Carl Kanowsky: Sonoma vintner gives wine for fundraiser
Tami Edwards, Limerick Lanes Winery owner Jake Bilbro and Mike Bjorkman attend a Boys & Girls Club event at Salt Creek Grille in August. Courtesy photo
By Carl Kanowsky
Monday, September 17th, 2018

August proved to be a great month for wine for wine lovers in the Santa Clarita Valley and for our Boys & Girls Club as well.

On Aug. 16, as discussed ad infinitum in this column, Jake Bilbro from Sonoma’s Limerick Lane Winery visited the SCV.

I had not met Jake before the 16th – just interviewed him over the phone and chatted extensively by email. I knew his wines. Terry and I visited his intimate Healdsburg tasting room earlier in the year and were thoroughly delighted by what was being poured, ranging from a delicious rose (and for me, roses are usually fairly missable – good for sipping when nothing else’s available) to his strong suit with Rhone varietals and zinfandel.

Jake comes from wine stock, with his dad owning Marietta Cellars, where Jake cut his teeth. A tall, good-looking guy, Jake clearly loves making wine. He’s also articulate. He describes his challenges and accomplishments with humor and some genuine amazement at how successful he’s been. For instance, his 2017 rose gained the highest score Wine Enthusiast has ever given a rose.

Well, Jake came to Salt Creek Grille on Aug. 16 and wowed the sold-out crowd. But before I talk about the tasting, I want to bestow praise and gratitude upon Greg Amsler and his team at Salt Creek. It’s tough to find a bigger friend to the Boys & Girls Club than Greg. He’s done these tasting nine times for the club and never charged for use of the patio, the waitstaff, or the delicious food created by Tamra Levine. These events would not be possible without Greg. Joining him in this act of charity is his No. 2 person, the beautiful and charming Jennifer Chadwick, who is unfailing charming and inventive in her solutions to whatever adversity faces her.

By the way, Jake also deserves big thanks. He provided all the wine poured that night (about six cases worth) as well as one special auction item I’ll describe later. Plus, he offered to give the Club 10 percent of all case orders.

Jake poured six wines. Everyone had their favorite. The rose was a hit. Our guests had the unique opportunity to taste two vintages of the same wine, side-by-side, gaining an insight into how the wine can mature. He did this with his 1910 Zinfandel, serving both the 2015 and the 2016 vintages.

have a friend from Puerto Rico, Frankie, who every time I talk with him always begins and ends the conversations with, “Carl, a big hug for you and your family.” Well, I want to give a “BIG HUG” to our Santa Clarita friends who paid $100 each to join us on the 16th. But they weren’t satisfied with just that contribution.

They demonstrated their love and support for the Boys & Girls Club and its mission during the brief auction we have at every tasting. The total take on the five auction items was $14,000. The big draw was something offered by Jake. That item featured a tour, tasting and lunch for four at Limerick Lane, followed by what Jake described as a one-of-a-kind “Limerick Lane Experience.” The next day Jake arranged for complimentary tastings at his friends at both Arista Winery and Mauritson Winery. When he saw the bidding get to $4,000, he offered to double it if the other bidder would also go to $4,000, which they gladly agreed to.

Wow, what an evening! Great wine, tasty food, and a net check to the club of $22,000! August was a great month.

About the author

Carl Kanowsky

Carl Kanowsky

Tami Edwards, Limerick Lanes Winery owner Jake Bilbro and Mike Bjorkman attend a Boys & Girls Club event at Salt Creek Grille in August. Courtesy photo

Carl Kanowsky: Sonoma vintner gives wine for fundraiser

August proved to be a great month for wine for wine lovers in the Santa Clarita Valley and for our Boys & Girls Club as well.

On Aug. 16, as discussed ad infinitum in this column, Jake Bilbro from Sonoma’s Limerick Lane Winery visited the SCV.

I had not met Jake before the 16th – just interviewed him over the phone and chatted extensively by email. I knew his wines. Terry and I visited his intimate Healdsburg tasting room earlier in the year and were thoroughly delighted by what was being poured, ranging from a delicious rose (and for me, roses are usually fairly missable – good for sipping when nothing else’s available) to his strong suit with Rhone varietals and zinfandel.

Jake comes from wine stock, with his dad owning Marietta Cellars, where Jake cut his teeth. A tall, good-looking guy, Jake clearly loves making wine. He’s also articulate. He describes his challenges and accomplishments with humor and some genuine amazement at how successful he’s been. For instance, his 2017 rose gained the highest score Wine Enthusiast has ever given a rose.

Well, Jake came to Salt Creek Grille on Aug. 16 and wowed the sold-out crowd. But before I talk about the tasting, I want to bestow praise and gratitude upon Greg Amsler and his team at Salt Creek. It’s tough to find a bigger friend to the Boys & Girls Club than Greg. He’s done these tasting nine times for the club and never charged for use of the patio, the waitstaff, or the delicious food created by Tamra Levine. These events would not be possible without Greg. Joining him in this act of charity is his No. 2 person, the beautiful and charming Jennifer Chadwick, who is unfailing charming and inventive in her solutions to whatever adversity faces her.

By the way, Jake also deserves big thanks. He provided all the wine poured that night (about six cases worth) as well as one special auction item I’ll describe later. Plus, he offered to give the Club 10 percent of all case orders.

Jake poured six wines. Everyone had their favorite. The rose was a hit. Our guests had the unique opportunity to taste two vintages of the same wine, side-by-side, gaining an insight into how the wine can mature. He did this with his 1910 Zinfandel, serving both the 2015 and the 2016 vintages.

have a friend from Puerto Rico, Frankie, who every time I talk with him always begins and ends the conversations with, “Carl, a big hug for you and your family.” Well, I want to give a “BIG HUG” to our Santa Clarita friends who paid $100 each to join us on the 16th. But they weren’t satisfied with just that contribution.

They demonstrated their love and support for the Boys & Girls Club and its mission during the brief auction we have at every tasting. The total take on the five auction items was $14,000. The big draw was something offered by Jake. That item featured a tour, tasting and lunch for four at Limerick Lane, followed by what Jake described as a one-of-a-kind “Limerick Lane Experience.” The next day Jake arranged for complimentary tastings at his friends at both Arista Winery and Mauritson Winery. When he saw the bidding get to $4,000, he offered to double it if the other bidder would also go to $4,000, which they gladly agreed to.

Wow, what an evening! Great wine, tasty food, and a net check to the club of $22,000! August was a great month.