Charity Spotlight: Uncorking Rare Wines for Charity Event at Big Canyon

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Many charity events these days are focused on wine, and why not? Fine wines are appreciated by philanthropists and wine connoisseurs (often one and the same), and the magic elixir can coax donations from those relishing a rare 100-point wine.

And a 100-point wine is among those available to taste at The Wooden Floor’s 12th Annual Keep the Promise Wine Tasting Benefit on September 13 at Big Canyon Country Club.   

A dozen different wines – six red and six white – will be available for tasting, but here’s the catch: the wines are all in paper bags so you taste them blind. Everyone is given a score sheet with the list of wines, so you can try and guess the wines based on their characteristics.

John and Janice Markley

Longtime Wooden Floor supporters John and Janice Markley of Laguna Beach have once again collected and donated over 350 bottles of exquisite wines to be uncorked at the event.

The Markleys have been doing this every year for The Wooden Floor, which was founded in 1983 as St. Joseph Ballet but changed its name several years ago. The Wooden Floor transforms the lives of young people in low-income communities through the power of dance and access to higher education.

The Markleys use their contacts and search for years to amass enough bottles to be served to the more than 300 attendees at the Keep the Promise event.

Guests will taste wines ranked in the top one to five percent of their regions, including France, Italy, Germany, Chile, Australia, and California.

This year’s collection features wine averaging 97 points, including one wine valued at $350 per bottle and rated 100 points, the highest possible rating on a scale popularized by influential wine critic Robert Parker.

Sommelier Steven Poe of Big Canyon

Guests of Keep the Promise enjoy a strolling blind wine tasting competition, signature small plates, auctions and opportunity drawings, and giving opportunities.

The benefit event sells out each year—great news for The Wooden Floor, which brings together community leaders and philanthropists to raise funds for The Wooden Floor’s ongoing success rate of having 100 percent of its graduates complete high school on time and immediately enroll in higher education, which is more than double that of their socioeconomic peers. Most of the organization’s graduates come from extremely low-income backgrounds and are the first in their families to go to college.

“We are very proud that The Wooden Floor continues to see a 100 percent high school graduation and college enrollment rate from our alumni.” says Chief Executive Officer, Dawn S. Reese. “As the size of our graduating classes increase, so has the need for the tools and resources we provide for these young people to be successful in school and in life. We are grateful for the support we receive from sponsors and attendees, so we are able to keep the promise we make to each of our students, that from here, you can step anywhere.”

The wines to taste this year:

2009 Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta  Colchagua Valley, Chile. A blend of Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Wine Spectator Rated: 96 pts.   Retail Value: $92.

2011 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Le Pavillon Rhone, France. Wine Advocate Rated:  100 pts. Retail Value:  $350.

2009 Chateau Malescot St. Exupery  Margaux, France. Wine Advocate Rated: 96 pts. Retail Value: $123.

2012 Realm “The Bard” Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley. Classic Cabernet Sauvignon. Wine Advocate Rated: 99 pts. Retail Value: $300.

2010 Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz  South Australia. James Suckling Rated: 98 pts. Retail Value: $123.

2009 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia Tuscany, Italy. James Suckling Rated: 98 pts. Retail Value: $215.

2005 Kante Vitovska Selezione Friuli, Italy. Antonio Galloni Rated: 95+ pts. Retail Value: $60.

2010 Louis Jadot Corton-Charlemagne Burgundy, France. Stephen Tanzer Rated: 96 pts. Retail Value: $165.

2013 Morlet Coup de Coeur Chardonnay Sonoma County. Wine Advocate Rated:  98+ pts. Retail Value: $168.

2013 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Ulises Valdez Vineyard Sonoma County. Wine Advocate Rated: 97 pts. Retail Value: $81.

2014 Stonestreet Chardonnay Gravel Bench Sonoma County. Wine Advocate Rated:  98 pts.   Retail Value:  $65

2013 Wolfer Goldgrube Riesling Auslese Gold Capsule Mosel, Germany. Wine Advocate Rated: 96 pts. Retail Value: $120.

The 12th Annual Keep the Promise Wine Tasting Benefit is Thursday, September 13, 2018, 6 p.m. at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach. Cost is $350 per person ($250 is tax deductible).

RSVP at (714) 541-8314, or visit


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