Tuesday, May 31 , 2016, 12:27 pm | Overcast 63º

Chocolate de Vine Delivers Savory Goods at Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center Benefit

Sixth annual fundraiser draws a crowd of 200 to sample wine, confections and Greek faire at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church

By Rochelle Rose, Noozhawk Contributing Writer | @NoozhawkNews | updated logo |

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More than 200 supporters of the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center enjoyed a breathtaking venue and a celebration of chocolate and wine at the Sixth Annual Chocolate de Vine fundraiser held Saturday at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in the Santa Barbara foothills.

The event featured a well-attended private VIP reception, at which guests sampled reserve wines and special hors d’oeuvres and earned exclusive door prizes.

At 5 p.m., regular attendees arrived to taste a variety of wines from a dozen purveyors, including Riverbench, Brewer-Clifton, Murphy, Imagine Wine, Whitcraft, Giessinger, Palmina and others.

A variety of chocolate sweets were provided by vegan restaurant Adama, herbal chocolate specialists ChocolaTao, Brasil Arts Café, Isabella Gourmet Foods, Stafford’s Famous Chocolates, DivineChocolate, Piece of Mind, Mama GanacheRenaud’s and others.

Fabulous Greek fare, provided by Rincon Catering, was enjoyed by everyone on the wind-swept church patio, which had breathtaking views of the city.

“Our goal is to raise $40,000 today at Chocolate de Vine,” stated Elsa Granados, executive director of the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. “Funds are used for our much-needed prevention and intervention programs.”

Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Cathy Murillo served as emcee and live-auction assistant to professional auctioneer Alicia Williams.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley made opening remarks and said that she continues to be moved emotionally after 24 years of prosecuting sexual assault cases.

“I used to try to hide my emotions, but I decided I need to feel these emotions,” she said. “Sexual assault and abuse cases not only hurt the victim, they hurt the whole family. It takes many years to heal.

“We are so fortunate to have an organization like the Rape Crisis Center to provide programs of support.”

After the live auction, the awards were announced: Best Table Top Presentation, Renaud's Patisserie & Bistro; Outstanding Flavor Chocolate, First Place, Freezer Monkeys; Outstanding Flavor Chocolate, Second Place, Mama Ganache's Artisan Chocolates; and People's Choice Award, Stafford's Famous Chocolates. Jessica Foster, Chef Pink and Mark Brouillard were tapped as the professional judges.

Sponsors included Easy Lift Transportation, HUB International Insurance Services, Impulse Advanced Communications, Merrill Lynch Duran Marshall Group, Montecito Bank & Trust, Diane Myers and Laura Lindsey, Bruce and Judy Anticouni, Rincon Catering, the Santa Barbara Vintners Association, the Santa Barbara Women Lawyers Foundation, Gari Stanfield, Union Bank, Venoco Inc., Santa Barbara Adventure Co., St. George & Associates and more.

The Chocolate de Vine fundraiser benefits Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center, founded in 1974 to support survivors of sexual assault. SBRCC offers a 24-hour hotline, crisis and long-term counseling, self-defense programs, and sexual assault prevention education programs. All services are offered, regardless of ability to pay, in English and Spanish.

The center is a private, nonprofit agency that has provided counseling, crisis intervention and support services to survivors of sexual assault and their families. The organization began with a handful of volunteers who identified a critical need in the community. Since then Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center has developed into an organization which each year provides multiple services to hundreds of clients and education to thousands of people in our community.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center, or contact executive director Elsa Granados at [email protected] or 805.963.6832. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Allison Marshall, left, and Cassie Koval proudly poured Riverbench wines at the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center fundraiser. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)
Allison Marshall, left, and Cassie Koval proudly poured Riverbench wines at the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center fundraiser. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

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