Kinship Center raises over $100,000 in annual charity event

The Wine and Food Tasting drew over 750 guests, along with 21 food and 33 drink vendors.
Margot Tankersley of Margot's Ice Cream. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Margot Tankersley of Margot's Ice Cream. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Tony Correia and Ryan Stirm. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Tony Correia and Ryan Stirm. Photo by Robert Eliason.
The Smoke Point BBQ. Photo by Robert Eliason.
The Smoke Point BBQ. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Reyna Swan and Lori Rios of Lighthouse 55. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Reyna Swan and Lori Rios of Lighthouse 55. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Lino Gonzalez and Alexander DeLeon. Photo by Robert Eliason.
Lino Gonzalez and Alexander DeLeon. Photo by Robert Eliason.

About 750 attendees at the 66th Annual Kinship Wine & Food Tasting on Sept. 10 appreciated a slight break in the recent heat wave as they sampled the fare of local wineries, breweries and restaurants, all for a good cause. The charity event, sponsored by the Kinship Center and held at Paicines Ranch, raised over $100,000 to help provide permanent families for children who have experienced abuse, neglect or abandonment.

“This is a very good cause, and you always want to support people who are doing good work,” said Rotary Club of San Juan Bautista member Wayne Norton. “There are always a lot of people here that I don’t get to see that often and it’s a really great way to build connections. And, of course, the food and drink are all great.”

Over 20 restaurants and food vendors participated, including The Smoke Point BBQ, serving chicken wings with Alabama White barbecue sauce; Lighthouse 55 Bakery, offering lemon curd in shortbread cups; and El Rinconcito, which brought chicken and beef enchiladas with tortilla chips and salsa.

This year saw more wineries and breweries than last year, with 33 vendors offering tastings—up from 26 last year. 

Brewery Twenty Five poured a Fruited Kettle Sour, a papaya beer that might soon appear as a slushie at a local San Juan restaurant. Calera Wine Company and Eden Rift held down tables on opposite sides of the lawn area, pouring the wines that have led them to be named two of the 100 best wineries in the world by Wine and Spirits magazine. 

Crave Wine Company announced that they are nearing the grand opening of their long-awaited tasting room on San Benito Street in Hollister. And Mad Pursuit offered up “The One,” perhaps the finest beer they have created so far.

The increase in wineries was due in part to the efforts of Kris Waller, who co-chaired the committee that lined up the vendors and is the mother of Mike Waller of Calera and Cory Waller of Eden Rift, two of the premier winemakers in the world. 

“I love that this became more of a local event because we were able to include more wineries that source their grapes from the area,” Waller said. ”I got a lot of great contacts from Cory and Mike Kohne of Crave Wine Company, like Stirm Wine Co. and Seabold. San Benito County is really starting to make a name for itself.” 

Stirm was making its first appearance at the event and drew praise from wine consultant Tony Correia.

“Ryan Stirm has some exceptional wines, including his Cabernet Pfeffer and his Negrette,” he said. “I was also really impressed by Blair Estate. And I am also excited about Crave opening. But overall, this is a very nice event. The setting, the venue, is glorious, and there is an extraordinary amount of very good wine here.” 

The high point of the fundraiser was an auction of seven donated items:

  • A three-night stay in Tulloch at a lake home that sleeps 20, donated by Mike & Tracy Nino.
  • Three nights at Vino Bello Resort in Napa and dinner at Bistro Don Giovanni, donated by Jack and Luz Bachofer and Kay Filice.
  • A round of golf for four at Ridgemark with breakfast at Flapjacks and dinner at the 19th Hole, donated by Karen and Bob Fink.
  • A day on Monterey Bay for six on the vessel “Cheers,” donated by Nan and Fernando Oliveira.
  • A historical home tour for 12 with local wines and food at each location hosted by Kenny and Melissa Kramer, John and Ellen Fisher, and Dennis and Anna Wilson. 
  • The Lemos Ranch Experience for eight people with skeet shooting and lunch, donated by Catalina and Dennis Lemos.
  • A rustic five-course Italian feast for 12 hosted by Kristen and Gordon Wynn.  

Over 50 bottles of wine were raffled at the end of the event, along with gift certificates for wine tastings. 

“This event today has been great,” said Margot Tankersley of Margot’s Ice Cream in San Juan Bautista. “It helps people become aware of what San Benito County has to offer. And it really does draw people to the businesses—I had quite a few people say they would be coming to my ice cream parlor. But most importantly, it raises a lot of money for a very good cause.”


Participants at the 66th Annual Kinship Wine & Food Tasting

Fine Foods: 3 Queens Carnitas, 4th Street Eatery, Apricot King, Birrieria Calimex, CGR Farmhouse, Charcuter’Dee & Fromagerie, El Rinconcito, Ella’s at the Airport, Grillin & Chillin Road House, Guerra Olive Oils, La Catrina Mexican Grill, Las Micheladas Bar & Grill, Lighthouse Legacy, Margot’s Ice Cream Parlor, Paine’s Restaurant, Ridgemark Golf Club & Resort, Round Table Pizza, Running Rooster, The Smoke Point BBQ, Vertigo Coffee.

Wineries: Aimee June Winery, Alicats Winery, Bernardus Winery, Blair Estate Wines, Calera Wine Company, Calerrain Wines, Casa de Fruta, Chesebro Wines, Clos LaChance Winery, Crave Wine Company, CRU Winery, Damm Vineyards, DeRose Vineyards, DIVUM, Duckhorn, Eden Rift Vineyards, Fortino Winery, Frog’s Tooth Winery, The Garden Shoppe, Guerra Cellars, Guglielmo Winery, Hecker Pass Winery, Kobza Wines, Morgan Winery, Puma Road Wines, Seabold Cellars, Stirm Wine Co., TenFiveOne Cider Co. 

Breweries: Brewery Twenty Five, Grillin & Chillin Alehouse, Mad Pursuit Brewing Company, Pour Decisions Taproom. 

Beverages: Damm Good Water, S. Martinelli & Co.


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Robert Eliason

I got my start as a photographer when my dad stuck a camera in my hand on the evening of my First Grade Open House. He taught me to observe, empathize, then finally compose the shot.  The editors at BenitoLink first approached me as a photographer. They were the ones to encourage me to write stories about things that interest me, turning me into a reporter as well.  BenitoLink is a great creative family that cares deeply about the San Benito community and I have been pleased to be a part of it.