Home Industry News Releases Project Zin 2023 Raises $350,000 for Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay...

Project Zin 2023 Raises $350,000 for Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area

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Clay and Carrie Mauritson, Charlie Palmer, and Top Zinfandel Producers Unite to Champion Community, Cause and Charity

Chef Charlie Palmer, Brady Mauritson, and Clay Mauritson celebrate Project Zin 2023. Photo Credit: Damion Hamilton.

(September 7, 2023; Windsor, CA) – Marking its 13th year, Project Zin once again proved the power of community, philanthropy and inclusivity within Sonoma County. Held on August 18-19 at Bricoleur Vineyards in Windsor, CA, the event raised an astounding $350,000 for the Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area (DSCBA). Boasting a grand celebration of wine, culinary artistry, and community spirit, the annual event proudly featured 21 top Zinfandel producers, live music, alongside a live and silent auction that captivated supporters.

Built upon a heartfelt endeavor to transform the stigma surrounding the diagnosis of Brady Mauritson, eldest son of Clay and Carrie Mauritson, the family turned adaptation into action and a catalyst for change and inclusion for Down Syndrome and developmentally delayed family diagnoses. Clay, a sixth-generation grape grower and founder of Mauritson Wines in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley, joined forces with close friend and James Beard Award-winning Chef Charlie Palmer to bring Project Zin to life. Surpassing all expectations, the inaugural event raised $25,000 and has since evolved into a cornerstone gathering, cumulatively raising over $2 million in contributions to date. 

“When Project Zin started, we never imagined we’d be here today, having raised over $350,000 in a single event, but it shows what can happen when a community comes together,” says Clay Mauritson. Echoing his sentiments, Brady Mauritson added “I’m proud to see so many people help and support each other. Together, we’re making a difference, creating a better world for everyone. It brings the biggest smile to my face to feel the love and support.”

Supported by an array of the region’s most renowned chefs, sommeliers and restaurants, the culinary offerings were a highlight of the event, featuring dishes from Dry Creek Kitchen’s Charlie Palmer, Valette and The Matheson’s Chef Dustin Valette, SingleThread Chefs Kyle and Katina Connaughton, Diavola’s Dino Bugica and many more. All dishes were paired to wines from 21 of California’s top Zinfandel producers, including A. Rafanelli Winery, BACA Wines, Bedrock Wine Co., Bricoleur Vineyards, Carlisle Winery & Vineyards, Comstock Wines, Flambeaux Wine, Hartford Family Wine, Kokomo Winery, Lambert Bridge Winery, Limerick Lane Cellars, Martinelli Winery, Mauritson Wines, Nalle Winery, Pedroncelli Winery, Portalupi Wine, Ridge Vineyards, Robert Biale Vineyards, Seghesio Family Vineyards, Turley Wine Cellars and Williams Selyem.

“The food and wine are more than just a feast for the senses; they’re a celebration of what we can achieve when we combine our talents and passions for a greater good,” said Chef Charlie Palmer.

The Live Auction, hosted by the Golden State Warriors’ “hype man” Franco Finn, was both a dazzling and lively affair. Notable lots included “Flambeaux Wine – Ultimate New Orleans Wine, Food, and Fest!” which sold twice for $15,000 each; an evening with Jean-Charles Boisset and John Legend sold twice for $16,000; “The Ultimate Wine & Bourbon Lovers Trip to Louisville” became the highlight of the night, selling for an astounding $32,000 after a thrilling bidding war. A “Buy-in Dinner” with Brady Mauritson and his friend and fellow Down Syndrome advocate Richie saw 20 tickets sold for $2,000 each, adding a personal touch to the fundraising efforts.

Exclusive VIP packages were a standout feature this year, offering two-night accommodations at Hotel Healdsburg, Harmon Guest House, h2hotel and Bricoleur Vineyard Milk Barn, along with access to an intimate “Behind the Scenes” afternoon event with Clay and Carrie at Mauritson Winery. This special gathering featured a carnitas lunch, thoughtfully paired with a vertical tasting of rare Mauritson library Zinfandels. The locally-famous carnitas, prepared by Mauritson Cellar Master Adrian Reyes and his family, were made according to traditional Michoacán practices, slow-cooked in cazo de cobre vessels.

The event concluded with an emotional recognition of gratitude from the Project Zin team, capturing the essence of an evening that has and will always be more than fine wine and food. It will always be an event that exemplifies the power of support, joy of giving, and endless possibilities that come from collective action.

For more information about Project Zin and how to get involved in future events, visit www.projectzin.org.

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