It was a night and auction lot to remember! This week’s Leading Women of Sonoma County Wine Dinner featured mouthwatering food and delicious wine from the ladies of Dry Creek Vineyard, Walt and Hall Wines, Merry Edwards Winery, Laurel Glen Vineyard, Jackson Family Wines, Martinelli Winery and Keller Estate. The event, held at beautiful Dry Creek Vineyard, was an auction lot in last year’s Sonoma County Wine Auction.

Dry Creek Vineyard President, Kim Stare Wallace, shares all the details with us in an exclusive interview. 

Q. Travel Writer, Jennifer Boden: Tell us more about The Leading Women of Sonoma County Wine Dinner?

A. Kim Stare Wallace

This event originated in 2017 as a Sonoma County Wine Auction Lot hosted by Barbara Banke of Jackson Family Wines and was so successful that I volunteered to carry on the tradition this past year. It has been wonderful to see the popularity of this auction lot, and the support of all of the women who have volunteered their time and fantastic wines.

The Leading Women of Sonoma County Wine dinner was an extraordinary event because it brought together many things that mean a great deal to me. Dry Creek Vineyard has played such an important role in the Sonoma County wine industry during our 47-year history, and it is imperative that we do our part in promoting the phenomenal wines of our region. As a female running a second-generation family winery, it is essential to me that women owners and winemakers in the industry are recognized and celebrated. To have a role in accomplishing these two goals while supporting a multitude of non-profit organizations through the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation is an honor and privilege.Q: Who were the hosts of this year’s dinner? 

A. Kim Stare Wallace

I had the privilege of hosting this wonderful dinner with some incredible women! Katie Jackson (Senior Vice President, Corporate and Social Responsibility, Jackson Family Wines) is the oldest daughter of Barbara Banke and Jess Jackson, Ana Keller (Estate Director, Keller Estate) was an early champion of the Petaluma GAP AVA, Julianna Martinelli (Martinelli Winery & Vineyards) is the fourth generation in her family to be in the wine business, Bettina Sichel (General Manager and Partner, Laurel Glen Vineyard) is a veteran of the California wine industry, Heidi von der Mehden (Winemaker, Merry Edwards Winery) recently took over the winemaking legacy of Merry Edwards, and Kathryn Walt Hall (Vintner, WALT and HALL Wines) is a former UN Ambassador to Austria.Q: How did you usher in the evening? 

A. Kim Stare Wallace

The evening was all about girl power! We welcomed our guests with sparkling wine provided by Joy Sterling of Iron Horse Vineyards, who unfortunately was not able to attend but sent bubbles! We also featured passed appetizers along with the “Oyster Girls” who shucked oysters and served caviar while listening to the lovely musical talent of Ruby Jaye and enjoying the beautiful garden at our family winery.

Chef Domenica Catelli prepared a delicious 5-course dinner that was enjoyed in our cellar, and each of our legendary women of Sonoma County brought a current release and a library wine to share with the guests. It was the perfect evening!

Q: Tell us about the wine shared at dinner.

A. Kim Stare Wallace

What I loved about the wines that were featured during the dinner was that each one of them was chosen purposefully and had a very personal story attached. For example, Ana shared a wine that was originally made as a gift for her father, Kathryn brought a selection from her daughter’s new label, and Julianna featured a wine that honored her grandparents. I chose to start the evening with the inaugural release of The Mariness, a Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon blend that is a great representation of the adventurous spirit of women! I also couldn’t resist bringing our 1994 Reserve Estate Merlot out of our library, which is remarkable for a 25-year-old wine.

Q: What was the inspiration behind the menu at this event? 

A. Kim Stare Wallace

The inspiration was to let the creative and tremendous talent of Chef Domenica Catelli shine. She was drawn to all of the fresh vegetables that are thriving in her garden, along with highlighting local, artisan products. She is a third-generation chef with a rich family history in the local community, and we were honored that she shared her passion and expertise with us.
Q: Are you hoping to continue this event every year?

A. Kim Stare Wallace

We absolutely hope to continue this auction lot every year, and let each of the ladies host with their personal flair. The annual Sonoma County Wine Auction has raised over $30 million benefiting non-profit organizations throughout the region, so we are thrilled to be a part of such an important cause.Q: Tell us about Dry Creek Vineyard. What makes it a great place to visit? 

A. Kim Stare Wallace

Our relaxed and inviting family winery in Healdsburg makes the perfect afternoon getaway! Modeled after a Loire Valley chateau, our charming tasting room epitomizes the small family feel of the Dry Creek Valley. Our tasting room is open daily and offers a tasting of our world-class wines, including limited-production, single-vineyard bottlings only available at the winery. There’s something for everyone when visiting Dry Creek Vineyard from our tasting room, winery tours, and beautiful gardens to private wine flights with a picnic lunch or our hands-on Meritage Blending Experience. 

Q: What should we look forward to this summer at Dry Creek Vineyard? Special event/tastings

A. Kim Stare Wallace

Our gardens are beautiful thanks to the unexpected rain from Mother Nature this year! If you haven’t been to the winery lately, bring your friends, family and a picnic and enjoy the wine country life for an afternoon.
We are also hosting our annual Summer of Zin concert featuring The Sun Kings this June, which is open to the public, and some incredible vineyard dinners for our wine club members. We invite everyone to visit our family winery!For live, local news, download the KRONon app. It lets you watch commercial-free the Bay Area’s Local News Station on multiple streaming devices.

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