Healdsburg Wine and Food Experiences Begin Thursday

The Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience, now in its second year, is scheduled to begin on Thursday. Co-founder Steve Doberis said it was the only local wine event with an international twist.

“[The event]is the only event that allows wines from other regions to be poured side by side, and it also promises to pay homage to the region’s agricultural roots,” he said.

The event runs Thursday through Sunday, with the main event, the Vintners Plaza Grand Tasting Experience, taking place Saturday from 12:30pm to 4:30pm in downtown Healdsburg. The tasting will feature 140 wines, 80% from Sonoma County and 20% from Napa, France, Italy, Australia, Spain and other wine regions. A beer garden sponsored by Guinness will also be held.

But why take an international approach in a region famous for its local wine production? He praised Carissa Kruse, co-founder of the event and president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers Trade Organization, for her vision of inviting wineries from around the world to participate.

“Her vision of enabling other great wine regions in the world to showcase their wines alongside Sonoma County brands is what makes this event so unique,” ​​he said. rice field. Doberis said he wants to build on this successful model.

“In total, we sold more tickets than last year. However, like last year, we kept the total event attendance at about 2,000 to maintain an intimate atmosphere and not overwhelm the city of Healdsburg’s infrastructure. We want to make it possible,” Dweris said.

He added that new additions are planned to spice up the event.

“This year we’re adding spirits and hosting a cool craft cocktail event at the Lo & Behold restaurant with several local mixologists representing the restaurant, as well as talented mixologists and chefs,” Dweris said. “We also organized a Zinfandel Live Event, a musical celebration of Zinfandel hosted by Emmy Award-winning (KQED program) Leslie Sbrocco of Check Please!” Bay Area and Young Music World genius Asher Belsky. “

Zinfandel Live will include walk-around tastings by chefs pairing dishes with 27 of California’s famous zinfandels, Dobellis added. The event runs from noon to 3pm on Sundays.

Doberis, 61, a media sales and marketing expert, has sold millions of dollars in sponsorships for events such as the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, Pebble Beach Food & Wine and the Playboy Jazz Festival. said he did. Last year’s inaugural Healdsburg event raised $100,000 for the Sonoma Grape Growers Foundation and $30,000 for the Future Farmworkers of America Scholarship Fund, he said.

Of course, fundraising remains a top priority for the event this year, Doberis said. And there are challenges to making such an event successful post-pandemic.

Q: How important is the fundraiser for this event?

A: We committed to raising $30,000 for the “Future Farmers of America” ​​high school students in Healdsburg who want to go to college to study agriculture but are in financial difficulty. We also pledged him to raise $10,000 for the “Farm to Pantry,” which collects produce from otherwise abandoned farms and people’s backyards to feed people all over Sonoma County. … Another important beneficiary is the Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation, which provides assistance to vineyard workers.

Q: How difficult is it to overcome some obstacles in an event of this magnitude?

A: Running an event of this scale and complexity is labor-intensive and costly, and recession fears, supply chain issues, bank failures and general uncertainty have pushed sponsors and consumers alike this year. It presents unique challenges for both. We rely on hundreds of volunteers during our events and we are very lucky that the entire community is very supportive.

Please contact Wine Writer Peg Melnik at 707-521-5310 or peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com. @pegmelnik on Twitter.

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