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The 7th Annual Pacific Coast Wine Festival Raises Over $372,000 for Pacific Symphony Programs

The 7th Annual Pacific Coast Wine Festival Raises Over $372,000 for Pacific Symphony Programs

The recent heavy rains in Southern California did nothing to dampen spirits or dissuade guests from swarming into the five-diamond IslandHotel last Saturday night for the spectacular seventh-annual Pacific Coast Wine Festival (PCWF). The event sold out early, drawing a capacity crowd of more than 300 guests, allof whom were dressed to the nines-gentlemen sporting dapper suits and ladies swathed in elegant cocktail dresses and wraps-highlighted by the ambient gold lighting throughout the hotel. The excitement permeating the air was as palpable as the aromatic wines as the evening got underway, beginning with a vast array of wine tasting opportunities and an enticing silent auction. A delectable wine-paired dinner followed, enlivened by a wildly energetic live auction of rare wines and unforgettable travel experiences.

The festival's final tally, after all the bidding was done, gave reason for one final toast-to the evening's fund-raising efforts, which totaled more than $372,000 (net), all going toward Pacific Symphony's many artistic and education programs ($152,000 more thanthe year before)! This year's PCWF event was generously sponsored by Land Rover-Aston Martin-Jaguar of Newport Beach and BNY Mellon; also, Phil and Mary Lyons, Pat and Bill Podlich, Sage and Pascal Houillon, and Fred and Wendy Salter. For more information on PCWF, visit PacificCoastWineFestival.com. For more information on the Symphony, visit PacificSymphony.org.

"When we first began, the typical response from the wine industry was: 'Who are you? What is this event? No thanks,' says Michael Kerr, festival founder and chair of Pacific Symphony's board of directors. "Now we're established as one of Southern California's premiere wine events. We have remarkable wineries pouring their wines and donating items for our auction. We struggled to get people to the first festival; now for the third year in a row, we've been sold out. And we've got more and better everything-world-class wines to sample from all over the world, with nine countries represented, and amazing auction items, including the single most-prized wines from the U.S., Screaming Eagle, and from France, Domaine Romanee Conte." He adds: "And we destroyed our goal! Yes!"

PCWF, which burst onto the scene in Orange County seven years ago, has cultivated a reputation as one of the most esteemed wine auctions in California, as well as a significant fund-raising event for the Symphony. Co-chaired by Kerr, Fred Salter and Valerie Van de Zilver, pintthis year's event got underway at 5 p.m., as each guest picked up a sparkling wine glass, armed and ready to begin sampling from more than 60 wines, both from California and as far away as France and Italy. Soft jazz music wafted through the air as guests made their way through the multiple rooms-sniffing, swirling, sipping and savoring a bountiful bouquet ofwines and bidding on three sets of silent auction lots chock full with wines and specialty items. Waiters wandered nearby offering appetizer platters that included chicken roulade with oven-dried tomato, smoked salmon pancakes and tomato on bruschetta, while artisan breads, cheeses, grapes and berries were also available.

"This event has gained the respect of wine enthusiasts across the U.S., especially in our local area," says co-chair Van de Zilver. "Numerous wineries have asked to pour at our event,and some have supported us continuously through the years. The level of wineries/vineyards has been raised so that we have attracted more hard-to-find wines for our pouring part of the evening."

In an effort to raise the standard of excellence each year, this year the chairs enlisted the expertise of Tristen Beamon and Kyle Meyer of Orange County's BestWinesOnline.com, who carefully curated the tastings and wines included in the live and silent auction. To provide guests with a memorable experience, Beamon and Meyer contacted friends across the world to donate items and attend the auction. Their passion for the arts and community is acutely felt andcontributes to their efforts to craft an astonishing array of wines.

"Kyle and Tristen did an amazing knock-your-socks-off job of putting together auction lots of wine as well as the trips to Bordeaux and Rioja (Spain)," says Van de Zilver. "Their enthusiasm, class, knowledge of wines and ability to obtain incredible auction lots was a real plus. Having auction lots such as a case of 100 point wines put us in a whole other league and rates us among the country's best wine auctions. An auction lot of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti is another example of wines found in only the most prestigious auctions."

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