Sonoma County Hosts LGBT Charity Weekend

The event raised money for a local charity, plus other news and notes in the world of wine, beer and spirits.


Sonoma County played host to the fifth annual Gay Wine Weekend, a three-day charity event catering to the LGBT community, reports the Sonoma Press Democrat. More than 600 attendees from 20 states traveled to northern California for the event, organized by tour and event company, Out in the Vineyard. Featuring winemaker dinners, vineyard tours and a party at Buena Vista Winery, Gay Wine Weekend raised some $28,500 for Face to Face, the Sonoma-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals living with HIV and AIDS.

Champagne-brand Veuve Clicquot is targeting the mixology set with a new offering made specifically for mixing into cocktails, reports Drinks Business. Launched in Toronto, Canada, the bottle is dubbed “Rich,” with a sweeter profile than the house’s flagship brut non-vintage. Consumers are encouraged to mix the sip with fruits like strawberries and grapefruit, or even vegetables like red and yellow peppers. Rich will retail for $80.

The country’s top bartenders will partake in the prestigious Diageo World Class U.S. National Finals bartending competition this week. The fifteen competitors have been whittled down from hundreds, vying for the title of “U.S. Bartender of the Year.” Industry experts will judge each their skills over five challenges. The experts are master mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim; beverage expert, Steve Olson; award-winning bartender, Jim Meehan; James Beard Nominee and Wine Star Award winner, Julie Reiner; National President of the United State Bartenders’ Guild, Dave Nepove; and 2014 World Class Bartender of the Year and 40 Under 40 alumni, Charles Joly.

In the Trade

Importer and distributor Frederick Wildman and Sons, ltd. is appointing John Sellar its new president, announced Corrado Casoli, Wildman’s Chairman of the Board. Sellar was previously vice president and in charge of Wildman’s Wholesale Division. Benjamin Kirschner will replace Sellar as the new Director of Sales for the Wholesale Division in New York City and N.J. In addition to Sellar’s appointment, Bill Seawright, vice president northern division manager, will now manage the 30-person strong U.S. sales force as vice president national sales manager.

After an extensive 16-month renovation, Joseph Phelps Vineyards announced the re-opening of its original winery to visitors. Award-winning firms Baldauf Catton Von Eckartsberg (BCV) Architects and Brandenburger Associates AIA were commissioned to repurpose the winery’s interior spaces and enhance the guest experience, but maintain the exterior redwood design, created in 1973 by architect John Marsh Davis. New tasting areas include the Backus, Insignia and Founder’s rooms along with a Great Hall at the center of the building, as well as a new kitchen and expansive terrace views.

Free Flow Wines, wine-on-tap producers, have partnered with winemakers Gotham Project to build a new East Coast kegging facility in Kearny, New Jersey, three miles from Newark. The 10,000-square-foot joint facility, which will offer kegging and logistics support to wineries, importers and distributors throughout the region, is expected to open by the end of 2015, pending regulatory approval. It will be Free Flow’s second facility, which will continue operating from its 25,000-square-foot Napa-based headquarters.

On the Scene

Boss-lady and Executive Editor Susan Kostrzewa explores Italy’s wine scene with this cheese-friendly pour from Tuscany’s Colline Lucchesi DOCG.


Published on June 24, 2015
Topics: Wine Events
About the Author
Joseph Hernandez

Hernandez is a Chicago-based writer and editor obsessed with wine, food and being an oft-misguided know-it-all. WSET certified, his work has appeared in various print and digital publications, including National Geographic's Intelligent Travel blog, Food RepublicModern Luxury's Men's Book and Chef Marcus Samuelsson's blog. When he's not drinking Champagne or funky Loire Valley reds, you can find Hernandez documenting his latest meal or day trip on Instagram.

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