Sunday, July 22 , 2018, 7:33 pm | Fair 78º


Hillside House Benefit Pours Support with California Wine vs. French Wine Competition

Montecito’s Sunset Soirée at El Mirador serves up a delicious multicourse meal, with wine pairings by John Tilson

From left, Wendy Hunter, Ray and Mary Freeman, Marcia Wolfe and event chairwoman Norris Goss enjoy the El Mirador Gardens before the Hillside House Soirée. Click to view larger
From left, Wendy Hunter, Ray and Mary Freeman, Marcia Wolfe and event chairwoman Norris Goss enjoy the El Mirador Gardens before the Hillside House Soirée. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

The lovely El Mirador estate and gardens in Montecito provided a spectacular setting for Saturday’s Sunset Soirée hosted by Hillside House. The 12th annual benefit featured delicious food and wine pairings for an “El Amirador Wine Challenge” created by renowned wine expert John Tilson.

Tilson guided guests on a delectable wine tasting of his own carefully chosen selection of fine French and California wines that mingled with hors d’oeuvres and a four-course dinner by Omni Fresco Catering. Also included were cupcake desserts, live music by JaZSation and a silent auction — all outdoors under the historic tree canopies of El Mirador.

Tilson has been visiting vineyards and tasting wines around the world since the late 1960s. He has tasted thousands of bottles of wine and written about many of them. He was the founder and managing editor of The Underground Wineletter, a famed resource of information for wine lovers. Since 2009, The Underground went online, and Tilson is still its leading contributor.

The early summer evening in the magical, famed gardens of El Mirador was made possible through the generosity of owner Tita Lanning.

The Soirée committee included Cynthia Ardell, Susan Chapman, Silvio DiLoreto, Norris Goss, Wendi Hunter, Lynn K. Jones, Marlene Riemer, Pam Flynt Tambo and Jim Wolfe, assisted by Hillside House executive director Craig Olson and development director Curt Lauber.

The 2015 Person of Purpose award was presented to Thomas P. McCool, Ed.D., who has dedicated his professional career to improving the lives of individuals with emotional and developmental disabilities.

As executive director of Devereux California and CEO of Eden Autism Services in Princeton, N.J., McCool has developed therapeutic programs and has inspired support for new facilities that vastly improve the treatment and living conditions of people with disabilities.

Lead sponsor was Marie Shipman, whose cousin came to Hillside House when she was 9 years old.

“Barbara came to Hillside House when she was 9 years old,” Shipman told Noozhawk. “She is now 71 years old, and I think that is a testament to the good care and quality of life that she has experienced there. I think she is Hillside House’s oldest living resident.”

All event proceeds support the day-to-day operations of Hillside House, a home and therapeutic learning community for 59 people with developmental disabilities. Eighty percent of patient care is covered by Medicare but the other 20 percent must be raised through private donations. The funding helps to foster meaningful, healthy lives for the residents who need the community’s support to thrive.

Major sponsors included Marie Williams Shipman, Tita Lanning, MarBorg Industries, Keith Berry, Cathy and Tom McCool, Silvio DiLoreto, Laurie and John Tilson, Norris and Barry Goss, Cynthia and Dave Ardell, Bryant & Sons Jewelers, Nancy Read, Richard Monk, Dyanne and Erik Wipf, RMM Design Group and many more.

The Assistance League of Santa Barbara was also recognized for its donations of treasure as well as volunteers as a longtime supporter of Hillside House.

Click here for more information about Hillside House, or contact Curt Lauber at [email protected] or 805.687.0788 x115. 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.

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