In Santa Barbara News Press – March 7th
As much as I would like the answer to be 42…it’s 11.
There are not many instances where you can get a winemaker to just give you a barrel full of wine. In fact, some say, if uninvited, getting between a winemaker and his or her barrel is much like finding yourself between a mother bear and her cub.
When he asked some of Santa Barbara Counties top producers for a few barrels of wine, Bion Rice, local winemaker at his winery Artiste and Sunstone Winery, deliberately put himself in an awkward position. He wasn’t asking for his own personal gains however, but trying to raise funds for a local school in Los Olivos, the Santa Ynez Valley Family School, located on Figueroa Mountain Road.
Family School, has been hosting the very popular annual dinner and auction, Bounty of the Valley, for over 30 years, to help fund independent education at their school. This year they are adding a new addition to the event in hope to garner even more support, it is called Legacy.
Legacy is the product of 11 different local winemakers, who have each donated a barrel or two of Rhône wine that has been made into one blend. “I figured we would only get four or five winemakers to commit” admits Rice, 42, who came up with the idea. “But to my surprise, every one of them pitched in within a few days, because they truly believed in the school. It was a true sign of solidarity amongst our local winemakers to support the children at Family School.”
“The Legacy wine has turned out to be a great idea … bring together diverse and unique lots of Rhone variety wines from as many supporting wine families as possible that have sent kids to Family School or currently have their children at Family School, it is a bold plan” say Andrew Murray, 41, from Andrew Murray Vineyards, who has two children who have graduated from Family School. “The Family School has meant (and continues to mean) quite a bit to so many of us. We want our involvement to help maintain the financial success and independence of the school. This will be our Legacy!
Rice, whose sons Miles, 9 and Mason, 7 are enrolled in the school, went around and personally asked all the winemakers, who have or have had children attend Family School to donate, as you can imagine the list ended up being a who’s who in our local winemaking world: Ken Brown of Ken Brown Winery, Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, Morgan Clendenen of Cold Heaven Winery, the Coghlan’s of Coghlan Vineyard, the Hovarth’s of Crawford Family Wine, Bob Lindquist of Qupé, Andrew Murray of Andrew Murray Winery, the Ostini’s of Hitching Post Winery, the Rice’s of Sunstone & Artiste Winery, Larry Schaffer of Tercero and the Tensley’s of Tensley Winery.
For a donation of $500 dollar you will receive a case of the wine at the event with all profits going to Family School.
“There’s over a 150 years of winemaking experience in each bottle”, says Larry Schaffer, 47, winemaker and owner of Tercero another donator, whose son Jaxson, 10, is enrolled in the school.
Bounty of the Valley takes place, 5 p.m Saturday, March 9th at Alisal Guest Ranch, it will feature a selection of wines from local winemakers, as well as appetizers created by the Alisal’s chef, Pascal Gode.
Following dinner, a live auction will showcase items as varied as a signed Taylor Swift guitar, a Mexican vacation to Punta Mit, and a dinner for 10 with special wines at Japanese restaurant ARU in Buellton.
If you would like one of the few remaining tickets to the event or if you would like to make a $500 donation and receive the wine, Legacy please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-688-5440. For more info got to www.syvbountyofthevalley.org