2016 Banquet, March 20th - How We Came to Make Such Fine Wines

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It’s no accident that the Sonoma County Historical Society modestly boasts of what we like to think is our skill at putting together interesting annual banquets. This year is no exception. The big show Sunday, Mar. 20 at the Flamingo Hotel includes a round-table discussion on wine, a fine luncheon, awards, raffles, a look at History Day activities, conversations with old friends, and who knows what else.

The program for this year’s annual luncheon is a panel discussion titled “How We Came to Make Such Fine Wines”. We hope to present a wide-ranging panel discussion, featuring distinctly different voices, to tell the grand and fascinating story of how— throughout our history— Sonoma County wines have become so well known throughout the world.

Five speakers are taking part, according to coordinator Jim Shere: Michael Topolos, who will speak on the history of winemaking in Sonoma County since its beginnings with the mission padres; John Burdick, who will speak about the evolution of the appellations, terroir, varietals, vintages, marketing and presentation of the fine wines of Sonoma County; Frank Pastori, who worked the vineyards and cellars near Geyserville since Prohibition, and will talk about the wines of the North County from a personal perspective; George MacLeod, who will talk about his personal experiences establishing and developing a quality vineyard and winery in Sonoma Valley; and special guest George Webber, impersonating Count Agoston Haraszthy de Mokesa, who will act as moderator.

Topolos is well known as an historian, teacher, and author of several books and articles on viticulture and enology— the twin sciences of making fine wines. His wines have received critical acclaim and his courses at Sonoma State and Santa Rosa Junior College have launched the careers of many local winemakers.

Burdick is certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers. His love of our Wine County is seen in the close relationships he has with local artisan producers of hard to find wines. He is the sommelier at Olive & Vine Restaurant in the Valley of the Moon, where the quality of his wine list has achieved worldwide attention.

Pastori’s winery was established by his father in 1914, where he grew up working at what is now described as “old school Sonoma County at its best”. Frank has been active in the development of our wine industry ever since the repeal of Prohibition. He still works every day in his vineyards and wine cellars near Geyserville.

MacLeod’s column “Journey to Harvest” in The Kenwood Press is an entertaining monthly discussion of the good life and hard times of a gentleman farmer. Some forty years ago he bought 50 rocky, hilly abandoned acres in the Valley of the Moon, and began personally clearing the land at the cost of two hernias and a torn rotator cuff.

Webber, director of the historic wine tool museum at Sonoma’s oldest winery, Buena Vista, is famous for his impersonation of the colorful historical figure Count Agoston Haraszthy de Mokesa. Haraszthy established the California wine industry by bringing more than 100,000 cuttings of about 350 prized grape varieties from France, Germany, Italy and Spain, in 1861.

March 20th, 2016 - 11am: No Host Bar, History Student Presentations, Raffle Fundraiser, & Great Conversation! 12 Noon: Luncheon, Annual Awards, & Special Historic Panel Discussion:

Cost is $40 for members and $45 for non-members.
Dinner entree choices are Chicken, Salmon and Pasta. (Buy Tickets ONLINE).
Those who would like to sponsor luncheon tickets for special guest history day students, add $40 per person.
Checks are payable to the Sonoma County Historical Society, and deadline is Tuesday, Mar.15.
Send to Sharie Sbrazza at PO Box 406, Santa Rosa, Ca. 95402.

For more information, telephone 707-570-7076, or email andiamotravel@hotmail.com. The Flamingo is located at 4th and Farmer’s Lane in Santa Rosa.

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