The SOMM Journal

April / May 2018

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Page 54 of 108

54 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } APRIL/MAY 2018 AN AIRTANKER FLEW low over the roof of Valette in Healdsburg, California on its way to drop water and retardant on a section of the North Coast wildfire last fall, but Chef/Owner Dustin Valette hardly noticed the deafening sound. As he tirelessly labored over meals for the first responders, Valette caught his breath and thought of his father. There was a decent chance he might have been piloting the plane, but despite his dad's 42 years of experience—including more than 17,000 fire drops—Valette worries . . . but only for a moment. He's got other brave souls to feed. (For more on Valette, see page 46.) Harrowing moments like the ones Valette experienced last October echoed throughout the entire North Coast as the wildfires raged, and the Sonoma County Vintners seek to honor these acts of heroism at their upcoming fourth annual Sonoma County Barrel Auction on April 20, just six months after the fires. The Sonoma County Barrel Auction was established in 2015 to showcase Sonoma County wines among trade account buyers, sommeliers, and wholesalers, offering them true originals for resale to their customers and ultra-premium wine collectors in small lots of five, 10, or 20 cases. As an uncommon prerequisite, the lots for Sonoma County Barrel Auction are blindly evaluated by a panel of masters, including Master Sommeliers and/or Masters of Wine, in an effort to adhere to the highest standards of quality. This year's panel includes: Randall Bertao, MS, Los Altos Golf & Country Club; Sandy Block, MW, Legal Sea Foods; Evan Goldstein, MS, Full Circle Wine Solutions, Inc.; Peter Granoff, MS, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant & Wine Bar and Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant; David Keck, MS, Goodnight Hospitality; Kyungmoon Kim, MS, The Modern; and Madeline Triffon, MS, Plum Markets. SONOMA COUNTY VINTNERS' FOURTH ANNUAL SONOMA COUNTY BARREL AUCTION HONORS WILDFIRE HEROES by Jessie Birschbach Michael Osborn bids on a lot during the 2017 Sonoma County Barrel Auction. PHOTOS COURTESY OF SONOMA COUNTY VINTNERS ––––––– John Curley served as the auctioneer at last year's Sonoma County Barrel Auction. { wine warriors } The Stouthearted of Sonoma County

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