Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance holds inaugural gala

Craig Suveg and his wife Karen offer their Suveg Cellars wine at the event.

The Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance and the city of Yucaipa presented their inaugural Summer Gala, a live auction and dinner designed to raise funds for building their wine industry, on  Saturday, July 20, at the Yucaipa Performing Arts Center.

YVWA board members greeted guests with sparkling wine as they entered the impressive foyer at the YPAC and checked in. Inside the venue, sparkling lighted wine bottles on table tops set the tone as guests mingled and enjoyed local wines.

YVWA Viticultural Director Preston Todd owns the largest vineyard in Yucaipa. Todd is one of the founding members of YVWA. He owns a 40-acre parcel in the North Bench area in Yucaipa.

“I personally would like to see more vineyards come in to town. The soil and climate here is so superior. And wine is year-round.”

Todd visits potential new winegrowers in Yucaipa and checks the soil, at no cost, for all YVWA members.

According to YVWA members Patricia and Michael Stubbs, the alliance is close to finalizing its American Viticultural Area (AVA)  designation. “We are finishing up the process and have been informed that our application is complete,” said Michael. “An AVA designation will put credibility to the wine.”

Guests enjoyed the wines and dinner.

“I’m happy to be here,” said attendee Lonni Granlund. “It’s just a wonderful asset for the city. We used to be an agricultural city here and I’m so excited to see more agriculture coming in. I hope all our hills are covered in vineyards.”

The live and silent auction was held with the intent to support the YVWA vision.

Craig Suveg, president of YVWA, provided the keynote speech at the gala.

“With the American viticultural area petition now officially perfected, this is, in my opinion, the most exciting time in our city’s history. The combined efforts of the city and the Yucaipa Valley Wine Alliance through our partnership agreement and the participation of Crafton Hills College to develop the Yucaipa Valley wine industry is something I am proud to be part of,” said Suveg. “Our pledge to vinify the valley with another 100 acres by July 2020 is certainly attainable and critical. However, the most important concept to embrace is that we usher in the dawn of a new era in the Yucaipa Valley. An era in which our children have a reason to stay; because there is opportunity. An era in which an industry can be passed down from one generation to another with pride; enriching our community with artisan craftsmanship and permanent jobs. An era where art, science and culture are elevated to a higher level of consciousness never before witnessed in the Valley. 17 years ago, I realized the potential of the Yucaipa Valley. Tonight, we realize that this journey is the right thing to do for Yucaipa.”

YVWA is a 501 c(6) non-profit organization founded in 2015 to support the development of a thriving wine industry in the Yucaipa Valley. Funds raised at the gala and subsequent fundraisers will support educational partnerships, economic development, industry awareness, viticultural services and a public policy creation. For more information, visit online at yvwa.org.


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