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06.01.11

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Phaedra

Singles Night

By James Knight


Between "next generation," "single night" and "dance party," the notion of a Single Vineyard Night must generate a lot of frequently asked questions. Here's our primer to help wrap your head around this second annual, action-packed event hosted by the Russian River Valley Winegrowers this weekend.

Last year, this event was called "Single Night." Does it help to be single to enjoy a night in this vineyard?

No, it's not just for singles, but being over 21 might help. It's a winetasting and charity auction event featuring the potential to win helicopter tours, overnight stays in winery cottages and courtship-season safari adventures with the winemakers.

I see. So the winemakers are single?

Not necessarily. More than 30 winemakers will be paired up with their grower partners pouring single-vineyard wines.

What's the story with these "single vineyards"? Are they shy or something?

True, while a much-lauded skill of winemaking is in marrying lots to create a blended wine that is greater than the sum of its parts, the best single vineyard wines showcase flavors and aromas that, year after year, prove themselves unique to their own little slice of the Russian River Valley.

"I'm too unique"—that's the excuse I use. Moving on, how come there's no wine in this wine auction?

The Action Auction features "experiential lots" designed to provide fun activities for groups, like zip-lining in the redwoods at Foppoli Family Estate, an amphibious landing at Trione Winery via canoe, a helicopter tour of the vineyards with Hop Kiln winemaker Chuck Mansfield; kayaking, barbecues and more.

It sounds like winemakers are now adventure tour guides. Do they still have time to squish grapes?

Yes, there'll be plenty of wine.

Can I come with a group so I don't feel insecure?

That's the whole point of the Action Auction. Groups can bid on a lot that they can enjoy together, making it more affordable.

I'm getting a youthful vibe from all of this.

Lee Hodo, marketing manager for Russian River Valley Winegrowers, allows that he formed the Millennial Council to help the region's next generation come up with ways to reach their peers that were "basically more fun, less stuffy, but educational. The first event was called 'Single Night' in a shameless attempt at getting to younger people but with the double entendre of pouring just single vineyard wines." Last year, the event sold out, and all ages attended.

That sounds exceptional, cool, dope or sick—whatever the young folks today say. How do I get there?

Single Vineyard Night is Saturday, June 4, at Thomas George Estates. 8075 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 6:30-10pm. $45 presale, $55 door, $80 VIP reception. 707.521.2535. www.rrvw.org.


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