4th September, 2013

WineGeese Society Napa Sonoma Tour Welcome Dinner 2013

WineGeese Tour of Sonoma and Napa 2013

The Ireland Funds WineGeese Society – Welcome Dinner, St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco, September 4, 2013

On Wednesday, September 4th, the Ireland Funds WineGeese Society made a return visit to San Francisco.  This was the first night of a spectacular tour that took the WineGeese through Sonoma and on to Napa for several days of wine and food, in the company of some of the California wine country's most renowned vintners.

The tour began on a glorious evening with a very special dinner at the St. Francis Yacht Club, overlooking magnificent San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, just as the fog was beginning to roll towards the towers.  On hand to welcome everyone were Ireland's Consul General Gerry Staunton, The Ireland Funds President & CEO Kieran McLoughlin, West Coast Director Marjorie Muldowney & Dr. William Muldowney, AIF Board Director Pauline Ryan & John Ryan, and local WineGeese Mary & Joe Toboni of Oakwild Ranch Toboni Vineyard. The group was led by our wonderful WineGeese Chairs Ken Gorman, Michael Jackson, and John Sharkey.

The greatest sailing event in the world was about to launch three days later when the 34th America’s Cup race began. Representing the St. Francis Yacht Club was Kimball Livingston, an international sailor who has covered every America’s Cup since 1980.  Kimball is the author of the definitive book on San Francisco Bay entitled “Sailing the Bay” and he’s the principal author of the official book of America’s Cup 34 – Sailing on the Edge.  He’s regarded as one of the foremost authorities on the race.  Kimball provided a fascinating presentation entitled "America's What?" This was a marvellous opportunity to get the inside scoop from this future Commodore of the STFYC who has studied the evolution of the race from its earliest days to the heady and sometimes dangerous build up we have witnessed over the past few months.

This reunion of the WineGeese included longtime AIF supporters Lou Ann & Mike Corboy, Kevin Curley & Kathleen Ryan, Margaret Hayhurst, and Mary & Dan Mulvihill.  They were joined by Kerry Gorman, Pepper Jackson, and Helen Sharkey.  Also present were June & Archie Bennett, Brinda Curley & Michael Wecker, Ann & Waymon Levell, Maureen & Charles King, Vice President of Major Gifts Liza O'Connor, Netta Blanchard, and Elisabet Bordt.   Right on cue, a group of low-flying geese flew by us as we made our way into dinner and we enjoyed several excellent wines including a Toboni Vineyard 2010 Oakwild Pinot Noir generously provided by Mary and Joe Toboni.

The wonderful warmth and bonhomie that surrounds these AIF friends set the tone for a fabulous few days ahead.  The fresh breeze on the terrace of the Club was exhilarating, providing no indication of the sizzling temperatures that lay ahead!