Home Industry News Releases Dream Big Darling Dinner & Auction Raises More Than $120k

Dream Big Darling Dinner & Auction Raises More Than $120k


Event Proceeds to Fund Nonprofit Mentorship Program for Women in Wine & Spirits Industry

Paso Robles, CA—The second annual Dream Big Dinner, Auction & Concert lived up to its name, raising more than $120,000 for Dream Big Darling—a Paso Robles-based nonprofit whose mission is to foster the success of women in the wine and spirits industry through mentorship, education, life enhancement and professional retreats.

“The entire evening was blessed with a spirit of generosity,” said Amanda Wittstrom-Higgins, founder of Dream Big Darling. “People see that we are making a difference, and they want to help us pay it forward. We could not be more grateful.”

Held at Santa Margarita Ranch in the Paso Robles wine country on October 25, the event was attended by 175 guests and was punctuated with a lively auction featuring a remarkable roster of auction items, including two Kawasaki Mule Pro-FXT Ranch Edition offroad vehicles; an Alexander Clancy Italian leather handbag; a Lady Gaga concert package experience in Las Vegas; and a hosted deer hunt at Santa Margarita Ranch. The generosity was amplified when local vintner Jerry Lohr donated $8,000 toward Dream Big Darling scholarships to the upcoming Wine Speak Paso Robles trade event.

Photo Credit: Jill Hewston

The event featured numerous wine luminaries, including Meridith May of The Tasting Panel Magazine and SOMM Journal; Jordan Fiorentini of Epoch; Nicole Pope of Stolo; Adrienne Ferrara of Clesi; Cynthia Lohr of J. Lohr; and Clarissa Nagy of Riverbench. The event was emceed by Cara Crye, CEO of Farm Supply Co. and Gina Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce.

Keynote speakers included Wittstrom-Higgins; musician Jade Jackson; and recent Dream Big Darling Leadership retreat attendees Justin Trabue, Nancy Gonzalez and Kate Edgecombe.

Proceeds from the auction will fund Dream Big Darling’s 2020 professional events and second annual Dream Big Darling Leadership Retreat next fall.

Photo Credit: Jill Hewston

The inaugural leadership retreat in September was a sign of things to come for Dream Big Darling, with scholarship winners enjoying a transformative professional experience that gained high marks from all involved. The next Dream Big Darling Leadership Retreat will be held on September 24-26, 2020.

Dream Big Darling is also offering six all-access scholarships to Wine Speak 2020, a premier industry summit happening on January 14-16 in the Paso Robles wine country. Prospective Dream Big Darling Leadership Retreat and Wine Speak applicants can apply at DreamBigDarling.org.

Dream Big Darling would like to thank the following people and organizations for helping make the event a success:

Professional Partners

Acacia Productions, All About Events, Ancient Peaks Winery, Audrey Jackson, Brady Trust, Courtney Taylor Law, Elizabeth Hay Photography, Jade Jackson, Kawasaki, Koons Brady Charitable Foundation, Lohr Family, Mechanics Bank, Negranti-Higgins & Co. CPA, Oyster Ridge, Poor Richard’s Press, Rhone Rangers, The Booth Bus, Three on the Tree, The Somm Journal, Tami Bernard Make Up Artist, The Tasting Panel and Winebow.

Advisory Committee

Meridith May, SOMM Journal, Tasting Panel, Clever Root Magazines; Maeve Pesquera, Daou Vineyards & Winery; Adrienne Ferrara, Cal Poly University & Clesi Winery; Heidi Sill, Entrepreneur &  Youth Coach; Courtney Taylor, Attorney; Chuck Furuya, Master Sommelier, DK Restaurants; Becky Harris, Catoctin Creek; Karl Wittstrom, Margarita Adventures & Ancient Peaks Winery; Cynthia Lohr, J. Lohr Vineyard & Winery; Toni Negranti-Higgins, CPA; Cindy Wittstrom, Ancient Peaks Winery & Philanthropist; Chloé Asseo, L’Aventure Winery; Stephanie Teuwen, Teuwen Communications.

About Dream Big Darling

Our mission is to foster the success of women in the wine and spirits industry through mentorship, education, life enhancement and professional retreats. Visit DreamBigDarling.org.



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