Every now and then, the planets align and the end result is perfection. Such was the case for the Raise Foundation’s Harvesting Hope dinner held at the Newport Beach Vineyards and Winery (yes, grapes can grow in the OC).
The winery, owned by Richard Moriarty, is tucked away on a quiet hill off of Birch Street near Bristol. For first-time visitors, this beautiful and unique spot is easy to miss, but impossible to forget… the perfect setting for such a worthy cause.
The evening kicked off with a silent auction, wine tasting and appetizers, all while listening to the soothing sounds of a local harpist.
The Raise Foundation’s singular goal is to stop child abuse before it starts by stepping up and stepping in where needed. Executive Director Eldon Baber says ‘We want to raise healthy families by building up their resources.’ Baber says 60-70% of abuse cases deal with malnutrition or maltreatment often connected to a family’s ability to plan or think ahead.’
‘Usually families get into positions where they are over-stressed, which can lead to abuse due to an overreaction to those stressors.’ Baber adds, ‘It isn’t that people want to be bad parents. They often just don’t know where to turn for help.’
When the Raise Foundation realized families couldn’t get to its location, they came up with R.I.M., Resources In Motion. It’s a mobile site-based resource center that targets high-need communities. Raise now travels to those locations to provide parenting classes, material resources like diapers and food, as well as critical connections to dental or medical services.
Thanks to generous donations and dedicated volunteers, Raise recently turned $500 into 11,000 pounds of food which they promptly delivered to needy families. Baber says, ‘We take nickels and turn them into dollars.’ It’s a brilliant and winning strategy.
This year’s Raise Foundation recipient of the ‘Champion for Kids’ award was Bobby Barzi of Fodada Apparel (‘fodada’ stands for a father who lives his life around his kids). He was honored for his dedication and generosity to the foundation, and his commitment to bringing funds and awareness to worthwhile non-profit organizations such as Raise.
As for the worthy wines at Newport Vineyards and Winery, there are several. Some of the featured wines of the night:
- 2010 OC Estate Unobtainium: This Meritage uses all five of the Bordeaux grapes, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot being dominant. It has an array of rich flavors including rose petals, pepper, red-black fruit, cranberry, and pomegranate, with a finish of cinnamon. A true delight!
- 2008 Back Bay Cuvee: This Napa Valley Meritage, aged 18 months in American Oak, is wonderfully structured showing a deep ruby color with layers of dark fruit. There are hints of pomegranate, vanilla bean and oak at mid palate, with a long and smooth finish. Quite memorable.
- 2009 OC Red: A juicy and expansive Napa Valley Meritage offering sweet dark berry flavors lifted by a slight acidity. It displays rich fruit aromas and smoaky oak tones. A highly fragrant bouquet also evokes vanilla and tobacco, with a slight peppery end. Big bold beautiful!
Newport Beach Vineyards and Winery Executive Director Justin Myers, ‘When Richard bought the property, he had hopes and dreams of making 100% estate produced wine, and everyone just thought he was crazy.’ Myers says, ‘Since 2010, we’ve been 100% estate producing, and we are the only estate producing vineyard in Orange County.’ Dreams do come true!
As for the night’s other highlights, the made-to-order risotto was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. As was the chocolate and berry bread pudding with a creme fraiche topping. Yummy!
Later in the evening, a talented solo singer-guitarist entertained the crowd of about 100. His melodic voice could be heard near the peaceful upper deck koi ponds, and in the cozy and romantically lit wine cave. On this night, the cave not only housed barrels of aging wine, but also aromatic coffee, tea and dessert service.
On the upper deck of the estate, hand cigar rollers pleased a stogie-lovin crowd, courtesy of TheCigarGuys.net Another treat for the senses.
Planning committee chair Nicole Avila and her team of dedicated volunteers organized this perfect evening, including the auction items. From the elopement package to a signed Clay Mathews jersey, they had it all. Avila says, ‘We go into the community and ask people if they can donate. Being a single mom myself, and knowing this is such a worthwhile cause makes it easier to get a ‘yes’.’
And YES, from start to finish, this evening really was a success!