The Crowd: Evening of wine brings musical funds

A big turnout for the Pacific Coast Wine Festival benefiting the Pacific Symphony netted more than $150,000 for the arts organization. The sold-out wine auction and tasting at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach attracted 300 local residents in their finest cocktail attire, enjoying a multi-course dinner while sampling many of the world's most coveted wines.

The lively affair was produced by honorary Chairs and Pacific Symphony board member Nancy Kelley and her husband Kim.

"I am not only thrilled that the Pacific Coast Wine Festival exceeded its financial goal for the Pacific Symphony, but delighted that it was such an interactive social event," said Nancy Kelley. "It was especially gratifying to see the huge demand for the dinner by chef Pascal Olhats."

Olhats served a dinner that began with an exotic green salad sprinkled with roasted pine nuts, followed by an entrée of filet of beef with roasted shallot risotto and black truffle cabernet sauce. Warm chocolate pudding cake paired with caramel ice cream followed. Wine pairings came courtesy of Ian Blackburn, founder of

The wine auction was enthusiastic and fast-paced, with bidding for many lots reaching aggressive levels. Mike Kerr, co-founder of the festival, was impressed.

"This was such a great evening," Kerr said. "Our guests got to taste 50 great wines and bid on about 407 live and silent auction items."

Symphony board Chairwoman Sally Anderson capped the evening with a toast to the generous donors, inviting the crowd to partake in a bit of port, chocolates and coffee in the Island foyer. Major sponsors included American Airlines, BNY Mellon, Mary and Phil Lyons, Pat and Bill Podlich, Aston Martin Motorcars and Traditional Jewelers.

Spotted in the crowd were Sam and Susan Anderson, Darlene and Art Buck, Marcia and John Cashion, Jo Ellen Chatham, Jerry and Bobbi Dauderman, Sonja and Mark Fee, and symphony executive John Forsyte and his wife, Michele.

Also supporting the symphony were Carolyn and John Garrett, Danni and Dan Good, Cantor Jonathan Grant (of Newport's Temple Bat Yahm), Elizabeth and John Hancock, Ludi and David Henley, Joanne Leatherby and Greg Bates, DeeDee and Don Sodaro, and Coby Sonenshine.

THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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