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Sweet music for Wine Classic

Posted: June 3, 2009 10:22 p.m.
Updated: June 4, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Cindy Smith and Michael Forsberg of RSVP Catering serve up gourmet goodies.

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It was the second consecutive sellout in two years for the Santa Clarita Valley’s premiere wine and food tasting festival, the 22nd Wine Classic, held Saturday in the main gallery at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia.

“I don’t think we’ve missed a Wine Classic in something like 10 years, so that tells you something — it must be good,” said Ingrid Boydston.

The annual event is the main fundraiser for the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra Foundation which is a nonprofit organization that supports three instrumental performing groups at the College of the Canyons: the Prelude Strings, Intermediate Orchestra and the Symphony of the Canyons.

“We had almost 50 tables where wineries, distributors, local wine stores, Whole Foods Market, Bristol Farms and several restaurants, poured several hundred different wines. In addition, we had half a dozen ‘library’ wine tables where several friends donated and poured selections of rare, collectible, and older wines, which they donated, to those in attendance,” said Jeff Jacobson, chairman of the wine committee.

“It’s these rarities, among other factors, that enables us to attract a more upscale crowd of wine connoisseurs to the Wine Classic than others attract to their tasting events,” Jacobson said. “This crowd also enables us to attract higher-quality wineries to participate, and to enable us to also attract the more upscale wines poured by the wineries who do participate.”

Among the wineries and distributors were All Corked Up, Constellation Wines, Grape Crusader, Henry Wine Group, International Wines and Liquor, Souther Wine and Spirits, Strange Wines, Sunrise Spirits, TGIC Wine Imports, Transat Trade, Valencia Wine Co., Wine 661 and Wine Warehouse.

Library wine tables were hosted by the Jacobson family, Cilla and Warren Faubel, Roger Gertz, Les Hershberger, Chris and Jeannie Carpenter, Santa Clarita Vintners and Growers Association, Steven Elzer and Robert and Annie Schwartz.

Sue Bozman, who co-chaired the event with Sally Angel, said this was the second year the event had attracted a sellout crowd of 750.

“People were lining up to get in more than an hour before the doors to the event opened, and by 9 p.m., we were out of glasses and we were turning people away,” Bozman said. “The feedback I’ve had from folks was that they loved the event, the wine, food and music was superb, and everyone had a lot of fun.”

Bozman said the event should break records.

“I don’t have the financials yet, but we think this will have been our most successful Wine Classic in 22 years, because in addition to excellent admission ticket sales, we did great on the auction and the raffle ticket sales,” she said. “We also had wonderful support from sponsors who donated everything from food, wine, auction items, advertising and who wrote checks to support the student orchestra program. The College of the Canyons Foundation hosted the event with us this year, which was a tremendous improvement because the Foundation’s staff are real professionals at running fundraising events.”

Among the restaurants, caterers and refreshment vendors recruited by restaurant chairwoman Janet Linahan and her committee were Baskin-Robbins serving chocolate, mango and daiquiri ice cream, Bella Cucina Italian Restaurant, Bristo Farms, Castiac Lake Water Agency, Chocolates a la Carte, COC Culinary Arts Program, Frankies NY Italian Restaurant, the Frosted Tier, Jasmine Thai BBQ (with cream cheese stuffed won tons, among other items), Lima Limon Peruvian Cuisine, Mojito Caribbean Cuisine, Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Persia Restaurant, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, RSVP The Catering Co. (serving an apricot-curry chicken and quinoa salad and caramelized onion and bacon tart), Salt Creek Grille, Sam’s Flaming Grill, Stonefire Grill, Tea Zazz Sparkling Tea, Thelma’s Morning Cafe, Whole Foods Market and Wolf Creek Restaurant and Brewing Co.

“This is an amazing event, it is good food, good wine — and did you see the desserts?” said Margo Hudson of Valencia.

Bob Hudson, CFO of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital said he was impressed at the turnout.

“I just love the SCV because no matter what it is we step up. What the community does to support each other is just an amazing thing,” he said.

Laina McFerren, of Wolf Creek Restaurant was on hand serving up items from the restaurant’s catering menu alongside catering manager Beth Wageman. The duo offered up seared ahi tuna with wasabi and eggplant wrapped around herbed goat cheese with roasted red pepper.

“We’re having a great time and we’re always excited to support the SCVYO and to give back to the community,” McFerren said.

Dave Schutz of All Corked Up said it was the wine bar’s third year at the Wine Classic.

“It’s a great way for people to learn about wine and to have a great time for a great cause,” he said.

Tickets to the event were priced at $65 each through March 27, then $70 each March 28 - Mary 29 and $80 each at the door.

Designated driver tickets were $35 each.

Bozman said it was important that this year’s event be successful.

“The bottom line is that the success of this event was particularly critical this year, with deep cuts to the community college budgets.

The only way we are able to keep strong music and other cultural arts programs is by having the support of folks in our community who step forward to help through donations and fundraising events such as this,” she said.

For more information about the SCV Youth Orchestra visit



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