What: The 24th annual Winter Wine & Food Fest, benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Sacramento and Northeastern California.
When: Jan. 28 from 5 to 10 p.m.
Where: The Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J St.
How much: Individual tickets are $85; VIP tickets with amenities are available; visit tickets.com. Or call Make-A-Wish at (916) 437-0206.
What happens: Tastings are offered by more than 120 restaurants and wineries; entertainment, silent auction and super live auction.
For wine aficionados: The live auction will include the Chairman Emeritus Lot from former wine fest chair Joe Harbison and his wife, Pat Harbison; Dalla Valle Vineyards Magnum Madness; a double magnum from the Miner Family Winery; and Ramey Chardonnay 3 Ways; a 6-liter imperial of Shafer Cabernet; Colgin Cellars 2008 IX Estate; separate auctions of His & Hers dessert wines; four magnums from Southern Napa to Howell Mountain. (Check out the list of all auction items on the Make-A-Wish website.)
Travel and dinner specialties up for bid: Two nights at the Silverado Resort; the Paragary Restaurant Group VIP wine and dinner with Kurt Spataro; tour New York with KFBK’s Ed Crane; a Bruce Springsteen autographed acoustic guitar; cocktails and dinner for eight at the home and in the garage of Jeanne Reaves, with Bernice Hagen, former Dining Diva, and Ian MacBride of Lucca; dinner with wine and limousine service at Hawks in Granite Bay; a Polar Bear expedition to Winnepeg and Churchill; a 12-night Mediterranean wine cruise; a week in Cabo San Lucas. The live-auction list includes 42 items.
Purpose: Proceeds provide funds to help grant wishes to children 2 1/2 to 18 years old residing in the foundation area who have life-threatening medical conditions. The 2011 event enabled the foundation to grant 87 wishes to children in the area that covers 24 counties from Redding to Stockton and Modesto.
Future fundraiser: The Texas Hold ‘em tournament will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 25 at Morton’s, which sponsors the day. Call Tracey Schaal at (916) 437-0206 to enter the competition or attend as a spectator.
Featured volunteers: A pair of community supporters, Ed Crane and Michael LaTondre, share the chair for this year’s Winter Wine & Food Fest. The reasons for participating? It’s especially personal for Crane.
“I guess the simple answer is the back story of our sons,” said Crane, who is an on-air KFBK newsman. “We were living in New York and our two sons, Jimmy and Brian, were diagnosed in 1997 with a terminal affliction. Bone marrow transplants were tried, but Jimmy died. Brian was asymptomatic for a time, but around 2000, the disease returned.
“We were living on Long Island and Make-A-Wish contacted us to find out if Brian had a wish. He did. He wanted to meet Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes. … He had a wonderful trip – he met the girl and talked with her; went to Disneyland and Universal. I developed a soft spot in my heart for Make-A-Wish.”
Crane wants supporters to know: “There is a misconception about Make-A-Wish recipients. Not all of them are terminal. The Wish is for the families, too. You cannot put a price on that.”
LaTondre recalls the story about a soccer player he met.
“He refused to request a wish because some of his ill friends had passed away after the granting of their wishes,” LaTondre said. “As it happened, he went on to college and medical school.”
LaTondre, who has attended the auction for 10 years, has lived in the area since 1985.
“I moved when Intel opened their Folsom Campus. I love the technical challenges at Intel, but I also love the intangibles that Make-A-Wish turns into great memories for the Wish children and their families.”
At this point, LaTondre’s auction solicitations are at an end.
“By auction night, my work is done. I plan to have fun. To paraphrase the Chicago election process, I plan to bid early and bid often. It is also fun to see the new restaurants and wineries.”