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Good pours, better cause

Wine tasting event to help raise money for Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club

Posted: September 3, 2013 12:00 p.m.
Updated: September 3, 2013 12:00 p.m.

Cushing Donelan, marketing director of Donelan wines, describes his glass of chardonnay at an Aug. 29 preview for the Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club wine tasting and live auction fundraiser Sept. 10 at Salt Creek Grille in Valencia.

The Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club hopes to give residents another reason to feel good about drinking wine.

The club will host a wine tasting and live auction fundraiser at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at Salt Creek Grille in Valencia for $75 per person.

Donelan, the featured winery, has been described by a top wine critic as “a fascinating group of wines,” rating Donelan wines from 97-100 points.

Salt Creek’s own Chef Tamra Levine has prepared dishes based on the winemaker’s tasting notes, and the live auction features three packages designed with the wine enthusiast in mind.

“This has become an important annual event because people really enjoy it,” said Carl Kanowsky, president of the club’s governing board and co-host of the event. “With at-the-door cost and auction items, this event usually raises about $15,000 to $20,000 in net profit ­— it has offered a newfound source of money to the club.”

Past wine tasting funraisers have raised in total of about $100,000, according to a press release.

Going on its fifth year, the event’s success was almost unintentional, Kanowsky said. With good wines, food and conversation, attendees end up staying all night.

“It evolves into a great evening,” Kanowsky said.

And each year, the featured winemaker makes all the difference, Kanowsky said.

“We don’t go after the big guys (in winemaking), but we bring critically acclaimed wines to the table,” Kanowsky said.

This is a completely different experience for those who are used to drinking cheap wines, Kanowsky said.

Though tickets are $75 per person, each attendee ends up consuming about $600 worth of paired food and drinks.

“And the winemakers really end up loving it,” Kanowsky said.

Brothers Cushing and Tripp Donelan will be pouring up to seven of their wines, including chardonnay, pinot and other Rhone varietals, Cushing Donelan said.

“We make easy-to-drink wines that pair well with food,” he said.

When presented with the opportunity, the Donelan family tries to give back to causes that are important to them and their customers, Cushing Donelan said.

“We jumped on the opportunity to be part of the Boys & Girls Club fundraiser,” he said. “It’s great to be part of a club that’s shaping the character of our next generation, and at the same time, we can help demystify the world of wine.”


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