vineyard_blue_green-1The Sonoma County wine world was under one roof on Sunday – or so it seemed. The Who’s Who came to the SRJC Wine Classic to honor Journalist Gayle LeBaron and Chef John Ash. The event raised more than $40,000 for SRJC wine, culinary arts, and hospitality student scholarships.


It’s not surprising that the Lawrence A. Bertolini Student Center was packed with people to celebrate two of Sonoma County’s favorites. LeBaron’s columns, in the Press Democrat for decades, schooled us all in the history of this unique patch of earth with its agrarian roots. She continues to tell us fascinating stories about the people who bring this county to life. As for Ash, he taught us to savor the garden and put it on our plate. Under his tutelage, we learned to revel in our fresh veggies and be unabashed foodies.


LeBaron and Ash drew in a crowd of winery powerbrokers and they included: Rick Tigner, CEO of Jackson Family Wines; Joy Sterling, CEO/Partner of Iron Horse Vineyards; and Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne Winery.


Powerhouse brands from 30 wineries were also in good supply. They included Patz & Hall, Balletto, Collier Falls, Crux and AldenAlli.


Ash, in his remarks, added some levity when he shared these quotes:


“Remember you’re all alone in the kitchen and no one can see you” – Julia Child.


“Too few really understand a great sandwich” – James Beard.


“Never eat more than you can lift” – Miss Piggy.


“Wine is proof God loves us” – Benjamin Franklin.