Carla Marsh

Hail Bacchus! Committee Celebrates "Best Ever" Boca Bacchanal Winefest & Auction

Heritage Education Program Benefits from Fundraising Efforts

Boca Raton, Fl – (March 30, 2007) Maybe it was the nine outstanding chefs and vintners who created superb Vintner Dinners to kick off the festivities. Perhaps it was the exciting array of auction lots at the Bacchanal & Auction, or the 29 great local restaurants and 140 wines to sip at the Grand Tasting. Some say it might have even been the exciting high-stepping, drum beating, tuba playing, gyrating Pahokee High School Band, which thrilled guests at the Mardi Gras-themed Bacchanal & Auction. But whatever drove the magic, it was the best Boca Bacchanal Winefest & Auction in the five-year history of the event, which is presented by the Boca Raton Historical Society as the organization's major fund-raiser.

Patrons of the gala food and wine event, held March 9-11 in Boca Raton, FL, sipped, savored, strolled and set a torrid pace for bidding at two auctions, making this edition of Boca Bacchanal a rousing success. The committee reported that approximately $ 400,000 was raised through ticket sales, sponsorships and the silent and live auctions to support Heritage Education Programs of the Boca Raton Historical Society.

"We were honored to welcome a great roster of world-class chefs and vintners to Boca Raton. We appreciate their participation, and their efforts in doing so much to enhance appreciation of food and wine, and to make this event so enjoyable for our community. We were equally thrilled with the support we received from our sponsors, volunteers and guests at this year's event," said Wine Chairman Chris Kearney, Vice President of Fine Wine and Education at National Distributing Company. "Their generosity will have a direct, positive effect on the lives of many people in our community, now and in the future."

A "fund-a-need call" at the live auction raised $22,000. The funds will be used make much needed repairs to the historic FEC Railway Depot (County de Hoernle Pavilion) which was severely damaged by Hurricanes Frances, Jean and Wilma. The Boca Raton Historical Society utilizes the Depot as a site for it signature children's program, Ticket to Ride, and for tours of the Boca Express Train Museum.

The weekend began with nine "sold out" Vintner Dinners held at Cielo, a fabulous new restaurant at the Boca Raton Resort & Club and in private estates homes in the Boca Raton area, with guests enjoying the exceptional food and wine. Each venue was a magnificent setting for the talents of the chefs and the outstanding wines poured by the vintners.

These marvelous chefs included Michel Richard (Citronelle, Washington, D.C.); Angela Hartnett (Cielo at the Boca Raton Resort & Club); Robert Clark (C Restaurant, Vancouver, B.C.); Kevin Garcia ('Cesca, NY, NY); Pano Karatassos (Kyma, Atlanta, GA) Zach Bell (Café Boulud, Palm Beach, FL); Joel Huff (Silks at the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco, CA; David Medure (Restaurant Medure, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL) and Jeremy Sewell (Lineage, Brookline, MA). The Chef Advisory Chairman is Jim Dodge of Bon Appetit Management, San Francisco.

The presenting vintners were Kathryn Hall (Hall Winery, Napa Valley, CA); Matthew J. Lane (Penfolds, Australia); Kathy Benziger (Benziger Family Winery, Sonoma, CA); Steve Thomson (King Estates, Eugene, OR; Dawn Dooley (Napa Valley, CA); Michaela Rodeno (St. Supéry Vineyards, Rutherford, CA) Francesco Zonin (Costello d'Albola, Tuscany Italy); Jerome Jeandin (Tattinger, Reims, France and Tony Apostolakos (Masi Vinyards , Veneto, Italy).

On Saturday afternoon, the weekend's centerpiece event, the Bacchanal & Auction was held at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. The Resort's Executive Chef, Andrew Roenbeck, presided over the grand tasting reception and multi-course lunch, created by the Vintner Dinner chefs and vintners. Toni May of WXEL-TV was Master of Ceremonies. DawnMarie Kotsonis was the entertaining and vibrant auctioneer. The fantastic Pahokee High School Marching Band spiced up the afternoon with their exciting march and play style.

On Sunday, top chefs from 29 area restaurants gathered to cook up a rousing Grand Tasting, a "by the bite" luncheon at the Centre for the Arts at Mizner Park. The event featured more than 140 different wines and wine seminars by Jerome Jeandin, Brand Ambassador of Champagne Taittinger from Reims, Fr, and Lyn Farmer, Editor at Large of the Wine News. More than 1,000 food and wine aficionados attended the festivities.

Heading up the Boca Bacchanal Committee were Honorary Chairs Margaret Mary and John Shuff and General Chairmen Ann and Charles Rutherford. Joining them were Cathy Spano and Susan Saxton, Vintner Dinners ; Tricia and Jon Summersfield and Robin and Charles Deyo, The Bacchanal Luncheon & Auction; Haidee Courson and Julia Johnston, The Grand Tasting ; Carla Marsh, Vintner Dinner Chef Selection and Public Relations; Lauri Saunders, Vintner Dinner Chef Liaison; Robin Deyo, Website; Chris Kearney and Roxana Garciga, Wine Committee; Jaime Guttenberg, Joyce DeVita, Jerry Ruderman, Karen Larkin , Richard Kanter, Alison Lane, Rob Sadowsky and many others.

Boca Bacchanal benefits the Boca Raton Historical Society's Heritage Education Programs, which take the past, as well as the unfolding history of Boca Raton, into the community. In 2007, over 3,800 students participated in BRHS education programs; 4,900 residents and visitors enjoyed BRHS history tours, exhibitions, lectures and archival services; 45,000 people visited Boca's historic landmark buildings, Town Hall and the F.E.C Railway Station (Count de Hoernle Pavilion), which are maintained by the Boca Raton Historical society for the community.

Event partners include National Distributing Company, The Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton Magazine and Crown Wine & Spirits, as well as The Wine News, Cendyn, Carla Marsh Public Relations, Legal Sea Foods, MDG Advertising, R.A. Ritter Foundation, WXEL-TV, Champagne Taittinger, Reims; Publix Supermarkets Charities; Palm Beach County Cultural Council and the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council.

The Boca Raton Historical Society is located at 71 North Federal Highway. The sixth annual Boca Bacchanal is scheduled for March 7-9, 2008. For information call 561-395-6766 X 101, or visit the website at

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