The Family Winemakers of California held its 22nd annual tasting in the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason in San Francisco recently. More than 250 wineries poured 41 varietals and blends, which seduced the taste buds of more than 3,000 oenophiles. Napa Valley was well represented at the event by about 50 wineries.

On Sept. 15, the V. Sattui Winery held its 28th annual Harvest Ball. A handsome, circular tent, illuminated by a gazillion lights and votive candles, was erected for the occasion. A six-course harvest dinner was prepared by chef Christof Worndle of Ristorante Bad Turmbach, in Alto Aldige, Appiano, Italy. Each course was accompanied by a Sattui wine. The air was a din of smacking lips as the guests enjoyed each course of the feast. The evening’s musical entertainment was supplied by the “Sun Kings” Beatles tribute band, which stirred the nostalgic juices of the guests in the crowd. After-dinner dancing to the music of the “Big City Revue” ended the gala evening.

This past Monday, the Robert Mondavi Winery held it annual blessing of the grapes ceremony, which was followed by a traditional Mexican luncheon and Mondavi wines.

Plans are being finalized for the Culinary Institute of American at Greystone’s 15th annual World of Flavor whose “arc of flavors” extends from the Mediterranean to the Middle East to Asia, is scheduled for Nov. 1-3. The conference agenda lists almost 100 sessions, workshops and lectures and is restricted to professionals in the food industry.

Schramsberg has moved its red wine production equipment (crushers, fermentation tanks, oak aging barrels, etc.) to a new location, the former EPPS property in south St. Helena. Its first load of grapes was crushed at

7:45 a.m. on Tuesday of this week. The facility is restricted to processing. No hospitality facilities are available..

The Silverado Brewery will celebrate its 15th annual Oktoberfest on Oct. 2-7 with menus of authentic German foods (bratwursts, bockwurts, sauerkraut, sauerbraten strudels, etc, ). Two special dinners will be offered: On Oct. 2, a Bavarian Community Beer Hall Feast to benefit the Rianda House in St. Helena. Tickets are $17.50 ($10.50 for kids 10 and under), and the Silverado traditional Brewmaster’s Dinner on Oct. 4 ($55 per person), accompanied by a bevy of beers brewed especially for the occasion. Phone 967-7876 for menus and reservations for all the Oktoberfest events.

Caboose item

On Monday morning while listening to the traffic news on public radio, there was an announcement that the Silverado Trail was closed because of a grape spill. After calls to the Napa County Sheriff’s Office and the CHP, I could not confirm the report. I wonder who was hallucinating and saw grapes all over the highway.

Geore Starke can be reached at or by phone at 942-0733.

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