Zotovich took home “Big Boys,” which included 15 Magnums from 2001 to 2013 for $5,700. The Exclusive Williams Selyem Sonoma Experience went to Thai and Stephen Brown and Sue and Fred Seibert for $5,600 each. The Wine Paired Dinner for 10 at Batesby Farms, always a favorite item, went to two groups for $5,500: Betty and Ken Potalivo, and Sally Anderson, Tom Rogers, Susan Anderson and Sam Anderson.

Other notable items included a trip to Maui, a Land Rover Off-Road experience in Carmel, Santa Barbara Polo Getaway and an opportunity to play percussion onstage with Pacific Symphony. Wine collections for auction included the Top 12 Wines from Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list, Napa Cult Cabs, Chardonnay for Days, Triple Threat which included a Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, 90 Point Plus Bordeaux, Robert Parker 100 Point Bordeaux, Rhône, Scarecrow Vertical, Rare Red Bordeaux and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

An extraordinary show of generosity raised an additional $64,500 in support of Pacific Symphony during the “Fund-a-Dream” portion of the evening, which highlighted the Symphony’s Heartstrings program.

“We loved the audience,” said Leatherby. “They were so excited and generous. Everyone in the room was involved in the auction, either bidding or cheering on their friends. It was truly a wonderful evening!”

Pacific Symphony is led by Music Director Carl St.Clair and is the largest orchestra formed in the United States in the last 50 years. 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. For more information, visit