Saturday, Sept. 7 is going to be a spectacularly full and fun day for me, with wine flowing from early in the day into the night, as I will help celebrate Mendocino County’s wine industry at two events. I hope you can join me at one, or both, of the day’s events.
First up is Winesong, a benefit for the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation, in Fort Bragg. This year marks the 29th Winesong Auction & Tasting, and the previous 28 annual Winesong wine events have led directly to lives saved as the next closest hospital is at least an hour away.
“The generosity of past guests, donors and volunteers have allowed the Hospital to purchase new equipment such as an ambulance, echocardiography system, Nuclear Medicine Camera and provided essential funding for our Elwin Cox Memorial Cancer Care Fund,” explains this year’s auction catalog, allowing the hospital to provide “many specialty practices including oncology, cardiology, obstetrics, general surgery, orthopedic surgery and wellness” for “everyone who lives, works, or vacations on the Mendocino Coast.”
Saturday starts with Mendocino County’s best wineries (plus some stars from outside the county) and food purveyors providing a wonderful tasting with tables set up throughout the breathtakingly beautiful Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. A $100 donation allows guests to wander through the gardens from 11 a.m. -2 p.m., tasting the wines of over 100 premium producers and the taste treats from more than 50 top food purveyors, while bidding on a dazzling array of silent auctions.
A $200 donation adds a reserved seat under the tent for the live auction with a three course lunch by James Beard award winning celebrity chef Bradley Ogden, and a Winesong tote bag, all following the three hour wine and food tasting through the gardens. Narsai David, KCBS radio’s food and wine luminary, will be the event’s Master of Ceremonies.
The live auction items are a collection of 75 jealousy inducing wine, restaurant, hotel, event, and vacation packages, while the silent auction lots include stays at vineyard guest houses, art, library wines, and more.
The auction items are truly awesome, and I hope if you attend Winesong that you will bid and wish you luck, hoping you win. That said, I am a simple man, and the opportunity to choose from among so many highly rated and award winning wines paired with bites of the most delicious foods, while surrounded by the verdantly lush Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, and then a Bradley Ogden meal with wine, well, that is what I imagine Heaven must be like.
I will be pouring a variety of Gold Medal, Double Gold Medal, and Best of Class awarded wines for McFadden Vineyard, wearing my figurative McFadden Farm Stand & Tasting Room manager hat, while sporting a literal broad brimmed straw hat. Tasters will have fun as I try to impart a little story with each wine poured, definitely more fun than the folks pouring for whatever winery shares my table as they hear a non-stop three hour live commercial for all things McFadden.
To get your tickets to this Heaven on Earth charity event, visit http://www.winesong.org
After Saturday’s early pouring on the coast, I will drive back over the hill to attend the 3rd annual BBQ and Blending Barn Party at Testa Ranch and Vineyards in Calpella, just north of Ukiah on North State street, from 5 10 p.m. that same day, Saturday, Sept. 7.
I attended the first Testa BBQ and Blending Barn Party and found it virtually impossible to blend the component wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane, and Petite Sirah, and not have the result taste great.
Each table will get to create, through trial and tasting, their favorite blend which will help Maria Testa find the perfect blend percentages for her fifth flagship red wine, the Testa Black “Cinque.” To help lubricate the blending work, there will be wine poured to inspire your creativity. This year, for the first time, each table’s blend will be entered in a blind tasting by judges who will select a winner!
The three judges are John Buchenstein, Rosemary Eddy, and John Cesano, which explains why I am happily driving back to Testa instead of staying overnight on the coast.
As I would be impressed by a blend that wasn’t delicious, I’m predisposed to award gold medals to all entrants with one wine chosen Best of Class by John, Rosemary, and me.
Appetizers served at your table, then a barbecue dinner with Italian pasta and salad and bread to follow, before the desert and dancing begins. Additional wine will be sold by the glass or bottle.
Rusty Martinson works the grill like a master, and I have enjoyed oysters to chicken in the past. I’m looking forward to this year’s food off the grill, and of course the pasta and salad.
Local music sensation and Nashville recording artist, McKenna Faith will perform this year.
Individual tickets are $70, or $55 for Testa wine club members. Reserved tables for eight are $560, or just $440 for Testa wine club members.
Here’s the deal. I love Testa wines, and this event is a blast! To get your tickets before they sell out, call Maria Testa Martinson at (707) 391-7273.
Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. Save the date on your calendar for at least one or, even better, two local wine events, and if you see me that day say hello.