The best wines go toward education

The Wooden Floor will host its annual Keep the Promise benefit to help youths get to college.

September 20, 2012|By Heather Youmans
  • Students perform during The Wooden Floor's 29th annual concert at the Irvine Barclay Theatre in 2012.
Students perform during The Wooden Floor's 29th… (KEVIN P. CASEY )

Wine lovers will help underserved youth get to college during the Wooden Floor's sixth annual Keep the Promise wine tasting benefit.

Proceeds will go to the Santa Ana-based after-school program, which provides arts and educational programs to 375 low-income youth annually.

Community support enables year-round academic programs, pre-collegiate mentoring, college scholarships and family services to be offered free of charge.

Former Wooden Floor board member John Markley and his wife, Janice, created Keep the Promise to host the most distinguished wine tasting in Orange County, and in turn, generate the most impact for the students.

"Generally, they [attendees] come away from the event with a real, clear understanding of what the Wooden Floor is trying to accomplish with the students," Executive Director and Co-Chief Executive Dawn Reese said in a phone interview. "And, for us it's a great opportunity to get the word out about the great work we are doing in arts education and family services with our youth."


The past two wine tastings sold out. And last year, 300 attendees raised $150,000 for the students. This year's fundraising goal is $200,000, John Markley said.

"I think we're going to make it," he said. "It seems to be growing in popularity and it's fun. And, as people have learned more about the Wooden Floor, they really have taken an interest in the concept."

During the event, attendees will taste six reds and six whites. The evening will feature a blind taste test competition, opportunity drawings, a silent auction and hor d'orves paired with some of the wines.

Artistic Director and Co-Chief Executive Melanie Ríos Glaser, Reese, board Chairman Ernesto Vasquez and John Markley will present.

Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne Winery will attend, along with six other wine owners, John Markley said.

In preparation for the event, John Markley scoured the globe to find the best wines — most of which are coming from California and Oregon. All wines were hand selected — sometimes years in advance — and rated at least 95 points by the Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Burghound or Stephen Tanzer.

"He's been working with master sommelier Steven Poe," Reese said. "He's one of only 194 sommeliers worldwide. And, John — on his own — is really collecting all of the wines, as well."

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