Although it’s the 24th annual SLO Wine Country Association’s Roll out the Barrel’s event, it was my first time pouring wine at the grand tasting Barrels in the Plaza event at the historic Mission Plaza. Our Talley table felt fortunate to get paired with Granada Hotel & Bistro this year where Executive Chef Justin Casey designed a Black Mission Fig Crostini with Goat Cheese served up by General Manager Keilah Smith and Matt Corella that was truly a “grown here, made here” Perfect Partner pairing with our 2012 Estate Pinot Noir.
It was a beautiful sunny evening and the air was filled with sexy sounds of gypsy swing music thanks to the Hot Club of SLO band. We also poured our Talley Vineyards 2012 Estate Chardonnay which went beautifully with the kale salad being served by Mother’s Tavern to the left of us and our 2012 Bishop’s Peak Cabernet Sauvignon which was a perfect match with Chipwrecked’s Potato Chip with Blue Cheese crumbles and Balsamic Reduction. In between pouring for the packed crowd I even managed to sneak in some wine tastes from our friends at Wolff Vineyards - an elegant 2011 Petite Sirah - as well as a delicious 2011 Brut Rose from Laetitia Vineyard and Winery.
My favorite part of the event was the camaraderie and “behind the table trading” of treats and tastes amongst the all the wineries and restaurant staff. As busy as we all were serving up our wares, we managed to develop an instant rapport with all of our table mates. Set to good music, good weather and happy event-goers, it was a beautiful event and I’m glad I got to be a part of it.
This past Sunday marked the 21st Annual Marianne Talley Memorial Fun Run. With about 500 participants, including runners, walkers, volunteers, and sponsors, this is the single biggest annual event we host at the winery. My appreciation goes to Race Director Marian Fiorentino who organizes and orchestrates the whole thing. Along with our Cioppino Dinner, the Fun Run is one of two key fundraising activities for the Marianne Talley Foundation, which grants college scholarships to Arroyo Grande High School students. To date, the Foundation has donated more than $200,000 and supported the college education of 42 students.
The Fun Run has special meaning for me because it’s a way to celebrate my sister’s life that I know she would have enjoyed--she was an avid athlete who competed in sports throughout her life. It’s also a fitness motivator for me because, since the first year, we’ve given special t-shirts to everyone who beats me in the race. This year, 14 people “Beat the Vintner” and earned one of the coveted t-shirts. Overall winners were Audrey McClish and John Nichols in the 5K, Kara Thorne and Kevin Cooper in the 10K and Taylor Jones and Joshua Bell in the Youth Mile. Complete results, photos and video are available on the Marianne Talley Fun Run Page. (link)
As much as I enjoy the friendly competition, it’s really the sense of camaraderie and community I feel when everyone gathers to support a worthy cause, get some exercise and enjoy a beautiful morning that makes me feel good. I also feel inspired by people with physical challenges who come out and compete: people like four year old Trevor Bell who completed the mile run with his prosthetic leg and 10 year old Heaven Vallejo, who is blind, and ran the 5K with two guides assisting her every step of the way.
Next year’s fun run is already scheduled for Sunday, June 7. There’s something for everyone—a 5K, 10K, 1 mile walk and 1 mile youth run. For those of you who came out this year—come on back. If you haven’t participated before, I urge you to join us for a truly special day. Cheers!