The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation welcomed 1,450 guests from across the country to the sold-out Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters held on May 18 on the historic Midwest Street back lot at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.
Despite threats of rain, guests raised their glasses simultaneously at the start of the live program to toast a cure for cystic fibrosis.
More than 55 acclaimed chefs paired with 75 California winemakers to present a tasting and hors d’oeuvres.
Napa Valley has been well represented since the event was launched 30 years ago. Napans Barbara and Allen Balik are founders of the event, and this year, Michael Beaulac, winemaker at Pine Ridge was honorary wine chairperson, and Michael Mondavi of Folio Fine Wine Partners in Napa was first honorary chairperson.
In addition, Napa chefs, restaurateurs, and vintners contribute to the night. Napa Chefs Itamar Abramovitch and Nate Smith of Blossom Catering of Blossom Catering Company wowed the crowd with their dishes as did Chef Jason Naaman of Tarla Mediterranean Grill. New Napa Valley wineries joining this year’s event included Artesa, Baldacci, Michael Mondavi Family Estate, Oakville Ranch and Silverado Vineyards.
The 30th annual Winemasters raised more than $1.7 million for the Foundation’s vital research and care centers. In all, the event has raised nearly $34 million dollars since its beginning.
The Winemasters auction included more than 700 live and silent auction items from fantasy trips to collector wines. An “All About Romance in Italy” lot sold for $22,000 and included luxury accommodations for two in Lake Como, Venice, Tuscany and Rome, along with private visits to iconic wineries in Tuscany and Veneto. A two-week wine tasting holiday in Argentina with a side trip to Patagonia sold for $23,000 and “Magical Iceland,” an eight-day gourmet adventure was purchased for $26,000. The bidding for an afternoon of magic and mystery for 50 couples at the Houdini Mansion sold for $25,000, and a seven-night stay for four couples in a four-bedroom ocean villa at the Grand Luxxe Resort in Puerto Vallarta sold for $34,000.
Live auction wine lots included the 2015 Appellation Collection: A Luxury Collection of 17 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignons, which sold for $5,000; a 3.0L of 2012 Peter Michael Les Pavots with a sale price of $7,500 and a case of Bordeaux from 1990 that sold for $15,000. One magnum each of Chateau Quintus and Chateau Haut-Brion Blanc sold for $9,000.
“Thanks to new treatments, people with cystic fibrosis are now living one year longer for every year of research,” said Barbara Balik. “Sponsors, vintners, chefs and guests understand their support is the reason for this lifesaving reprieve.”
The 31st annual Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters event set for May 16, 2020 at Warner Bros. Studios.