Community Stories

News and related articles from our community.

WINE, WOMEN & SHOES

Women attending the Wine Women & Shoes fundraiser at Chalk Hill Winery try on designer shoes in Healdsburg on Saturday, July 26, 2014. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Women attending the Wine Women & Shoes fundraiser at Chalk Hill Winery try on designer shoes in Healdsburg on Saturday, July 26, 2014. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Sensible shoes and traditional, luncheon- with-the-ladies demeanor were about as rare as plaid flamingos Saturday at the party at Chalk Hill winery that freed about 400 women to kick up their heels while contributing richly to a healthier community.

This was Wine, Women & Shoes, a sassy and splashy and playful midday frolic that helps to sustain Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County. Specifically, the dollars raised will benefit the Healdsburg District Hospital, community health and dental clinics, school health programs and a healthful lecture series. Many women arrived in their most bodacious shoes. To start things off, they perused an alluring marketplace.

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They mingled and tasted wines donated by 16 wineries and complemented by gourmet bites by culinary masters from Catelli’s, Mateo’s Cocina Latina, Dry Creek Kitchen, Agave, Spinster Sisters and Bellwether Farms.

And there was shopping at the marketplace’s accessories shops, and posing in the photo booth.

Everyone moved to the tables arranged near a stage for the luncheon, prepared by Catelli’s and young people receiving training in WOW, the Worth Our Weight culinary apprentice program.

The north county region’s versatile advocate on the Board of Supervisors, Mike McGuire, took the stage as auctioneer/ comic. He supercharged the bidding by noting that Pete and Terri Kight of Quivira Vineyards would match every dollar bid, up to $100,000.

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WINE COUNTRY TO THE RESCUE

Cloverdale Fire Engineer Miles Black, left, and retired Geyserville Firefighter Rick Groff barbecue tri-tip for dinner at Wine Country to the Rescue, a fundraiser to benefit the fire departments of Geyserville, Cloverdale, and Healdsburg, and the communities they serve, held at Clos du Bois Winery in Geyserville on July 19, 2014. (Alvin Jornada / For The Press Democrat)

Cloverdale Fire Engineer Miles Black, left, and retired Geyserville Firefighter Rick Groff barbecue tri-tip for dinner at Wine Country to the Rescue, a fundraiser to benefit the fire departments of Geyserville, Cloverdale, and Healdsburg, and the communities they serve, held at Clos du Bois Winery in Geyserville on July 19, 2014. (Alvin Jornada / For The Press Democrat)

It’s not good to see firefighters toil in proximity to high heat. Unless they’re cooking!

Such was the case Saturday evening at Alexander Valley’s Clos du Bois Winery, scene of a special, collaborative benefit dinner-dance called Wine Country to the Rescue.

The hardy, caring souls who operate the Geyserville, Cloverdale and Healdsburg fire companies hosted the gathering to raise money to purchase an essential piece of equipment that the three departments will share. It’s a $75,000 air compressor rig for refilling firefighters’ air packs at the scene of a blaze.

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As guests arrived at Clos du Bois on Saturday afternoon, they drank in the enchanting view, chose among the myriad silentauction treasures on display in a tent and pondered which of about 50 premium local wines they’d like in their glass.

The partnering firefighters prepared and served dinner out in the open air. Then the guests of Wine Country to the Rescue welcomed onto the stage county Supervisor Mike McGuire, who displayed his considerable talents as an auctioneer.

With the bidding finished and the dishes cleared, the half-California, half-Tennessee band Whiskey Dawn struck the first chords of music that drew folks to the dance floor like north county firefighters to a menacing flame.

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BOCCE FOR A CURE

Rich Gravelle throws a bocce ball down the court during Bocce for a Cure, a bocce tournament benefiting the American Diabetes Association, at Julliard Park in Santa Rosa on July 12, 2014. (Alvin Jornada / For The Press Democrat)

Rich Gravelle throws a bocce ball down the court during Bocce for a Cure, a bocce tournament benefiting the American Diabetes Association, at Julliard Park in Santa Rosa on July 12, 2014. (Alvin Jornada / For The Press Democrat)

Who knew that an afternoon of bocce, accompanied by a little something to nosh and sip, could help defeat diabetes?

The neighborly bocce tournament Saturday at the courts in downtown Santa Rosa’s Juilliard Park provided the contestants an ideal opportunity to play while donating to the mission of the American Diabetes Association.

Hosting “Bocce for a Cure” were pals Rich Gravelle and Daniel Goodwin. Both of them cyclists fairly new to the globally beloved ball-rolling game, they have for several years entered a team in the Tour de Cure bicycle ride that benefits the Diabetes Association.

The pair conceived the bocce tournament as a fun way to raise more money to battle the disease that has impacted the lives of a number of their family members and friends. Gravelle lost his mother to diabetes, both his father and stepmom struggle with it, and he knows he’s at risk of developing it.

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Complementing Saturday’s double-elimination tournament were about $5,000 worth of raffle prizes as well as plentiful refreshments.

There was Lagunitas beer, and wines from Peterson Family Winery, Sunce Winery, Vingavé and other Sonoma-Napa wineries. Players fortified themselves with delectables contributed by the Mary’s Pizza Shack on Summerfield Road, Ulia’s Deli and La Rosa Tequileria & Grille.

Everybody won.

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