The 33rd Annual Winesong, a spectacular weekend of award-winning wine, fabulous food, fine art, music, merriment, and charitable giving held on the Mendocino Coast, will take place September 8 & 9. Be there! Winesong is produced by the Mendocino Coast Hospital Foundation and all proceeds support the local Mendocino Coast District Hospital: it’s kind of important to locals and visitors alike.

This year, the merriment kicks off Friday, September 8, with A Pinot Noir Celebration, from 1-4pm, at the Little River Inn. Fabulous food and Pinots from producers including Baldacci, Copain, Domaine Anderson, Fathers & Daughters, Handley, Husch, Goldeneye, Lazy Creek, Lula Cellars, Masut, Panthea, Seebass, Toulouse, Waits-Mast and Witching Stick, will be tucked throughout the oceanview property. Tickets are $75 and are limited.

You’ll meet some of the most interesting winemakers here: at last year’s tasting, local Anderson Valley legend, Mary Elke, was pouring a vertical of her stunning wines that completely made my day. And the Panthea wines were stunning!

Then, on Saturday, September 9, the Grand Tasting takes place from 11- 2pm, at the incomparable Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Seriously, there is no venue like this anywhere else, because it just doesn’t exist. Sheer magic, from the rocky wave-splashed cliffs to the exotic mix of conifers, ferns, and everyone’s favorite, the dahlia gardens. And the rose garden! Things of great beauty, all interspersed with wineries and restaurants, cider and beer producers and fine food purveyors.

And everywhere, you’ll thrill to the sounds of music, featuring artists playing jazz, classical, blues, calypso and folk rock.

General Admission Tickets, which include festival seating at the Live auction, are $150 per person.

Check out the Silent Auction Tent from 11-2pm, where more than 100 lots, featuring spectacular wines from a selection of prestigious wine producers, rare and hard-to-find vintages, plus special vertical and horizontal collections. Art, vacation get-aways and cool home décor items, round out the fun. Last year, there was a rare vertical of CORO up for auction: I was quickly outbid, but it was fun to dream!

The Live Auction, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., is when things really get ramped up, with spectacular wines from the world’s most prestigious wine producers, rare vintages, large format bottles and special vertical and horizontal collections, as well as original art from acclaimed California artists (including Lowell Herrero) and coveted international and domestic vacation packages. Auction Reserve Tickets with assigned seating under the auction tent (including a catered lunch), along with access to the 11-2pm wine and food tasting, are $250 per person.

‘HOT LOT’ Live Auction highlights include:

2005 Château Pontet Canet Pauillac, Grand Cru, 6L

Vineyard Vertical from Bordeaux: Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac and Chateau Pichon Longueville, Baron Grand Cru, Pauillac (31 bottles)

Amsterdam for two, with round-trip business class air travel, plus deluxe canal dinner cruise, dinner at famed Restaurant Moon with 360 view of Amsterdam, and food walk

Villa Monte Bernardi — 7-night stay for six guests at this beloved villa in the Chianti region

Supreme South Africa Safari & Wine Excursion — 10 nights for two — go and find where the wild things are! Capetown to Cape Wineland to Greater Kruger National Park region.

Le Vallon du Brec — experience authentic French Country life in two stunning apartments adjacent to celebrated Botanical Gardens — for four guests.

Emeril Lagasse’s Carnival du Vin — VIP experience for two at the famed Carnival du Vin and Boudin, Bourbon and Beer, plus dinner for two at famed Delmonico’s — 3-night stay in NOLA.

Kentucky Bourbon Trail for two — 3-night stay and various bourbon tours & tastings in the heart of the land of bourbon.

ProBowl VIP Experience with a 3-night stay in Orlando, plus collectible NFL art and gear.

2017 Winesong Artist of the Year Rebecca Johnson, “Barn Song” — bas relief, 32” x 32”

Lowell Herrero’s “Grape Harvest” — 60” x 45” limited edition giclee on stretched canvas

Lots of wine country tours will be up for grabs as well. All you need is to attend and bid! Whether or not you go home with one of these coveted auction lots, you’ll go home knowing you helped support a great cause, at one of the wine industry’s best outdoor parties ever.

Sponsors for this year’s event include: Garton Tractor, Ukiah/Kubota Tractor, American AgCredit, Grape Encounters Radio, Pamela Hudson Real Estate, Community First Credit Union, Harvest Market, D. Scott Farmer & Mia Ballentine, Little River Inn, The Coast – KOZT FM, Harvest Market, Savings Bank of Mendocino, Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association, Mendocino Coast District Hospital Physicians, Rural Health Physicians, Mendocino Winegrowers, Inc, Ledford House, North Coast Brewing Company.

Winesong’s honorees this year:

Auction Chairs: Noted wine writer Dan Berger and photographer George Rose

Honored Vintner: Famed winemaker Nils Venge of Saddleback Cellars, above

Artist of the Year: Rebecca Johnson, this year’s poster artis

Tickets to all events are available for purchase at:

For further information call (707) 961-4688.


Laura NessLaura Ness, aka “Her VineNess,” is an accomplished wine journalist and wine critic whose passion for wine was ignited by a visit to France, where she had the unmatched pleasure of tasting Sancerre in the medieval town of Sancerre – splendid!— and then a Saumur, after visiting the Chateau de Saumur in Chinon. The concept of terroir came alive in those incandescent moments. She regularly judges wine competitions and serves on the tasting panels of the Pinot, Cabernet and Chardonnay Shootouts. She was instrumental in helping define the unique sub-regions of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA in concert with Appellation America. You can usually find her sipping and smiling in Mendocino, Livermore, the Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Cruz Mountains and Paso Robles. Laura writes extensively for many industry and consumer publications, and has weekly wine columns in several Bay Area newspapers. She blogs, irreverently and sporadically, at

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