Wine Enthusiasts Drink in Pacific Coast Wine Festival’s 10th Anniversary and Raise Over $240,000!
Renowned winemakers, collectors and enthusiasts joined forces with Orange County music lovers in support of Pacific Symphony during the 10th annual Pacific Coast Wine Festival (PCWF)—raising more than $240,000 for the orchestra’s artistic and education programs! Taking place last month at the elegant five-diamond Island Hotel in Newport Beach, this year’s PCWF topped off a decade of magnificent wines and significant fundraising. Nearly 300 guests indulged their taste buds and imbibed from an abundant selection of over 35 first-class wineries, a delicious wine-paired feast, and both silent and live auctions offering rare bottles and one-of-a-kind experiences. As a special anniversary treat, guests had the opportunity to bid during the live auction on 12 Wines from Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list.
Sponsored by Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin Newport Beach and Regency Air and chaired by Greg Bates, this year’s event committee put together a sensational selection of wines—from the Bordeaux region of France, Italy’s Tuscany, Spain and South Africa and back to the exclusive boutique wineries of California’s 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.
“The big hit was the Wine Spectator Top 12,” says Pacific Symphony Board Chair Joann Leatherby. “The Old World wines were definitely my favorites and 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!” The Wine Spectator’s Top 12 included 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 diverse wines, guests had the opportunity to bid on over 300 silent auction items. Prizes included a VIP tasting experience at Frank Family Vineyards in Calistoga in Napa Valley, a stay at the Hanalei Bay Resort in Kauai and another at the Pelican Hill Resort, a trip to Oregon’s wine country for two couples and a Gold Pass for the Symphony’s summer series. Plus, wine tasting trips, dinners, Disneyland tickets, hotel stays, a gift certificate to South Coast Plaza, jewelry and offerings of exquisite and rare wine!
Once the silent-auction bidding closed, guests entered the ballroom to find it elegantly decorated to resemble grape orchards around 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, pears, plums, figs, rosemary and lavender. Beneath chandeliers, tables were topped with bouquets of 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 representative to explain the wine pairings, an enhanced dinner menu, varietal stemware and elevated décor. All 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.
Following dinner, auctioneer Jim Nye, with color commentary by Ian Blackburn, began the live auction, which featured a bounty of delectable, one-of-a-kind wines and unique travel and dining experiences. Among the most-desired auction items was a “Private Jet to Napa” for three couples to stay at the Meritage Resort and Spa and tasting experiences across the valley, which sold for $17,000 to Maria and John Young. And three couples won the Truffle Hunt Under the Tuscan Sun package, with a stay at the private Cortona Countryside Villa overlooking the Valdichiana Valley, which went to Lauren and Richard Packard, Pat and Rick McAuley and Laura and Ed Cunningham, each for $6,400.
“I’ve never seen an audience so engaged in bidding,” says 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 all the guests. It was truly a wonderful evening!” An extraordinary show of generosity raised an additional $64,500 during “Fund-a-Dream,” which highlighted the Symphony’s Heartstrings program and brought the night’s fund-raising total to an impressive number.
Save the date for the Symphony Gala - May 6!