Microbrews at the Vine 2 Wine Classic

Circle of Hope, Events, Uncategorized, Vine 2 Wine ClassicLeave a Comment

I like beer. No, that is not really true. What is true is that I like beer that tastes good. At one time, good domestically produced beer was hard to find. The only way I could get a good beer was to buy an import. Then, a magic thing happened. The Craft Beer movement was born. Micro-breweries started popping up. Great domestic beer, like great domestic wine, could be had.

In Germany, they actually have a law that governs what the ingredients of beer can be. This law is The Reinheitsgebot, better known as the German Beer Purity Law, that forms the foundation of German brewing. The law states that “beer can only be brewed with barley malt, hops, yeast, and water.” Four ingredients.  That struck me as a straightforward set of restrictions.

Then I went to find out what was in a major beer made here. A well-known company’s  website proudly proclaims, “Barley malt, rice, hops, yeast, and water.” Five ingredients.

I cannot count the number of times, when traveling around our country, that I have heard someone say that they would like a good fill in this blankbeer, but the blank was always, German, or Dutch, or…..

When traveling outside our country, I cannot count the number of times I heard people say they really wanted a good American beer, because in the past, no one ever did. It was that extra ingredient. It changed the taste, the “mouth feel”, the experience. It just was not as good.

That changed with the Craft Beer movement.

An American craft brewer is defined as a small, independent and traditional brewer. That might lead to the idea that this is just a backyard endeavor. However, that would not be true.

Craft brewers sold an estimated 11,468,152 barrels of beer in 2011.

The craft brewing sales share in 2011 was 5.7% by volume and 9.1% by dollars.

It is obvious that Craft Beers are a growing segment, and when I taste them, I know why, and I am sure, when you taste them you will too!

At the Vine2Wine Classic, we will have not just fine wines, but fine Craft Beer in our Beer Garden of Hope.

Steve Cravitz is the Assistant Director of Wine for the 2012 Vine 2 Wine Classic.  He can be reached at stevecravitz@circleofhopeinc.org.

Food and Wine Pairings: BBQ and Barbera

Circle of Hope, Events, Uncategorized, Vine 2 Wine ClassicLeave a Comment

Hi everyone. My name is Steve Cravitz. As a teacher and artisan – not to mention the Assistant Director of Wine for the Vine 2 Wine Classic – my students and customers who know me, and know where my heart is, always ask me to recommend what wine they should serve with whatever food they are serving. With that in mind, and with the wonderful Vine 2 Wine Classic coming up, I wanted to write this column about suggestions for wine and food pairings.

As I write this, the weather is getting warmer and warmer which moves me outside for barbeque and grilling. Let’s focus on the different kinds of foods that see my grill, and the wines that make a wonderful marriage with them. As is the case with any good relationship, the total (in this case, the wine and the food together) is greater than the sum of the parts. So, onward.

When I think of barbeque, my mind goes to ribs, dripping with tangy sauce. You know, the finger-licking kind. What are my favorite wines to pair with this? Here are two of my favorites:

A Brut Rose Sparkling Wine. My taste tends toward a good California version, but I would not be against good Rose Champagne. On a warm summer night, beneath the stars and the moon, this one would be my first choice.

However, this is still only May. In May, we have the warm days, but cool nights, and my heart goes to Barbera. The Barbera grape is grown extensively in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, and with modern oak barreling, creates a wonderful marriage with my favorite barbeque ribs. I wonder what the Italian wine makers would say?

If you have any foods you are wondering what wines to serve, please post your question in the comments, or on our Facebook page, and I will try to answer you in an upcoming column!

Steve Cravitz is the Assistant Director of Wine for the 2012 Vine 2 Wine Classic.  He can be reached at stevecravitz@circleofhopeinc.org.

Popping the Cork on the Vine 2 Wine Classic

Circle of Hope, Events, Vine 2 Wine ClassicLeave a Comment

Circle of Hope is pleased to introduce a special guest columnist, Russ Briley.  Russ writes a lifestyle column on wine for the Ventura County Star.  He is owner and winemaker of Nuggucciet Cellars’ artisanal pinot noirs.  Nuggucciet Cellars will be pouring at this year’s Vine 2 Wine Classic, to be held on August 18, 2012.  For more information about the event, please visit www.vine2wineclassic.com.

