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I attended a great event last weekend at the St. Regis San Francisco as a guest of hotel General Manager Toni Knorr and longtime friend and Director of Sales and Marketing Lilian Wagner.

It was the 22nd annual Cabernet for Connoisseurs benefiting a worthy cause.

The Family House is defined as “a home away from home for families of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, providing physical comfort and emotional support, free from financial concerns.”

While this was the first time I have attended, it was evident that Napa has been a strong supporter of Cabernet for Connoisseurs for many years.

Did I mention the amazing wines being poured?

They included Blackbird, Hamel Family, Melka, Ovid, Pride Mountain, Progeny, Pulido-Walker, Quintessa, Realm Cellars, Robert Foley, Seven Stones, Skipstone and Spottswoode – and those were just the many I had a chance to “taste.”

I almost forgot….a very special shout-out to Fred and Sally Schweiger (Schweiger Vineyards) who sat at our table pouring their delicious wines and providing personal historical background on the event and the Family House.

My favorite part of the entire evening was meeting the Tibetan refugee family from India whose nearly three-year-old daughter had been diagnosed with a brain tumor at the tender age of 10 months.

In the middle of the program, the family attempted to tell their story and give thanks to Family House board members/staff, and St. Helena residents Dick and Ann Grace (Grace Family Vineyards) before becoming totally overcome with emotion.

The Graces made it possible for them to travel half-way around the world to seek treatment and reside at Family House for nearly a year at no cost.

It was a very impactful and emotional moment that will be etched in the minds of all in attendance for a very long time.

I’m always amazed at the impact the Napa Valley Vintners and wine industry have on our local, and very fortunate, nonprofit community. It was great to see them in the starring role on my night out in the Big City.

Cabernet For Connoisseurs, Part II:

Highest bid of the night at the live auction went for $21,000; on a package presented by our very own Napa Valley Wine Train. It was nice to see owners Scott Goldie, Greg Brun and Chris Yelich, as well as CEO/CFO Tony Giaccio taking such great pride in the accomplishment.

The package included:

(1) a Champagne reception in the wine train Private Reserve Tasting Room;

(2) private use of the newly refurbished Quattro Vino dining car; including a four-course food-and wine-pairing for 16 guests.

Green Day bass guitar player Mike Dirnt – in attendance at the wine train table – agreed to throw in an autographed guitar and VIP tickets to an upcoming Oracle Arena concert to boost bidding.

Dirnt is also in the wine business, and his Revolver label will be served as part of the pairing.

(3) A stop at Charles Krug.

(4) up to 16 hotel rooms.

Great job, guys!

Thank you for your continued support of the Napa Chamber of Commerce. To engage, connect and collaborate with us, or to simply join or renew, go to

Travis Stanley is the president and CEO of the Napa Chamber of Commerce. Call 226-7455 or visit