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Nonprofit: Wine In The Bay

30 July 2017 Written by 
Published in August 2017 Articles

For the past 14 years a team of us have been sponsoring a Wine In The Bay event in order to raise funds for the Community Life Center at St. Anne’s Church. We began with 180 attendees and are now pushing 300.

This year the event will be held August 12 at Campos Family Vineyards.

It’s a worthwhile effort because the facility is a true center for a number of projects and events affecting residents throughout East County. St. Anne’s Community Life Center is a unique resource providing a nice venue for weddings, quinceañeras, and celebrations of all kinds including an annual Fall Festival and a Christmas Tea. Our Wine In the Bay donations also support an educational scholar­ship project, the Ecumenical Food Pantry, visits by a mobile blood bank, and a mobile medical van that provides free medical services such as mammograms and pre- and post-natal exams.

We held the first Wine In The Bay event in August 2003. A number of Discovery Bay residents share my philosophy that the world has been good for us and that we should give back from the gifts we have received. I had just moved to Discovery Bay and discovered that St. Anne’s Community Life Center needed financial help beyond the contributions gathered from the See’s Candy and coloring book sales that had been going on, so one afternoon Dawn Fischer, Linda Thomas, and I sat on our deck drinking wine, eating hors d’oeuvres, and planning a major fundraising project. We modeled the effort after an annual Some Enchanted Evening fundraising project we had conducted at the San Ramon Valley Rotary where I had been a member, by centering on artisans, vendors, wine, and food.

We knew many Discovery Bay residents would be attracted to anything with wine, so we called it Wine In The Bay and invited local artisans and wineries to display their wares. We also increased the appeal by holding the event in a local home.

The event was too big a project for the three of us, so we enlisted the help of the members of St. Anne’s Women’s Fellowship. It was a new idea and took a little while for them to get their mind wrapped around it, but a committee began to form and sub-committees were set up to handle the logistics including coordinating with local wineries and artisans, plus selecting the venue and food preparation. A number of artisans were on hand displaying their wares, plus five local wineries: Hannah Nicole, Fenestra, Cline Cellars, Viano, and Bloomfield.

Local women made tasty hors d’oeuvres. There was live music plus silent and live auctions. It was a great success and set the framework for the events that have followed since.

We always have 50 to 60 silent auction items ranging from a basket of items for the family dog to a trip to Hawaii. The most popular live auction is a dinner for eight that is prepared by and served by Fr. Ron Schmit. He is a gourmet cook and prepares the meal with ingredients grown in his own garden and chickens raised in his own coop. The meal goes for hundreds of dollars. Each year one of our members, a gifted seamstress, hand crochets a baby layette set including sweater, hat, booties, and blanket. We offer various raffles and games at the event to raise more money such as the popular Lottery Hat in which guests vie to get a hat filled with $100 worth of lottery tickets. We sometimes sell keys, one of which fits the lock to a cooler holding two cases of wine. The Cork Draw is another fun game in which guests pay $20 to reach into a box and get a cork with a number corresponding to a bottle of wine.

Depending on their luck, the bottle might not be worth $20 or it might be worth much more.

Wine In The Bay has been wonderfully successful in large part because of the dedicated efforts of an amazing group of women. However, the popularity of the event is also due to the fact that we’ve discovered a way to provide a memorable experience for people who want to do something to make the world a better place while having a wonderful time. Who wouldn’t want that? We’ve hosted Wine In The Bay at most Discovery Bay homes large enough to accommodate us and have held it three times at our house. This year the event will be from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. August 12 at Campos Family Vineyards.

The cost is only $50 a ticket.

It’s a great value! Mark your calendar now. Call me for more information. 

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