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Four Sonoma County Icons to Be Honored at 2016 Sonoma County Barrel Auction


Additional AVA and Winery Events Outlined

Sonoma County VintnersSanta Rosa, CA (March 22, 2016) — Today, the Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) announced the names of four “Icons” who will be honored at the 2016 Sonoma County Barrel Auction for their contributions to Sonoma County wines.  The Icons will be recognized at an invitation-only VIP reception on April 28th and at the live trade barrel auction on April 29th at Vintners Inn. “We are delighted to be able to recognize four individuals who have truly helped shape the heritage and history of Sonoma County winemaking and we are honored to celebrate their contributions to our wine community,” said Interim Executive Director Jean Arnold Sessions.  The 2016 Sonoma County Barrel Auction Icons include:

  • Helen Long Bacigalupi, founder of Bacigalupi Vineyards – At 90 years of age, Helen Bacigalupi is celebrating the 60th anniversary and three generations of her family’s legendary Russian River Valley vineyard. Among her many accomplishments, she provided nearly half the Chardonnay in the Chateau Montelena blend that won the famed “Judgment of Paris”, and her 1982 Bacigalupi Vineyard Grapemaker Series Chardonnay was served at the White House.
  • Tom Klein, proprietor of Rodney Strong Vineyards – A fourth generation California farmer, Tom Klein earned a business degree from Stanford and spent the first part of his career as a management consultant at the San Francisco office of the prestigious global management firm McKinsey & Company. In 1989, Tom and his family purchased Rodney Strong Vineyards and began a pursuit of excellence that would put their wines on the world stage and make the winery a leader in the movement towards sustainability.
  • David Americo Rafanelli, third generation proprietor of A. Rafanelli Winery – Born and raised in Healdsburg’s wine country, David Rafanelli is the third generation at A. Rafanelli Winery. A farmer at heart with years of experience in the Dry Creek Valley, his knowledge of the soils and micro-climates have guided his decisions to successfully plant vineyards which produce great quality wine grapes.  He was an integral part of the Dry Creek Valley becoming its own appellation in 1983, and bringing Zinfandel to a world class status.
  • Tom Rochioli, owner of Rochioli Vineyards –Tom’s father, Joe Rochioli Jr. made history in Russian River Valley in 1968 when he began planting Pinot Noir on the family’s property called Fenton Acres.  Following in these trailblazing footsteps, it was Tom Rochioli who was convinced that after years as successful winegrowers providing grapes to many of Sonoma County’s prestigious wineries, that they should make their own wine under the Rochioli Label. In 1987, his first estate wine topped Wine Spectator’s list of Pinot Noir and was named ‘The Best Pinot Noir in America.’ Two years later during a visit to one of Burgundy’s most famous estates, his philosophy was shaped after sampling some of the world’s most collectable wines. Tom decided to keep his different individual estate lots separate. He was one of the first to establish the single vineyard concept in California.

Licensed wine sellers, including retailers, restaurateurs and wholesalers, may get further information and request a ticket to the invitation-only 2016 Sonoma County Barrel Auction by April 1st online at SonomaWine.com/barrelauction or by contacting Carol Galletta at (415) 683-0696 or sommelier@fullcirclewinesolutions.com.  Space is limited.

Other events scheduled around the Sonoma County Barrel Auction include:

Thursday April 28, 2016

Sonoma Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley Barrel Auction Preview Event

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Comstock Winery
More than 30 vintners will present their “never before, never again” lots crafted from the most acclaimed vineyards in Sonoma County, plus enjoy current vintages and food pairings in a casual environment. The program will also feature a tasting seminar designed to provide a deep dive into the iconic terroirs of Sonoma County. To RSVP, register here.

Russian River Valley Winegrowers, Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance, West Sonoma Coast Vintners Barrel Auction Preview Event

1:30 – 4:30 p.m. at Pellegrini Wine Company
This Barrel Auction Preview event will highlight the wines being presented at the Sonoma County Barrel Auction and guests will have the opportunity to taste through nearly 40 auction lots, plus additional finished wines and bites from local food artisans. In addition, attendees are invited to explore Western Sonoma County Pinot Noir terroirs through a special educational event including Russian River Valley neighborhoods, West Sonoma Coast and the Petaluma Gap. To RSVP, register here.

Saturday April 30, 2016

Return to Paris: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Judgment of Paris

A Sonoma Wine Country Perspective

11 a.m. at Bacigalupi Vineyards
Cost: $115 per person

As a source of 14 tons of Chardonnay fruit in the winning 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, the Bacigalupi family commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the Judgment of Paris. Guests will have a rare opportunity to relive this historic tasting as current vintage French Burgundies poured at the original tasting and California wines will go head to head in a blind tasting. A forum of guest speakers will discuss the influence Sonoma County farming had on the winning Chardonnay and a very special BBQ lunch will be served with plenty of Bacigalupi wines following the tasting. Seating is limited! For more information contact 707-473-0115.

Russian River Valley Paulée

5 p.m. at Arista Winery
Cost: $250/ticket. Successful bidders of one or more Russian River Valley auction lots will receive reimbursement from Russian River Valley Winegrowers (RRVW) for up to two tickets per account. Limited Seating!

Hosted by the Russian River Valley Winegrowers and Arista Winery, this is the ultimate winemaker dinner offering guests an unmatched tasting experience in both wine and food. More than fifteen Russian River Valley winemakers or principals will be in attendance and guests will dine on an exquisite meal prepared by local renowned chefs Tim Kaulfers of Arista Winery, Duskie Estes of Zazu Kitchen and Farm, Dustin Valette of Valette Healdsburg and Cheyenne Simpkins of Wine Country Feasts. In the spirit of the Paulée tradition, the Russian River Valley Paulée brings winemakers and collectors together to enjoy an elegant multi-course meal paired with rare and favorite wines from winemakers’ and guests’ personal cellars. Tickets can be purchased here.

For timely updates and more information on the 2016 Sonoma County Barrel Auction, like Sonoma County Vintners on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SonomaCountyVintners, follow on Twitter at @SonomaVintners, on Instagram at @SonomaCountyVintners or search using the hashtag #SoCoBA.

About Sonoma County Vintners
Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to raising awareness and building understanding 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 250 wineries and affiliates of all sizes throughout the county. Learn more about SCV at www.SonomaWine.com.



  1. Well deserved honor for these individuals who have indeed help shape our Industry in general with a focus on Sonoma County in particular.


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