• Wine and music lovers will once again come together to kick up their boots at the annual Staglin Family Music Festival for Mental Health this Sept. 11. Shari and Garen Staglin have been raising money for mental health awareness for 16 years, with more than $95 million donated to scientific research and treatment programs. Last year we told you about the touching ad campaign for the non-profit Bring Change 2 Mind organization created by actress Glenn Close which featured the Staglins and their son Brandon, who suffers from schizophrenia. Close will be on hand at this year’s Staglin Music Festival, which in the past has brought Pat Benatar, Gladys Knight, Brian Wilson and the Pointer Sisters to Staglin Family Vineyards in Rutherford. This year’s main attraction is Grammy-winning country music star Dwight Yoakam. In addition to a scientific symposium which is free to the public, ticket holders will be treated to an afternoon wine tasting featuring 70 wineries along with dishes prepared by chef Richard Reddington of Restaurant Redd. Following Yoakam’s afternoon concert, chef Jon Bonnell of Bonnell's Fine Texas Cuisine will prepare dinner at the winery. Tickets for this year’s event range from $750 to $5,000, every cent of which will go to an excellent cause.
• Despite a cool California summer, it was roasting (and baking and poaching) in San Francisco this month as the city played host to SF Chefs 2010, a week-long food-and-wine event that featured seminars, classes and walk-around tastings. Nearly 150 chefs and restaurateurs were on hand, including celebrity TV chef Tyler Florence (Wayfare Tavern), Jennie Lorenzo of Fifth Floor and Jason Berthold of Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning RN74. San Francisco foodies gathered at Union Square to taste through bites such as heirloom tomato gazpacho and scallop and foie gras seviche while sampling wines from nearly 100 local and international producers. And they could enjoy it knowing they were supporting a good cause. The proceeds from the event went to the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Scholarship Foundation, which helps support local students entering the food and hospitality industries. “[The foundation] is giving back to kids who need help in becoming the future leaders of the industry,” said event founder Kevin Westlye. SF Chefs 2010 raised more than $10,000 through a silent auction, ticket sales and donations.
This egg is guaranteed not to crack for 20 years.
• Delia Viader calls the egg “the most perfect shape in physics,” so how do you build a better one? A Sonoma concrete company thinks they’ve done it. This month, Sonoma Cast Stone, located in Petaluma, Calif., delivered the first of its new and improved egg-shaped concrete fermentors to Thomas George Estates in the Russian River Valley. Beginning in 2003, a Burgundian firm’s egg-shaped fermentation vats arrived in the North Coast to find homes at places such as Viader, Quintessa, Harlan, Vineyard 29, Flowers and Williams Selyem. Then in 2008, Sonoma Cast Stone, makers of both residential and industrial concrete surfaces, got together a focus group of North Coast winemakers who were using the Burgundian “eggs” and brainstormed some design innovations: embedding stainless steel tubing in the concrete walls of the egg for temperature control, installing a door at the bottom of the tank for pomace removal and easy cleaning, and legs with casters for easy movement. The interior portion of the egg is made with chlorine-free water, local sand and gravel, and tartaric acid treatments keep the basic pH of the concrete from affecting the wine’s acid content. According to Terry Reap, Sonoma Cast Stone’s director of winery sales, 13 fermentors have been ordered to date, nine before the first egg had even been built. Fermentors can be ordered in a choice of eight different colors and the winery logo can be embedded in the outer concrete surface.
Garen Staglin — Rutherford, CA — August 26, 2010 2:00pm ET
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