Friday, June 15, 2012

6/15-Michael Jordan visits with Todd Wallin & John Skupny

Nearly 30 local restaurants and beverage companies will be on hand with samples of their best, and live music will play throughout. Visitors use tickets to purchase food and drink; some entrance packages include food tickets—click here for info. For free entrance (food tickets are additional) use this link, and code TOOC-FOOD.

On Saturday, from noon to 10 p.m., the festival is a 21-and-over trip. On Sunday, families are welcome—everywhere but the designated alcohol-consumption zones—from noon to 8 p.m. On both days, a wine-and-tequila Ultra Lounge (at additional cost) features seminars with O.C. wine superstar and The Ranch food and beverage director Michael Jordan. Look for local chefs demoing, too.

Saturday evening, the “Great OC Farm-to-Table Dinner” ($149 per person) benefits the Culinary Liberation Front, a group of Orange County chefs organized around the lofty goals of minimizing environmental impact from their restaurants, and promoting nutritional awareness among O.C.’s less fortunate.

Starting with a 6 p.m. appetizer reception, the seven-course meal will be prepared by nine O.C. chefs using ingredients from no further than 200 miles away—enough land and sea to provide seared yellowtail, braised leeks, shellfish butter, and crispy shallots from Three Seventy Common’s Ryan Adams, and glazed Santa Barbara County Berkshire pork shoulder with creamed sweet corn and baked beans from chef Greg Daniels of Haven Gastropub and Taco Asylum.

John and the boys

In 1996, John and Tracey Skupny launched Lang & Reed Wine Company combining their more than thirty years of wine industry experience. Having worked in marketing for twenty-five of California’s finest wine producers, John began his direct work in the Napa Valley as the Marketing and Sales Director of Caymus Vineyards, 1984-1989. He later became Vice President of Clos Du Val Wine Company, 1989-1992, and then General Manager of the Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery, 1992-1996. Since 1988, John has also been partner and consultant to Boulevard Brewing Company, a regional craft brewery located in Kansas City, Missouri.

Along with Lang & Reed Wine Company, he also operates a wine marketing consulting practice, Vineyard Avenue Marketing. In this capacity, John has worked with such clients as Pahlmeyer Winery and Cain Vineyards, as well as newer estate properties such as the Ristow Estate and Emilio’s Terrace Vineyards, all located in the Napa Valley.

Skupny is a past President of the Napa Valley Vintners and Auction Napa Valley [1996], the Napa Valley Wine Library Association [2001/2002] and the Stags Leap District Winegrowers [1990/1991]. He is also past-founding Vice President of the Rutherford Dust Society [1993/1994]. He regularly lectures at the University of California Davis for both marketing and winemaking classes, and on occasion for the “Leadership Napa Valley” program. He has contributed a chapter in the book, “Successful Wine Marketing”, by Kirby Moulton and Jim Lapsley, published by Aspen Publishers, 2001, and recently was well covered in “The Far Side of Eden”, the infamous second installment of James Conaway’s history of the Napa Valley.

Skupny and his wife, Tracey, live in St. Helena, in the heart of the Napa Valley. With the founding of Lang & Reed Wine Company, the Skupnys are dedicated to the continued preservation of the agricultural community and the production of distinctive Napa Valley wines.

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