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'Festival of Lights Winery Tour' in Kenwood to Celebrate Tenth Anniversary, Thursday, December 5

KENWOOD, Calif., Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Seven prestigious Kenwood-area wineries are preparing now to spectacularly illuminate their tiny but beautiful Sonoma Valley of the Moon hamlet, nestled just a few miles east and south of Santa Rosa, California. It is the 10th Anniversary, nighttime, holiday-celebrating "Festival of Lights Winery Tour," on Thursday, December 5, 1996, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The seven wineries -- Chateau St. Jean Winery, Kenwood Vineyards, Smothers' Remick Ridge Winery, St. Francis Vineyards, Kunde Estate Winery, Landmark Vineyards and Stone Creek Wines -- will throw their own respective switches, in virtual unison, on that night, simultaneously sparking what will be a bright and joyous holiday season beacon of glorious electrical lighting displays. The wineries, each competing with one another, try to outshine the others. They compete in their ongoing enology (the science of fine wine-making) within the many worldwide marketplaces for great Sonoma County wines; and, they compete with their individual, festive, holiday spirit-filled community-lighting displays.

Kenwood really does shine, especially at Festival of Lights-time!

The "Festival of Lights Winery Tour" is a wonderful celebration taking place in the very heart of the Sonoma Valley wine-growing region. It is a holiday lighting, feasting and wine-tasting extravaganza. The event has grown each and every year, brightening tiny Kenwood during this special time of the year, for a decade. The Festival has grown from just a small food-sharing "happening" for the needy in the community in 1987, just inside the front doors of Joe Martin's St. Francis Winery cellars, then growing by adding one or two additional participating wineries during each of the successive Festival-years, to now in 1996 including all of the excellent, community-based and active community-involved wineries operating within the Village area. The Festival event also now includes most of the more prominent fine food purveyors from throughout the County, all participating, too, and each providing their own delicious specialty-tasteables for the Festival guests to eat.

This year's gala anniversary Festival will be a "blockbuster" event -- and it promises to be a really special highlight of the coming holiday season!

The Festival of Lights Winery Tour begins as soon as the setting sun starts to darken the picturesque township. That's the precise moment when the almost magical illumination of all of the beautiful winery buildings and adjoining vineyards, concentrated closely along just a short one-mile portion of Highway 12 in the middle of Kenwood, make the entire community dramatically come alive and then immediately become transformed, changing the blackening shadows of the Valley night into a spirit-like pocket full of glimmering jewels. The lighting effect is like a big electric lunar display, right in the heart of the Valley of the Moon. It is breathtaking, and an inspirational sight for anyone coming into the Kenwood community to visit, from any direction. Even Magi ...!

Following the lighting of the lights, each winery begins hosting a very special 3-hour long wine-tasting, beginning at 5:30 p.m. This is a fun annual fund-raising event benefiting the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, a food pantry program providing for community-wide needy families. This grass roots "people-helping-people" Program is sponsored by Star of the Valley Catholic Church and St. Patrick's Episcopal Church. During the Festival's 3-hour wine- tasting, more than 700 pre-purchased ticket-holding, happily celebrating guests simultaneously start their respective "tastings" at one of the seven participating wineries. Each guest has an assigned starting winery, predetermined by their purchase of specially marked tickets randomly sold to them at the beginning of the ticket sales period, now in progress. At their first-stop winery, each person is given a souvenir Festival commemorative wine glass, which then becomes their "ticket" to subsequent wineries of their choice. All the guests then rotate, going to each and every one of the other wineries they wish to visit, until they've visited all seven of them; or, until they decide simply to stop.

At each winery, in addition to everyone tasting the finest of each their host-Vintner's premiere selected harvest-wines, all the Festival guests will be feted to delicious foods and delightful desserts prepared by more than a dozen of Sonoma County's finest eating establishments and food providers. And, throughout the evening, all guests will enjoy wonderful live holiday entertainment, at each winery they visit. Music will be provided by an array of the Valley's performers, featuring a wide range of music appropriate to both the season and the beautiful setting: individual artists, choral groups, and full-fledged choirs. All will be singing, playing and performing their art in the gentle glow of the happy holiday lighting, for the pleasure of all the Festival guests.

Entertainment-providers include: The Bell Ringers, Redwood Chordsmen, Sonoma Express Quartet; Bill Wayman & Jim DeArmon (Guitars); Moonbeams Quartet; Old Popskulls Quartet; The "Who Invited Them" Quartet; and both the Star of the Valley and St. Patrick's Choirs. Food purveyors include: Park Avenue Gathering; Cafe Citti; Joann's Jellies; Sonoma Gourmet; Peter Rabbit's Chocolates; Mistral; Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa; Franco-American Bakery, Amedco of Glen Ellen; Angelo's Wine Country Deli; Marco Danas; Sonoma Mountain Grill; Creative Catering; A Culinary Affair and Kenwood Restaurant.

Complimentary bus transportation will circle Kenwood all evening, stopping at all wineries in about every 20-minute intervals, to take guests from winery to winery.

Tickets for the Festival of Lights Winery Tour benefiting the non-profit Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program, are on sale now at each participating winery, and at each sponsoring church. The wine-tasting, food and entertainment make this nominal $20 contribution the best evening's complete entertainment package available. However, advance ticket purchase is absolutely recommended. No tickets will be sold on the evening of the Festival, December 5th.

The Festival of Lights Winery Tour is a perfect holiday beginning. Salud! Bon Appetit!

SOURCE Festival of Lights Winery Tour
 -0- 11/25/96

/CONTACT: Dick McGrath, APR, 707-538-1569/

CO: Festival of Lights Winery Tour ST: California IN: LEI SU:

EQ-SS -- LAM034 -- 3397 11/25/96 01:45 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 25, 1996
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