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Sunset in the Vineyard

Assistance League fundraiser spotlights SCV vineyards and home vintners

Posted: November 8, 2008 8:53 p.m.
Updated: November 9, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Sunset in the Vineyard chairwoman Betsy Linn, left, Assistance League fundraising chairwoman Gloria Regan and Assistance League President Jeannie Carpenter.

 

In the heart of "old" Newhall, a stately home on a street shaded with towering, old trees harbors a surprising backyard secret. Rows and rows of grape vines - a private vineyard of Syrah and Grenache and Mouvedra grapes. Neighbors and family members Chris and Jeannie Carpenter and Tim Carpenter, partners in Compa Vineyard, invite residents of the Santa Clarita Valley to "Sunset in the Vineyard" from 3 to 6 p.m. Nov. 16. Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door.

The fundraiser will benefit Assistance League of Santa Clarita, a philanthropic organization organized in 1989 by SCV women and chartered in 1993. Assistance League of Santa Clarita has grown to 150 members and operates "Operation School Bell" which clothes needy elementary school children in the SCV.

"We take care of all the elementary school children in the SCV," Jeannie Carpenter said. Carpenter is the current Assistance League of Santa Clarita president. "There is a lot of need in the SCV right now."

Carpenter said Assistance League helps children purchase clothes from Kohls each Tuesday and Thursday evening, rotating through each elementary school in the SCV.

"At one elementary school we have clothed 400 kids - and just Thursday night we did 150 children," Carpenter said. "This is our second year with Kohls and we are so grateful that Kohls stepped up and offered us a 15 percent discount. When the kids are done shopping at Kohls we give them a Payless Shoes card."

Carpenter said making sure children have new school clothes helps children with self esteem.

"It helps the kids to look good and wear the same clothes as their peers - and it makes their mothers happy, too," she said.

To keep the coffers filled for Operation School Bell and other philanthropic projects Assistance League operates the Take Two Thrift Shop on Main Street in Newhall.

"We are doing well because people are shopping in thrift shops now," Carpenter said. "We're getting a lot of donations and they fly out the door. That that helps us get our reserves up to pay for Operation School Bell.

Carpenter said volunteers from Make a Difference Day recently helped paint the exterior of the store and clean the windows.

"It really helped us," she said.

The block of storefronts along Main Street where the Take Two thrift store is located is scheduled for eventual demolition in the Newhall Redevelopment plan said Carpenter.

In addition to the thrift store and Sunset in the Vineyard Assistance League hosts the annual Footsteps 5K Run which benefits Operation School Bell exclusively. This year's run will be held April 19 at Newhall Park.

For Sunset in the Vineyard, Assistance League sought to create a unique event that didn't duplicate any other SCV event.

"We decided to celebrate the community of private winemakers and vineyards in the SCV," said Carpenter.

"Many of the wines have been made from fruit from local vineyards and some from vineyards in other more traditional growing areas."

Assistance League volunteers will create and prepare a menu of appetizers.

Highlights of the event include informal presentations by the winemakers and auctions for an elegant catered dinner in the vineyard and a day cruise out of Marina del Rey on a 52' sailing yacht.

"We've been able to round up a lot of home wine makers," said Carpenter. "I've found Patty and Chris Connolly from Valencia who have been making wine for years. Nate and Jennifer Hasper and Megan and Steve Lemley also have been making wine together for years and they are bringing something like eight varieties."

Others scheduled to participate include Jenny and Tomas Lukas pouring their wine, and Steve and Mara Prutting.

"Another wonderful couple with a vineyard in Castaic is Kerry and Susie Clark," Carpenter said. "They have sent their wines but will be out of town. Danny Mascari, he has a vineyard up Bouquet Canyon and he makes wine and Juan Alonso of Le Chene has his own vineyard and wine."

Carpenter said family friend Roman Weiser of Newhall will also attend.

"He has a vineyard on Wheeler Road and he's been teaching my husband how to make wine," she said. Vintners Cellar on Lyons Avenue in Newhall will be on hand to help guest blend wine.

"It's like a ‘paint your own ceramics' store but with wine," Carpenter said. "You blend your own wine, it's a custom winery. People are really getting into making their own wine."

Carpenter said the vineyard is particularly photogenic this time of the year.

"It is really pretty now - turning fall colors," she said.

Carpenter credited with event chairwoman Betsy Linn and Gloria Regan, Assistance League of Santa Clarita resource development chairwoman with getting the event off the ground.

"They have really taken this idea and run with it," she said.

For more information, contact event chairwoman, Betsy Linn at (661) 254-3288 or e-mail alsc@email.com. Information about Assistance League membership, philanthropic programs and community involvement visit www.assistanceleague-alsc.org.

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