Popping the cork on rare, special wine
by Russ Briley

A little more than a year ago my wife and I attended an art/wine festival. It  had a silent auction that featured many items — including some pretty great  wines.

I came across a 1975 Chateau Mouton Rothschild, a first-growth Bordeaux from  France. The minimum bid was $175. A few years back I would have kept walking and  thinking to myself “what nut would ever pay $175 for a bottle of wine?” Now I  know this was a great bargain. I quickly got on my Blackberry and saw that this  wine was retailing from $400 to $1,000 a bottle.

I put in the minimum bid, not expecting to get it. The next day I got a call  that my bid was the highest at $175. I was very excited, knowing that this might  be my first and last opportunity to possess a wine of this magnitude and  reputation.

I could not drink this alone, so a few weeks ago some members of our wine  club met at our friend’s timeshare condo in Ventura for a night of wine and  food. I pulled out the 1975 bottle and listened to the many engaging “oooohs”  and “aaaahs.” I was the hero who brought the first-growth Bordeaux.

Now came the tricky part — getting the cork out without damaging it or  getting it in the wine. After removing the foil I could see that the cork looked  like it was welded to the bottle.

Those of you who have read some of my earlier columns are probably asking,  “He did have someone else open it, didn’t he?”

Well, I tried but everyone declined for fear of messing it up, or for the  pleasure of watching me attempt to do it. I courageously put the corkscrew into  the cork and started turning it ever so slowly. I started feeling more confident  with every slow turn of the corkscrew. I felt I was at the proper point where I  could start pulling the cork out. However the cork, disagreed. As I started  pulling the cork out, I discovered that it was indeed welded to the bottle. The  more I tried the worse it got.

I looked to my friends and got the “It’s your wine” look. I was on my own. I  had a choice — butcher the cork completely or commit the wine sin and push the  cork into the bottle. I chose the latter, as I knew I could get the cork out of  the bottle without breaking the bottle because of a trick I had learned.

I then tried to strain the wine through a coffee filter into a decanter. This  proved to be a disaster, or comedy relief depending on if you didn’t care that  much about the wine or if you were one of my wine snob friends. I watched a few  ounces end up on the table and not in the decanter.

When you open a very old bottle like we did you have very little time to  drink it because when the air hits the wine it starts to affect it and could in  a short time turn an outstanding wine into something resembling a very nice red  vinegar dressing.

We poured the wine and while we were all drinking “around” the floating cork  we all agreed it was probably one of the best wines we ever tasted. The flavors  changed minute by minute and the complexity of the wine was phenomenal.

Was it worth the money? Yes! Would I do anything different? Yes, invite  somebody who knows how to open an old bottle of wine.

This column has been republished with permission from the Ventura County Star.

Local Royalty to Walk for Circle of Hope

UncategorizedLeave a Comment

On Saturday, April 21st, Circle of Hope will host its eighth annual 5K Walk for Hope at the Castaic Lake Lower Lagoon. Honored at this year’s walk are event princesses Denise Bailey, Linda Petrie and Viola Franks, all SCV breast cancer survivors who want to give back in gratitude to the community.

“Circle of Hope has been the highlight of my cancer [experience],” affirms Denise Bailey, a single mother first diagnosed after her August 2011 mammogram. The 50-year-old Valencia resident has the added burden of a ten-year battle with multiple sclerosis. She was referred to Circle of Hope by a local breast care specialist who was present when Bailey received her diagnosis. When the organization stepped up with support, she said, “all I had to worry about was getting well.”

Linda Petrie underwent a double mastectomy when she was found to be HER2 positive after her October 2010 diagnosis. While anticipating the insurmountable financial repercussions of cancer treatment, Linda searched for help wherever she could, turning up little more than gas money and advice. Finding she didn’t meet the criteria for most public aid, the former retail manager explained, “I was shaken to the core wondering how I could pay for it all.”

Currently experiencing her second bout with metastatic breast cancer, Viola Franks summed up her philosophy that, “sometimes you just have to accept what happens and trust your doctor.” Viola had just turned 50 in March of 2008 when her Stage 3 cancer was discovered. After successful treatment that included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, the Canyon Country mother of two thought she was home free. When she developed unrelenting back pain in the fall of 2010, doctors found a tumor in the lining of her lung, large enough to have cracked her rib.

