Sonoma Wine Community Helps Kids Read to Succeed

(Sonoma County, CALIF.) —The vintners and winegrowers of Sonoma County announced today a multi-year commitment to invest in improving childhood literacy through “Fund the Future” presented by Kaiser Permanente at the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction. Proceeds raised through the “Fund the Future” auction lot will support key reading programs that address the fact that more than half of Sonoma County third-graders currently read below grade level.  The Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction takes place during Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, the region’s premier wine and epicurean event that supports key Sonoma County non-profits each Labor Day Weekend, presented by Visa Signature®.

Beginning in 2013, the “Fund the Future” will support three successful Sonoma County organizations focused upon childhood literacy and preparing kids to read. The “Fund the Future” beneficiaries are: Schools of Hope (United Way of the Wine Country), Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, and Pasitos Playgroups by Community Action Partnership. In Sonoma County, 54% of third-grade students read below proficiency levels. Students who do not reach reading proficiency by the third grade are less likely to graduate from high school, and have an increased chance of future poverty, health problems, and other social issues.

“It’s a known fact that if kids can’t read, they can’t succeed,” said Paul Hoffman, President of the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Foundation. “The vintners and winegrowers of Sonoma County are committed to helping kids read, because reading is the key to future success for each child.”

Research shows that third-grade reading proficiency is a powerful predictor of academic achievement. The vintners and winegrowers are making a multi-year commitment to supporting this issue through “Fund the Future” to help Sonoma County increase the third grade literacy rate to 90% by 2018. “There is no issue more central to the long-term wellbeing of our communities, and the long term success of an individual than that of early childhood education.” said Dan Goldfield, President of the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation. “If we fortunate vintners can help impart that gift to any kid who otherwise wouldn't enjoy it, it should be our honor and pleasure.”

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend has received national acclaim, and is now Sonoma County’s top charitable event, uniting the wine industry and raising almost $2 million for the Sonoma County community through a combination of charitable giving, tourism programs, and supporting local businesses and jobs.

The Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean, which will take place on Sunday, September 1, is the heart of Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. World-class wine and lifestyle lots, including the “Fund the Future” lot, high-energy bidding and glorious décor are event hallmarks. Additionally, every table is hosted by a winemaker or vintner, and they sell out fast. Tickets for seats at specific winery tables are on sale now at

Produced in partnership by the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance and the Sonoma County Vintners, the 2013 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend event features Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch®, Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean, Sonoma Starlight at Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and an assortment of intimate and exclusive winery lunch and dinner parties at multiple locations throughout Sonoma County.  Sonoma Wine Country Weekend has become the region’s largest and most fun charity event, celebrating the vintner, grower, and food communities while raising needed funds to improve children’s lives and literacy for a better future.

2013 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Schedule At-A-Glance

Friday, August 30

               12:30 p.m. – Winemaker Lunch Series at Wineries throughout Sonoma County

               6:30 p.m. – Sonoma Starlight at Francis Ford Coppola Winery

               6:00 p.m. – Winemaker Dinner Parties

Saturday, August 31

               11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch®

               6:00 p.m. – Winemaker Dinner Parties at Wineries throughout Sonoma County

Sunday, September 1

               12:30 p.m. – Winery Barbecues at Wineries throughout Sonoma County

               12:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean


All Tickets On Sale Now

Sonoma Starlight at Francis Ford Coppola Winery: $95/person or $175/person Patron

Winery Barbecues: $85/person

Winemaker Lunches: $85/person; Winemaker Dinner Parties: $150/person

Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch®: $165/person (General), $195/person (Grand Reserve)

Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction: $500/person

* Special Visa Signature account holder pricing and benefits available at

For more information visit, call (855) 939-7666, like it on Facebook at and follow on Twitter at

About 2013 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Sponsors and Beneficiaries

A partnership between Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Foundation and Sonoma County Vintners, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is California’s premier wine, food and social event, taking place on Labor Day weekend each year. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend’s wine community supports the Sonoma County economy, regional wine marketing efforts, and invests in the future of the region by supporting worthy charities that improve quality of life at the present and for generations to come. The events comprising Sonoma Wine Country Weekend have raised over $11 million in support to local charities that support youth and children to ensure their success, preserve the environment for future generations, and improve the health and welfare of local communities.  The 2013 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is presented by Visa Signature®. For a complete list of beneficiaries and sponsors, please visit

About 2013 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Presenting Sponsor Visa Signature

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is presented by Visa Signature. Visa Signature, Visa’s premium credit offering, provides account holders with benefits and perks that offer special access and provide everyday value to enhance account holder experiences.  In addition to points, miles, cash back or other premium rewards offered by Visa Signature partners, account holders enjoy perks such as 24/7 complimentary concierge services, the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection and exclusive offers for fine wine and food, travel, and sports and entertainment events. For more information on Visa Signature visit                                                      

About MacMurray Ranch

Nestled in the heart of the Russian River Valley, the historic MacMurray Ranch is home to award-winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. MacMurray Ranch Winemaker Chris Munsell crafts a collection of elegant, expressive wines from cool-climate vineyards in California and Oregon, reflecting a passion for the special places that create extraordinary grapes. Kate MacMurray, daughter of Hollywood legend Fred MacMurray, remains deeply connected to MacMurray Ranch, carrying on the legacy of this iconic Sonoma landmark. Learn more at     

About Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Francis puts it best, saying the winery is, “A wine wonderland, a park of pleasure where people of all ages can enjoy all the best things in life – food, wine, music, dancing, games, swimming and performances of all types. A place to celebrate the love of life.” Francis Ford Coppola Winery is located at 300 Via Archimedes in Geyserville, California, accessed from US HWY 101 and the INDEPENDENCE LANE exit. Among the many unique attractions at the property, Francis Ford Coppola Winery features wine tasting, two restaurants, a swimming pool, a movie gallery, a performing arts Pavilion and a park area with game tables and bocce courts. Francis Ford Coppola Winery opens at 11 a.m. daily. For more information, call (707) 857-1400, toll free (877) 590-3329 or visit  

About Chateau St. Jean

Founded in 1973 in the Sonoma Valley, Chateau St. Jean is the quintessential Sonoma winery.  Chateau St. Jean produces an extensive portfolio of Sonoma County wines as well as vineyard designated wines, limited production Reserve wines, and the flagship Cinq Cépages Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren, who was named “Winemaker of the Year” for 2008 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, has been with Chateau St. Jean for over 30 years. Chateau St. Jean is the first Sonoma winery to be awarded the prestigious “Wine of the Year” award from Wine Spectator Magazine for its 1996 Cinq Cépages, a Bordeaux style blend of “five varieties” and has long been recognized as a leader in vineyard designated wines. For more visit   

About Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance and Foundation and Sonoma County Vintners

The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance (SVVGA) is a non-profit trade organization serving over 500 members who share a mission to promote awareness of Sonoma Valley’s grapes, wine, and history as the birthplace of the California wine industry. The Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Foundation (SVVGF) is a non-profit 501c.3 organization that has raised over $8,000,000 for local Sonoma Valley charities. For more information on the SVVGA and SVVGF, please visit

Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to raising awareness of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier wine regions, noted for its heritage of artisan winemaking, distinct growing regions, and extraordinary quality. Founded in 1944, SCV represents more than 200 wineries and affiliated businesses throughout the county. Learn more about SCV at

Journalists: High-resolution artwork is immediately available. For more information, to speak with an event representative or to inquire about press credentials for the 2013 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend please email or call Lisa Adams Walter at or (707) 255-0300.

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