In all likelihood, the wine would have sufficed. With a plentiful array of bottles that included representation from Argentina, Spain, France and up and down the California coast, Saturday’s SCV Wine Fest had a little bit of everything and more.
Like refined tequila, unfiltered sake, filtered sake, single malt scotch, dark brews and glowing limoncello.
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“The vendors were really excited because of the good turnout and the guests were really happy to see some new exhibitors you normally wouldn’t see at a Santa Clarita event,” said event director Gary Choppe’.
On Saturday, between 600 and 800 guests buzzed through Embassy Suites conference rooms in Valencia and a large, airy tent affixed to the rear of the building. Outside, quenched, yet hungry attendees noshed at gourmet food trucks.
“Certainly this one was nice to have at a hotel, which is great to have those kinds of amenities there,” Choppe’ said.
In 2009, Choppe’ served in the same capacity for the All Corked Up wine festival at College of the Canyons.
Using that experience, he knew to provide a variety of libations and incorporate teaching with tasting.
Meeting Yoshi Murakami of Boutique Sake not only meant tasting her smooth Japanese elixirs, but understanding the difference between filtered and unfiltered sake.
“We’re just a small company,” she said. “We want to go farther outside of Los Angles where people don’t know who we are.”
Other exhibitors, such as Ryan Baker of Witch Creek Winery in Carlsbad, used SCV Wine Fest as a way to gauge consumer reaction on unreleased products. An experienced vintner who’s promoted his products in the Russian River area, Baker seemed more than pleased to empty the remains of a new wine as the event wound down.
“One thing I miss about the Russian River – I miss meeting and talking with people,” he said. “That’s why this event was done really well.”
Proceeds from Saturday’s festival will benefit Family Promise of Santa Clarita, a relatively new nonprofit that aids homeless families.
“It was really a success, especially for our inaugural year,” said Choppe’. “I think it really exceeded our expectations.”
The next SCV Wine Fest is already scheduled for February 11, 2012.