The 10th Annual Taste of the Vine & Auction fundraiser hosted by the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute of Santa Barbara last Saturday afternoon was centered on the continuing quest for prevention, treatment and a cure for diabetes, which affects 25 million Americans.
This year’s fundraiser at QAD’s facilities drew more than 400 supporters atop the stunning bluffs of Summerland overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The site quickly filled to capacity by late afternoon as guests mingled on the lush expanse of lawn sipping beverages and feasting on a vast selection of dishes at concession stands from more than 40 of the finest Central Coast wineries and breweries, caterers and restaurants.
Chef Jennifer Shively of Lunchbox served chilled chilled farro salad with wild Alaskan salmon, white beans, crumbled feta and a tangy vinaigrette dressing. Two tables over, Benjamin Silver, owner of Silver Wines, poured selections from his award-winning premium wines.
“This is a very local event, and a key group of supportive people are here today for a very good cause,” Silver said. “These are the types of people we want to get into our wine room.”
Across the room, potential bidders gathered around an assemblage of silent auction items, including a pair of framed surfer prints by local artist Steve Bouchet and a “Jazz It Up” certificate that offered the choice of live entertainment at the SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, the Lobero Theatre or in the privacy of their own home while sipping champagne from crystal flutes.
Meanwhile, elated raffle winners took home prizes ranging from a membership at the Santa Barbara Family YMCA to a wine tasting for 10 people at the Tolosa Winery in San Luis Obispo or dinner for two at the Full of Life Flatbread Pizza restaurant.
Later, Ellen Goodstein, president of the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute Board of Trustees, and Susan Murray, SDRI’s director of communications, welcomed everyone and thanked the board members, volunteers, donors, sponsors and vendors for the overwhelming support.
“We’re here today for a very good reason — to cure and help people with diabetes,” Goodstein said. “Last year we raised $85,000 for the effort, and this year’s goal is to raise $100,000.”
Lois Jovanovic, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer for the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, presented Harold Welch with the SDRI 2011 Volunteer Award. Welch, who has been a patient of Jovanovic’s and a volunteer at SDRI for more than 10 years, looked stunned as he received the award.
“I’m floored and had no idea. I’m the kind of person to do things, but I don’t do things for rewards,” Welch said. “I consider myself an ambassador of the cause, and receiving the award reinforces it even more.”
Welch is also the chef and owner of World Cuisine Express, specializing in organic world cuisine, and teaches a cooking class the last Thursday of every month that is open to the public. He credits Jovanovic for saving his life, and in return she views Welch as a member of her family.
“Diabetes inflicts everyone no matter what age or race,” Jovanovic said. “There are probably 400,000 people with diabetes in Santa Barbara County, and half of them don’t even know they have it.”
Guests sat at tables shaded from the afternoon sun by large blue umbrellas as a live auction featuring John Palmenteri got under way.
Palmenteri’s lively and infectious gift for gab entertained the crowd and succeeded in drawing high numbers on items, including a sunset cruise along the Santa Barbara coastline for 15 guests aboard the Shark’s Parlour, a 50-foot Riviera yacht, and a five-night stay at Ezulwini Game Lodges in South Africa.
As the afternoon came to a close, guests began to say their goodbyes and gather their belongings, while others lingered to enjoy the golden sunset.
Jovanovic said the fundraiser was a success, and she extended credit to the media as essential in developing awareness to an unknowing public about this devastating disease.
“It is the media that helps the public learn about SDRI, as well as the American Diabetes Association and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International,” she said.
Jovanovic noted that the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute is collaborating with world experts and researchers at UCSB not only to find a cure but to make an artificial pancreas that will automatically measure a patient’s blood sugar and provide insulin to help save lives.
“I’m sure today, donor-wise, people are going to open their hearts and pocketbooks and help us cure diabetes,” she said.
All proceeds will go to SDRI, dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of diabetes in children and adults.
The Sansum Diabetes Research Institute thanks the following sponsors for their generosity:
» Estate sponsor: Rabobank
» Magnum sponsors: Bialis Family Foundation, Thomas S. and Nancy Crawford Jr., the Inserra family, QAD Inc., and James and Amy Sloan.
» Pinot sponsors: Boyd Communications and Linda Boyd, and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation.
» Cabernet sponsors: Anchor Point, Tim and Louise Casey, Citrix Online, Cottage Health System, Alexander DePaoli, M.D., Baroness Leni Fe Bland, Eyman Parker Insurance Brokers, Lois Kroc, MarBorg Industries and David Borgatello, Pacific Diagnostic Laboratories and Angelina Trujillo, M.D.
» Chardonnay sponsors: Allen & Kimbell LLP and Paul Grazniano, Anthony’s Christmas Trees & Wreaths, Damitz, Brooks, Nightingale, Turner, Morrisset, CPAs, First Republic Wealth Management, Lewis Plumbing, Douglas and Corrie McRae, Northern Trust Bank, Northwestern Mutual and Robert Dibley, Pedersen Architects LLP, Sharon Kennedy Estate Management, Price, Postel & Parma and Christopher Haskell, Summerland Publishing and Ventura Rental Party Center.