Wally’s Wine & Spirits will host Wally’s 9th Central Coast Wine and Food Celebration (WCCWFC), benefiting the Michael Bonaccorsi Endowment Fund at Allan Hancock College Department of Viticulture and Enology on Sunday, July 27, 2014, from 1 to 4:00 p.m. under the “Big Top” adjacent to the store.
Wally’s summer afternoon tasting will include over 50 of the most acclaimed Central Coast wineries and craft beer producers, including: Alma Rosa, Brewer-Clifton, Chanin, Demetria Estate, Dragonette Cellars, Fiddlehead Cellars, Foxen, Gainey, Happy Canyon Vineyards, La Fenetre, Melville Winery, Palmina Winery, Qupe Winery, Rusack Vineyards, Talley Vineyards, Tyler and Whitcraft, along with craft beers from Figueroa Mountain Brewery, Firestone Walker Brewery and Telegraph Brewing Company.
Some of the best chefs and restaurants from the Central Coast and Los Angeles will serve their signature dishes, highlighted by Frank Ostini showcasing the art of grilling on his traveling Santa Maria Barbecue pit from The Hitching Post II. Other restaurants include Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos; S.Y. Kitchen and Brothers Restaurant at the Red Barn in Santa Ynez; Republique; WP24, Westside Tavern, Succulent Café and a preview of Wally’s Beverly Hills in Los Angeles County, with more to follow.
General admission to the festival is $99 per person in advance and $125 at the door plus applicable taxes. The WCCWFC also offers a VIP Early Entry from 12 noon to 1 p.m. where guests purchasing an advance premium ticket for $149 gain entrance for early tastings and an opportunity to meet winemakers and chefs in a more intimate fashion.
In addition to the wine and food tasting, guests are invited to participate in a silent auction of rare wine offerings and premier gift packages. Past auction items included travel packages to the Santa Ynez Inn in Santa Ynez, Hadsten House in Solvang, and a week-long vacation at a private home on Martha’s Vineyard. Returning to entertain the crowd is Gary Burk’s lively group, the Inexpensive Winos. A majority of the funds received directly benefit the Michael Bonaccorsi Endowment at Allan Hancock College Departments of Viticulture and Enology.
The Michael Bonaccorsi Scholarship Fund was founded in 2004 by the Bonaccorsi family. The scholarship was developed in response to the overwhelming reaction of friends and wine professionals interested in creating a lasting memorial to the man who generously shared his knowledge and talents throughout his brilliant, yet tragically short career. Wally’s quickly stepped in to lend its support by creating the Wally’s Central Coast Wine and Food Celebration. To date, the fundraiser has raised nearly $350,000 – making it the primary source in funding the scholarship, which now totals nearly a half million dollars, a portion of which is awarded yearly to a qualifying recipient at Allan Hancock College’s Department of Viticulture and Enology, a leading teaching and research institution in the United States.
Each year, a deserving student displaying outstanding achievement in winemaking along with a genuine passion for the field will receive a generous grant helping with his or her financial needs.
JANELL DUSI – J DUSI WINES
I was born and raised on the Dusi Vineyard where my grandfather Dante taught me the old world Italian style of winemaking.
My family’s heritage dates back to the early 1920’s, where grape growing has been a craft that has deep roots in the Dusi family. The farming practices that were implemented by my great-grandparents eighty years ago, are still the standard that we follow today. The unique, hand crafted quality of J Dusi Wines results from my intimate involvement in every step of the process: working in the vineyard, driving the tractor, hand picking my own fruit, crushing the grapes and fermenting the juice from the bins to the barrels to the bottle. One thing that I know for sure; winemaking is part science, part art and 100% passion.
I take great pride in blending tradition with progress. My family has partnered together to purchase other vineyards, with different grape varietals, so with an adventurous spirit, I am able to produce more hand crafted wines to highlight my “spice rack” in the cellar.
My name is Janell Dusi. My true passion is Zinfandel. My label is J Dusi Wines. I am a farmer and I am a winemaker. I continue a legacy and also the dream: A family tradition with a new perspective.
The story of the Dusi Vineyard began in the early 1920s, when Sylvester and Caterina Dusi immigrated from Northern Italy and settled in Paso Robles. The Dusi Vineyard introduced some of the first Zinfandels to California’s Central Coast; vineyards were rare in Old California in the early 1900's. Sylvester and Catarina were highly enterprising, and working together with their three sons – Guido, Dante and Benito, eventually bought an additional property on the west side of Highway 101 in 1945 and planted Zinfandel. Zinfandel was the Italian varietal of choice at the time, and remains the vineyard’s mainstay varietal today.
The intense flavor profiles of the “Dusi Fruit” are characteristic of the land’s unique micro climate and the family’s old-world, handcrafted grape growing techniques. This 100-acre estate is located just south of Paso Robles. A region that features the greatest day-to-night temperature variation of any appellation in California, providing ideal conditions for vibrantly flavored yet exceptionally balanced wines. The vineyard has been sought after by many fine wineries such as: Turley, Four Vines, Cypher, Tobin James, and JC Cellars. These local wineries have been purchasing the fruit for many years, creating their own versions of Dusi Vineyard designated Zinfandels.
Three generations after Janell Dusi's great-grandparents first planted the land to Zinfandel; she is continuing the legacy of one of the area’s most well-loved vineyards, and taking ten percent of the production off the Dusi Vineyard to create J Dusi Wines.