|Members, guests, and supporters begin arriving at Brassfield Estate Winery in the High Valley AVA for an evening of celebration and appreciation on Thursday, February 21, 2013, near Clearlake Oaks, Calif. Photo by Casey Carney.|
LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Members, partners, guests and supporters of the Lake County Winery Association were treated to an evening of gratitude and celebration at the elegant Brassfield Estate Winery in the High Valley AVA of Lake County on Thursday, Feb. 21.
Permeated by a sense of excitement, the evening began in the tasting room with the newly-elected board members who thanked and greeted the one hundred-plus members, partners, and supporters of the Lake County Winery Association (LCWA) as they arrived for the event.
“This is the time for Lake County. Right now,” said newly-elected board member and board secretary Jonathan Walters, manager and winemaker for Glamazon Wines/Robinson Lake Vineyards, who also serves on the board for the Lake County Winegrape Commission.
Event-goers were greeted with a glass of Serenity – Brassfields's award-winning white blend – and treated to sumptuous appetizers artfully prepared by Bellissimo! Wine County Catering, a LCWA associate member, whose owner Barbara Flynn also serves as the chair of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce Economic Development committee.
Lining the reception room adjoining the wine tasting bar were displays and give-aways from the many LCWA associate members and supporters including Featherbed Railroad Co. B&B, Middletown Florist, NovaVine, M.A. Silva Corks and 2 Women Traders.
Explaining what membership in the LCWA can mean for members, LCWA board member Dustin Fults, consumer direct and hospitality manager at Langtry Estate & Vineyards, said the purpose of LCWA was to get brand awareness out to the public on Lake County as a destination, it's businesses, and wines.
“With the importance of wines to this region from both agricultural and tourism standpoints, we're glad to finally be a part of this organization and to have the opportunity to spend time with such a respected group of professionals,” said Tony Barthel, LCWA associate member and owner of the award-winning Featherbed Railroad Company B&B in Nice, which also holds a monthly artist reception featuring local wines and paired appetizers on the last Sunday of each month that is open to the public.
Guests then adjourned upstairs for more hearty appetizers with wines generously provided by LCWA winery members, and Simon Whetzel, general manager at Brassfield Estate Winery, welcomed the honored guests to the third-floor event room and presented the history of Brassfield Estate Winery and the LCWA.
Whetzel noted that in 2013 there were close to 100 LCWA members – with over 30 wineries – demonstrating not only the importance of membership in LCWA, but the growing wine and hospitality business in Lake County when as recently as 2007, there were only 17 LCWA members.
“Our sales here at Brassfield have grown 20 percent each and every year,” Whetzel said, reminding the assembled guests that their tasting room had only opened to the public in May 2011, less than three years ago, and he foresees current wine sales throughout the LCWA membership will continue to grow.
LCWA board chair and owner of Rosa d'Oro Vineyards, Nick Buttitta, introduced the incoming LCWA board members and then invited associate LCWA members in attendance to speak about upcoming events at LCWS.
|Staff of Bellissimo! Wine Country Catering prepare to pour LCWA member wines for guests at Brassfield Estate Winery near Clearlake Oaks, Calif., on Thursday, February 21, 2013. Photo by Casey Carney.|
New LCWA board member Megan Hoberg, tasting room manager at Wildhurst Vineyards, presented information from a recent hospitality training seminar and will be making more in-depth information available to all LCWA members.
Serving as the only tasting room in Lake County for many of the smaller wineries and as an introductory “taste of” for wineries with established tasting rooms, Susan Feiler, owner of the Lake County Wine Studio (LCWS) in Upper Lake and LCWA associate member, was invited by Buttitta to give an overview of events at the LCWS.
In addition to the monthly Local Cuisine Scene, which features wines offered for tasting at LCWS expertly paired with a small plate three-course meal utilizing locally grown ingredients, LCWS also hosts a monthly artists reception featuring one of the wineries, paired appetizers, and the winemaker or winery owner.
Guests can now enjoy a progressive and more in-depth wine experience as LCWS has partnered with the Tallman Hotel. After enjoying appetizers and tastes of the featured wines, guests then join the winemaker across the street at the Tallman Hotel for a three-course meal, with each course expertly paired with the featured wines.
“We all see the great potential here,” said Jacquelyn St. Martin, treasurer of the LCWA board and direct-to-consumer sales and hospitality manager at Six Sigma Ranch & Winery. “Lake County is like Napa was 30 years ago. We have outstanding natural beauty here combined with a commitment to sustainable agricultural practices,” a sure recipe for continued success.
Membership in the Lake County Winery Association is open to all – wineries, tasting rooms, restaurants, hotels, motels, bed & breakfast inns, resorts, art galleries, gift shops, olive oil producers, individuals, associations, and more – with many membership levels.
For more information on becoming a member of the the LCWA or other LCWA-sponsored events such as the annual Lake County Wine Adventure visit www.lakecountywineries.org .