Valley News -

By Alex Groves
Associate Editor 

Vines are blessed at South Coast for yet another wine growing season

 

Last updated 4/15/2018 at 1:56am

Alex Groves

South Coast Winery Resort and Spa winemakers John McPherson and Javier Flores and Head Chef Loren Lawe talk about the history of the Blessing of the Vines event.

People drank, ate and celebrated the beginning of another wine growing season Sunday, April 8, during the Blessing of the Vines event at South Coast Winery & Resort.

The blessing of the vines is one of two blessings the winery does yearly. Once the grapes are collected and turned into wine there's a subsequent "Blessing of the Wines" event that also takes place, according to South Coast Marketing Manager Casey Ferguson.

Ferguson said the event has traditionally included a buffet and live music every year, but said this Blessing of the Vines was the first to incorporate a food and wine pairing element for guests.

"It's about the wines," she said. "That's why people are here: they want to drink, they want to have a good time. But we also want to educate them on what they are drinking and what is going to go ahead and pair well with their food."

For the buffet, the food was crafted by South Coast's new Head Chef Loren Lawe, who used housemade balsamic vinegars and olive oils made at Carter Estate Winery and Resort, South Coast's sister property for his dishes.

On the grass lawn just outside the dining areas, four stations were set up for the pairing. Guests could dine on a figs with gorgonzola wrapped in prosciutto and paired with pinot noir; mini beef Wellington paired with cabernet sauvignon; spanikopita paired with sauvignon blanc and bay shrimp salad on slices of cucumber with sparkling pinot grigio.

Across the way from the dining station, band Guilty Conscience – a staple at the event for the past five years – performed a variety of pop and rock hits.

An instrumental version of Capital Cities' song "Safe and Sound" was playing in the background as event guests ascended a ramp up to the vineyard and were given a glass of sparkling wine before the Rev. Tom Burdick of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a church in Winchester, led them in prayer.

Burdick told the very event-appropriate story of the wedding of Cana, when Mary tells Jesus that they've run out of wine. Jesus tells servants at the event to get large jars of water which he then turns into wine.

Alex Groves

The Rev. Tom Burdick of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta Church in Winchester douses grape vines at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa as part of a blessing April 8.

"The fruit of the vine is a symbol to us of the bounty of faith and the blessings that God gives to us," he said. "It's beautiful that we're here to be reminded of the goodness of our God in creation and the goodness of our God in faith."

Toward the end of the blessing, Burdick took out a small bottle of holy water and walked up and down some of the vines, dousing them with it.

Though only a few vines were touched by the water, Burdick told the audience to think of those vines as representative of all the vines in Temecula Valley Wine Country and across the nation. South Coast Winery owner Jim Carter also owns a winery in Fredericksburg, Texas, that was also included in the blessing, according to Burdick.

At the conclusion of the blessing, guests headed back downstairs where they feasted on a buffet, tried the food and wine pairings and danced to the music of Guilty Conscience.

Alex Groves can be reached by email at [email protected]

 

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