Category Archives: news

Sonoma County Wine Auction Raises Record-Breaking $6.1 Million for Local Charities

The Sonoma County Vintners Foundation are excited to announce $6.1 million was raised at the 2019 Sonoma County Wine Auction! Overall, more than $36 million has been raised to date to support charitable organizations focused on education, health and human services, the environment, and arts and culture in Sonoma County.

This charitable gathering was the culmination of a three-day affair that included an exclusive kickoff party on Thursday evening hosted with the Cline Family at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards and intimate Friday evening Vintner Dinners throughout Sonoma County and San Francisco.

Four hundred auction guests were welcomed to the grounds of La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard with sunny skies and exceptional Sonoma County wines. Local chefs, including James Beard award-winning Chef Honoree John Ash, prepared an array of decadent bites while guests mingled with non-profit beneficiary organizations.

The 40 auction lots included revered wine collections, luxurious travel excursions, meals prepared by world-class chefs, exclusive experiences with industry and community pillars such as Winemaker Honoree Merry Edwards, Chef Honoree John Ash, Steve Young and Ronnie Lott, as well as rare behind-the-scenes experiences with major sports teams and world-famous musicians Lady Antebellum and Brad Paisley.

“I’m truly inspired and grateful to our Honorary Chairs, our wine community and all the auction participants who have demonstrated phenomenal generosity and support for our Foundation,” said Michael Haney, Sonoma County Vintners Foundation Executive Director. “We are thrilled to help support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma – Marin as well as our many other Sonoma County nonprofit organizations with the funds raised.”

Radio Show: ISO The Good Life from July 30th!

I was fortunate to meet radio host Mike The Wine Guy host of In Search of the Good Life, at the Grand Opening of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University.  In such, I was able to hop on for a fun 10 minute interview with him!

Here is the link (scroll to bottom of his page) to listen in on that show if you have a little down time: Christopher Sawyer Of SawyerSomm

Cheers! Christopher

Great Seminars at the Wine Industry Expo Trade Show in Santa Rosa on November 30th!

For us Wine Trade folks, you can get the love at North Coast Wine Industry Expo Trade Show & Conference at the end of this month!

A great source for cutting edge products and services:  There will be  eight comprehensive winemaking and sales & marketing conference sessions, all of which focus on current industry issues and trends impacting the North Coast.  I am moderating the Pét Nat: Make Your Winery POP! Session, but check out this mind-tingling list of options:

  • Synergistic Action of Enzymes and Tannins in Winemaking
  • Wine & Weed: A New Normal on the Horizon
  • The Influence of Nutrients on Aromatics
  • Canned Wine: Crushing the Stigma by Raising the Quality
  • Advancements in Protein Stability & CMC vs. Traditional Cold Stabilization
  • Fires & Acquisition Impact on the North Coast Grape Market – What Will it Mean?
  • Beyond Social Media 101: The Next Frontier

All with great speakers and information to help attendees better prepare for the coming year.  Twenty dollars is being donatated for each paid registration to the #CAWineStrong Charity Fund, as well as $1 for each person that attends the show. Get your tickets HERE!

Wildfire Devastation Too Close To Home

From my heart, I want to thank all the great people from around the globe who sent notes asking if my family and home are okay during the horrific spread of wildfires in Northern California. While I’m happy to say we are doing fine, I am heartbroken over the  suffering of so many friends through the loss of their homes, wineries, businesses or even their job because of the wildfires that are still not under control in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Calaveras and Yuba counties.

The devastation of Willi’s Wine Bar.

On a more personal level, the Mark West-Fountaingrove area that I grew up in, north of Santa Rosa, is completely gone too. The loss and damage to a number of schools and hospitals will have a huge impact on the community as well. The destruction makes me think about the 1989 Earthquake, 9/11 and the terrible storms that have hit the southern states in recent years. Luckily, the amount of lives lost so far has been minimal. But the damage and scares from the fires will be very obvious for many years to come.

This morning we made donations at our local drop-off zone here in Petaluma, and will wait to hear other ways we can help. But rest assured I’ll always wear my heart on the sleeve when October 9th rolls around for the rest of my life. Stay safe and appreciate life my friends.  You can help too either by volunteering at a local shelter or donating to the Napa and Sonoma Fire Relief fundraiser!

Much love to all and stay safe! Chris

gunbun
felicia
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Top to bottom: A photo taken by my friend Sarah Stierch of the horrific fire heading towards Scribe Winery and the adjacent Gundlach Bundsch property in Sonoma Valley; The ruins of my dear friend Felicia’s house near Glen Ellen; Smoke-filled view from my house in Southern Sonoma County.

Live Thurs Feb 16th on KGO! SFWC Public Tasting on Feb 18th.

The final round of our my team’s flights of high-end Viognier.

I will miss the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Public Tasting this year, but instead I get to share my thoughts about the exciting results from a wine judge’s perspective ahead of time on KGO! Catch me tonight, February 16th, from 8:45 to 9pm with Pat Thurston.

The SFWC Public Tasting will be Saturday, February 18th at Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco from 1:30-5pm.
Get your tickets HERE!