What advice would they give the newly diagnosed? “Believe you’ll be okay,” says Bailey, who adds that staying positive is paramount to recovery. Petrie tells others, “Keep in touch with the world. Don’t hide.”

Franks, who is currently between treatments while she awaits further test results, says she feels blessed to have found Circle of Hope, a “heaven sent blessing for me and my family. Without their help I don’t know where we would be.” Petrie and Bailey agree.

All three princesses will be walking on April 21st and hope to raise public awareness and support for Circle of Hope which has assisted uninsured and underinsured breast cancer patients and their families within the Santa Clarita Valley with financial, emotional and educational support services since 2004. 100% of the proceeds raised are donated to the SCV community to support its breast cancer patients and their families. For more information regarding COH and its many services, visit their website at www.circleofhopeinc.org.

Eighth Annual 5K Walk for Hope, 8 am – 2 pm, Castaic Lake Lower Lagoon, 32132 Castaic Lake Drive, Castaic, 91384. Adult registration $30.00, Youth registration (13 & under) $15.00, Dogs $5.00. Early registration ends April 15. Register online atwww.CircleofHopeInc.org/events/5k-walk

by Pam Ripling


Thank You For Supporting the Circle of Hope Afternoon Tea

Circle of Hope, EventsLeave a Comment

We can not express our gratitude enough for all those who helped support Circle of Hope at the 8th Annual Afternoon Tea on October 15th. With nearly 300 guests, this was our largest Tea to date! So many different individuals and business had an important role in making the event a success, and we would like to take the time to acknowledge these supporters.

We would like to thank our event sponsors, The Walking Company and Patterson Dental. In addition to event sponsors, each individual tea room was sponsored. We would also like to recognize Louise Schultz, SCV Business Solutions Bookkeeping & Payroll, Jim Seipel, Colleen Shaffer, Center for Breast Care, Inc., Dr. Dena Maloney, Visiting Angels, Salmassian Orthodontics, Wednesday Lunch Group, Sherwin-Williams (Bonny Peck), Terry Bucknall, Terri Conrad Designs, Stella & Dot, Via Promotionals, Nick Rose & Associates, Pat News Healthcare, Evelyne Vandersande, Ray Tippet, Compassionate Solutions, Lia Sophia Jewelry by Cathy Zimmerman, H20 Construction, Inc., Maxine Tobey, Bridgeport Aesthetic Dentistry, Transformation Pros, Santa Clarita Sunrise Rotary Club, Z Mei, Beacon Street Books, Exit Realty SCV, M & W Gourmet Foods, Renaissance Home, and HotSpotSCV.com. Thank you for your support!

Each of the lovely 32 tea rooms were decorated by volunteers. We appreciate The Coffee YaYas, Kathy Rutherford, Pam Koch, Colleen Shaffer, Chris Miller, Ellen Fox, Jocey Hogan, T. Katz, Janet Hinde, The Patterson Dental Chicas for Chi Chi’s Committee, Jeannie Pawlak, Gretchen Lupica, Darla Hoback, Theresa Stewart, Lynne Pearson, Debbie Weir, Nicole Weir, Pam Blackman, Liz Seipel, Colleen Knopf, Sandra Knopf, Sylvia Giammarco, Team Pink student volunteers, Deborah Gardiner, and Wendy Thrush for dedicated their time and creativity in decorating such lovely tea rooms.

A special thank you to all our volunteers, including the Team Pink students. Everyone did a fantastic job, and we appreciate the time dedication.

Thank you our lovely vendors (David Neubauer, Colene Riffo, Maile Gray, Linda Brierly, Benita Macias), musicians (Dr. Jane Grothe and John Nevolo), and to all who donated items and services to our silent auction and raffle.

And finally, thank you to those who attended the event. It’s your support, year after year, that has allowed for Circle of Hope to continue to support breast cancer patients in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Circle of Hope Clients

Circle of Hope clients enjoying the Afternoon Tea.

A letter from a client:

Thank you so very much for having me at your Tea on Saturday. It was one of the most beautiful events, really enjoyed all of the tables and getting to meet some other survivors. I also appreciate the time and work that was put into such a wonderful day. As I have said, your organization is the greatest. What you have done for me and so many others way out does all the others [organizations].

