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The world of wine comes to SRJC

Ali Benzerara

Wine barrels at SRJC's Shone Farm ready to be filled

Ali Benzerara, Staff Writer

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There is no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than at the beautiful Santa Rosa Junior College, sipping more than 60 wines from 30 of the top Sonoma County wineries. Local wine lovers should not miss the third annual SRJC Wine Classic Feb. 12 hosted 2-5p.m. at Lawrence A. Bertolini Center.

The ticket price of $75 includes an etched Riedel wine glass, free parking, gourmet food and all the wine you can drink. Owners and winemakers pour the wine themselves, making this an intimate event unique to Sonoma County.

“It’s a celebration of SRJC and our local wine industry and the food is prepared by students and alumni,” said Christopher Silva, founder and overseer of the event. “It’s a wonderful community event where we celebrate the very best of Sonoma County, this world-class community college and this phenomenal wine industry that makes some of the best wines of the world right here.”

The event honors two co-chairs who have given their time and money to SRJC. This year’s honorary co-chairs are Evelyn Cheatham, founder of the culinary apprentice program Worth Our Weight (WOW) and Art Ibleto, better known as iconic Sonoma County figure “The Pasta King.”

With limited tickets and the opportunity of meeting top dogs in the local wine industry, it is no surprise that this event sells out every year. According to event coordinator Audrey Le Baudour there are only 400 tickets available to guest, which keeps the ambiance of the event close and personal as guests meet and greet with the wine owners and makers.

The proceeds of the Wine Classic contribute to student scholarships and programs in the wine business, hospitality and culinary arts programs. Silva hopes to raise close to $100,000 for these programs collectively since the wine classic started three years ago.

SRJC students in WINE 131: Wines Industry Event Planning, run the event.

“All of those students will be hands on that day for the setup and breakdown of the event. It’s part of their classroom time, so they get hands-on experience in working a high-profile event,” Le Baudour said.

To compliment the array of world-class wines, fresh oysters will be served by the SRJC Culinary Arts Department, alongside an assortment of decadent cheeses donated by Oliver’s Market. Four SRJC Culinary Arts alumni will provide gourmet appetizers and student-band Levi Smith Group will perform.

Silva, chairman of SRJC Wine Studies Advisory Board and president/CEO of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards is a long-time friend of SRJC. He has taken many classes here, including some in the wine studies program.

Some of the wineries attending include St. Francis Winery, Dry Creek Vineyards, Trecini Winery, Iron Horse Vineyards, Jackson Family Vines, Kunde Family Winery and Shone Farm Winery. Tickets can be purchased at www.srjcwineclassic.com.

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The news site of Santa Rosa Junior College.
The world of wine comes to SRJC