The 2004 Fall Festival
The year 2004 was the year the Vintners’ Association was taken back by its membership. All of a sudden, with no boss, the troops came together and put on one of the best and most successful events in years-the Fall 2004 Harvest Festival.
As of late last August, whether or not to even do a fall festival was up in the air! In doing some sleuthing, while I found out certain people should get very special recognition in pulling off this fait accompli, my sources added that really a lot of people stepped up to the plate.
The morning of the festival, 40-some people from wineries were there to help, and make the festival work.
- First and foremost, it was Stephan Bedford and Katie O’Hara who made it happen. Stephan is the owner-winemaker at Bedford Thompson, and Katie works for Babcock Winery & Vineyards.
Stephan is a “man of heart,” I was told, and the Vintners’ Association is so important to him, that he made it a priority to keep the Association moving forward.
Katie, with her vast background of expertise in promotion, created all the forms, the program, and the ads that made the festival happen.
- Valerie Banks from Foley Estates was another unsung hero. She was the site manager for the festival, and I was told that without her, none of the good ideas would have come to pass.“She was exceptional in her ‘can do’ attitude that made all the road blocks disappear,” one of my sources told me.
And the list of unsung heroes would not be complete, I am told, without mentioning Ed and Mary Holt from Rancho Sisquoc and their family, Karen Steinwachs of Fiddlehead Cellars, Becky Barrieau of Foxen, Marta Polly of Dierberg, Diana Longoria, Iris Rideau, and Dick Dore and his staff from Foxen.
- Long-time friend and mentor, Jim Fiolek, I was told, marshaled all the forces in the office, and “pulled together all the pieces since there was no more office staff.”
- The food committee, headed by Ginny Burroughs of Mosby Winery, was paramount to the festival’s success because it was able to regain the support of local restaurants and food purveyors.
- So was Amorena Bremgartner who worked for Zaca Mesa who arranged for a lot of the local publicity, plus publicity in Los Angeles.
Sherrill told me, “It was a privilege and satisfying experience to work with this group of people. Nobody had to do it. They were all volunteers.”
- Also with a place of honor on the list is Susan English of Zaca Mesa. Susan, a board member and treasurer of the Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association who tirelessly sold tickets all day during the festival.
- And the list would not be complete without thanks to Don O’Neill of Zaca Mesa and Sherrill Duggan of Buttonwood Farm.
Taking On "The Sheriff"
Scuttlebutt in the wine industry tells me the Casmalia Hitching Post has become a folk hero among the wineries of the area. Unsung heroes Bill Ostini and Terri Stricklin decided not to settle out of court with the self-styled “sheriff,” Jarek Molski who has been making a living suing central coast businesses for ADA violations.
Instead, the Hitching Post owners said, “we’ll see you in court!”
Last, but not least-and on a very personal note. Kathy Joseph of Fiddlehead Cellars is an unsung hero. Kathy and “The Bash” she made such a success makes me think of a quote by George Carlin, which I keep on my computer: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” It was one of those moments.
Happy New Year!
Times wine columnist, Bob Senn, lives in the Los Alamos Valley and owns the Los Olivos Wine & Spirits Emporium.
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