Going strong for three decades already, the 30th Annual Chocolate and Wine Event in Napa County is on the calendar for March 24.
Hosted at The Meritage Resort & Spa, 875 Bordeaux Way in Napa, this festive, unique fundraiser will run from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and bring together some 30 wineries and just as many chocolatiers, all in the name of a good cause.
“Mostly guests arrive from San Fran to Sacramento to Stockton. When a typical tasting is $40 to $60 per person, one can attend this event and taste from 30 wineries in a three-hour window,” explained event chair Doris Gentry. “Admission is only $60 per person for all 30. Plus you get food, chocolate, live music and mingle with Napa VIPs – it’s a win/win.”
The Chocolate and Wine Event supports Napa County foster and adopted kids and Gentry said she believes that’s one of the reasons it has grown so much over the years.
“We support foster kids – everyone loves that idea,” Gentry pointed out. “Every dime goes right to the kids. We have zero employees and zero building; we are a true non-profit. Guests love that.”
Top wineries in Napa serving in past years have included Ahnfeldt Wines, Beaulieu Vineyard BV, Bouchaine Vineyards, Cakebread Cellars, Castello di Amorosa Winery, Ceja Vineyards, Chateau Montelena Winery, Clark-Claudon Vineyards and Drakes Brewing Company (Beer). Also, Eagle Eye Winery, Gallegos Wines, Hall Wines, Hardball Cellars, Herencia Wines, Hersly Wines, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, J. Moss, ME Wine, Merryvale Vineyards, Monticello Vineyards, Napa Cellars, Peju Province Winery, Prager Winery & Port Works, Rutherford Ranch Winery, Saddleback Cellars, Sequoia Grove Winery, Six Sigma Ranch & Winery, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Steltzner Vineyards, St. Supéry Napa Valley, Tedeschi Family Winery, Trinchero Family Estates, Truchard Vineyards, Y. Rousseau Winery and Zoetic Wines.
Paired with the varietals, attendees will find an appetizer buffet full of “sandwich bites, charcuteries and savories,” Gentry said, with plenty of chocolatiers also on hand to provide the sweetness as part of the event. Oakdale’s own Cowboy Toffee Company, in fact, has been a participant in past years.
“This is the combination of the region’s finest wines, best chocolates, and the desire to support the well-being of children. That is what makes this event so special,” noted Gentry.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the website at www.napachocolateandwine.com.
This event provides funding for the Napa Foster Care Association. The money raised offers foster kids a chance to be like others, Gentry said, by providing for needs and trips that many would consider normal but foster kids might not otherwise get to take, such as seeing the beach, heading to the Santa Cruz boardwalk or riding on a Ferry around San Francisco.
“Your generosity helps these children. They have lost everything. Family, pets and more. Taking these children on an outing with 200 others from Napa heals in ways we cannot possibly describe,” added Gentry.
Live music for the 2019 Wine and Chocolate event will feature JourneyDay with Take Flight A Cappella and there will also be a live radio broadcast during the festivities by Bob St. Laurent of Napa’s 99.3 FM the Vine and 1440 AM KVON.
Gentry has been chairing the event for 10 years and said when it first started some 30 years ago, they typically drew about 100 people. Now, more than 500 are expected to turn out for the day.
“Taste from 30 wineries for one admission price. It’s indoors so weather does not matter, in March it can still be rainy and cold,” Gentry said of what attracts people to come back year after year. “Dress is ‘Napa Casual’ – the crowd is animated and fun. Not a stuffy event, everyone feels welcome and engaged.”
She added that there are about 300 silent auction items up for bid and roughly a half dozen items to be auctioned off live during the event.
“Need a weekend at the Meritage? Want dinner with local celebrities? Bid and win.” Gentry said.
She added that the Napa County Foster Parents – active for 50 years – continue to lead the way in “building awareness, providing education, and inspiring hope to those involved in the effort of preventing child abuse and neglect.”
Napa County Family and Foster Care Association is a Non-Profit, 501(c)3 Corporation.
And what brings Gentry the most joy during this annual gathering?
“Oh my, to see the smiles. To see over 500 turn out and sip and sample. An honor and a blessing for sure,” she said. “Join us. You will be a supporter forever after that. Load up your car with friends and plan to have a blast.” ■
IF YOU GO
What: CHOCOLATE AND WINE FESTIVAL
When: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. March 24
Where: The Meritage Resort and Spa, Napa
Tickets: $60 each, available at bit.ly/chocwinefest