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PRESS RELEASES: PASO ROBLES WINE COUNTRY ALLIANCE PRESS

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2011-05-26
Media Contact: Meagan Callahan
Phone: 805.239.8463

2011 PASO ROBLES WINE FESTIVAL OFFERS PICTURE PERFECT WEEKEND FOR MORE THAN 4,000
Paso Robles Wine Country “Auction of Action” Raises nearly $140,000

The 29th Annual Wine Festival, May 20 – 22, was the premiere marketing showcase for Paso Robles Wine Country from meeting the winemakers and tasting the diversity of wines to raising funds for the community. The weekend hosted more than 4,000 wine enthusiasts within three distinct events including RESERVE featuring the new Futures Auction, the ever popular Grand Tasting in the Downtown City Park, showcasing Paso’s finest, during a picture perfect day, and the absolute pinnacle, the Saturday Wine Country Auction & Dinner. The Wine Country Auction & Dinner successfully combined Paso hospitality and modern elegance, with a decadent five course meal and a killer “auction of action.” Together, the Futures Auction and Wine Country Auction & Dinner raised nearly $140,000, a 25 percent increase from the 2010 Auction & Dinner.

“The Wine Country Auction & Dinner was the capstone event of the weekend with 275 people who gathered under the tent all with a common interest, great food, quality wines and raising funds for the community,” said Stacie Jacob, executive director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. “Wine Festival is truly Paso’s premiere marketing weekend that now also supports healthcare, education and greater community services within San Luis Obispo County.”

Paso Robles Wine Festival is a weekend experience offering wine enthusiasts many options to treat the senses from wine tasting, winemaker dinners, special winery events and more. Guests kicked off the weekend by toasting and tasting the future during the Friday evening RESERVE event (3:30 – 6 p.m.) featuring library, reserve, power white/Rosé wines and futures. New in 2011 was the addition of the exciting Futures Auction where attendees had the opportunity to put their name on a case of unreleased wine. The crowd surrounded the stage as the charismatic masters of ceremony announced those bids, which were literally, knocked off the auction block. The Futures Auction was extremely popular, raising $14,380.

On Saturday, May 21 more than 120 guests attended the Winemaker Seminar (1 – 2 p.m.) featuring six winemakers, six cheese pairings, two local sommeliers and a cheese monger, giving a distinct, different overview of Paso Robles wine and insights to the perfect cheese pairings. Paso Robles Wine Country then came together during the Saturday Grand Tasting (2 – 6 p.m.) where wineries showcased more than 400 wines complemented by culinary bites. The Grand Tasting featured two Chef Demonstrations from celebrity guest chef, Mark Sullivan of Spruce and San Luis Obispo’s own, Shaun Behrens of Luna Red. Artisan Alley featured a “baker’s dozen” of artisanal treats allowing Festival goers the opportunity to eat like a locovore. The Cheese, Bread & FIJI Water Stations continue to be a hit and offered guests a delicious way to cleanse their palates and enjoy more tastes throughout the day.

The highlight of the weekend began during the Wine Country Auction & Dinner. The tent, situated in the Downtown Park, was transformed into a scene of modern elegance, bringing the 2011 Wine Festival artwork to life. The culinary arts came to a forefront as guests began their evening with hand-passed appetizers followed by a decadent five course meal prepared by a team of “rock star” chefs including, lead Chef, Tom Fundaro of Villa Creek Restaurant, Chef Santos MacDonal of Il Cortile Ristorante, Chef Julie Simon, of Thomas Hill Organics, Chef Chris Kobayashi of Artisan Restaurant and guest Chef Mark Sullivan of Spruce in San Francisco and Park City.

The culmination of the evening began at the start of the “auction of action,” where bidders vied to take a piece of Paso home. Top selling auction lots included Taste the Terroir and Inspiration of Paso Robles, $20,000; Escape to the East Coast – Boston to Maine, $20,000 and Is it Paso Robles or is it Tuscany, $11,000. These top tier lots included everything from large format and magnum bottles, exclusive getaways featuring personalized wine country tours and international stays. The complete auction catalog is available on www.pasowine.com. This celebratory dinner and auction was the party of the year as winemakers and guests competed to come out on top of these exceptionally special auction lots.

The Paso Robles Wine Festival Weekend is framed by individual events at the area wineries throughout the three days with more than 140 area wineries holding winemaker dinners, food pairings, cooking classes and winery and vineyard tours, and more on Sunday, May 22, 2011.

By the numbers:
• Advance Ticket Sales – 3,254 or 80 percent of total tickets sold
• Total Ticket Sales – 4,081
• Wine Country Auction Funds Raised - $138,935
• Volunteers – 200 individuals and three service groups
• Wineries Showcased at the 2011 Festival – 86
• Total Wine Bottles, Water Bottles, Case Boxes and other Materials Recycled –8,686 pounds thanks to Paso Robles Waste and Recycle
• Economic impact of wine tourism to San Luis Obispo County - $113M
• Wine country visitors to San Luis Obispo County annually – 1.2M

The Paso Robles Wine Festival weekend is held annually on the third weekend of May. The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, with the guidance of the Paso Robles Wine Festival Committee, organizes the logistics, markets and implements the annual event. Please visit www.pasowine.com for more information. The 2012 Paso Robles Wine Festival weekend is slated for May 18 - 20, with the marquee events on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19.

The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance represents wineries, growers and businesses in Paso Robles Wine Country. Centrally located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, along California’s Central Coast, Paso Robles Wine Country is California’s fastest growing wine region. It encompasses more than 26,000 vineyard acres and more than 200 wineries. For more information, visit www.pasowine.com

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