Thank you with love from the bottom of my heart.


The Signal Factoids #6-10

Breast Cancer Factoids, ResourcesLeave a Comment


6. Results from randomized clinical trials and other studies show that screening mammography can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 74, especially for those over age 50.  National Cancer Institute

 Who gets cancer

7. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.  Cancer Facts and Figures 2011, American Cancer Society

8. Although rare, breast cancer occurs in men.  In 2011, it is estimated there will be 2,140 new cases of male breast cancer in the United States.  National Cancer Institute

9. In the United States it is estimated there will be 230,480 new female breast cancer cases in 2011.  National Cancer Institute

10. Young women get breast cancer too.  Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women ages 15 to 44.  Approximately 11,100 women age 40 and under will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.  Young Survivor Coalition (YSC)

The Signal Factoids #1-5

Breast Cancer Factoids, ResourcesLeave a Comment

Protective and Risk Factors

  1. Obesity increases the risk of breast, endometrial, colorectal, kidney, and esophageal cancer.  (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  2. The use of alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk of getting breast cancer. Women who have one drink a day have a very small increased risk. Those who have 2 to 5 drinks daily have about 1½ times the risk of women who drink no alcohol.  (via American Cancer Society)
  3. People are 66% less likely to die from cancer if they engage in four healthy behaviors.  Reduce your risk by not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and limiting alcohol consumption. (via National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III Mortality Study)
  4. Know Your Family History.  A woman’s chance of developing breast cancer increases if her mother, sister, and/or daughter have been diagnosed with the disease, especially if they were diagnosed before age 50. Having a close male blood relative with breast cancer also increases a woman’s risk of developing the disease.  (via National Cancer Institute)
  5. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are human genes known as tumor suppressors.  Harmful mutations of these genes have been linked to hereditary breast cancer and ovarian cancer.  (via National Cancer Institute)

Circle of Hope is sponsoring 21 Factoids in The Signal as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Circle of Hope’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month Events and Activities

Circle of Hope, EventsLeave a Comment

October is a National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to educating the public about breast cancer and honoring those who have been affected by this disease. Needless to say, it is a very busy (but fun!) month ahead for us at Circle of Hope.

Signal Subscribers, be on the look out for Circle of Hope sponsored factoids. The Signal will be featuring 21 breast cancer factoids throughout the entire month. These snippets are to provide information on protective factors, risk factors, screening, types of breast cancer, and other pertinent details. Factoids will also be posted to our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Circle of Hope will be featuring Barb Heinzel’s “Ease the Journey Tips.” Barb is our Director of Program & Services and a breast cancer survivor. Barb wrote these tips for both breast cancer patients and their caregivers to give personal insight on what helped her through her journey to survivorship.

Commemorate a loved one who has battled breast cancer by submitting a tribute to be displayed on the Wall of Honor.

The 8th Annual Circle of Hope Tea will be taking place on October 15th, from 1-4 p.m. at a private Sand Canyon Estate. You are cordially invited to join us for “A Year in the Garden of Hope.” We will be celebrating a year’s worth of holidays, seasons, and festivities with decorated tea rooms that host 8 to 10 people. Tickets are sill available. We look forward to seeing you at this Circle of Hope tradition.

We are beyond grateful for the generous support of local businesses and organizations. In addition to our Tea, we have six fundraising events and opportunities this month!

  • For every painting job scheduled in the month of October, A. Allbright Painting will give back 10% of the project cost as part of its Paint It Pink program. The first 5% (up to $100) will be donated to Circle of Hope in honor or memory of anyone you choose. The remaining 5% (up to $100) will be given back to you, the customer. In this way, as you enhance the beauty of your home, you also support families affected by breast cancer and receive a little cash reward! You can download the flyer here.
  • Brighton Collectibles has supported breast cancer charities for almost a decade with its Power of Pink bracelets. For each bracelet purchased at the Valencia store, $5 will be donated to Circle of Hope. These bracelets are beautiful keepsakes and sell out quickly! Brighton Collectibles is located at the Valencia Westfield Shopping Center on Level 2 in the new Patios section.
  • The Soroptimist Soroptimist International of Santa Clarita Valley will be hosting its 8th Annual Bras for a Cause on October 2nd, from 12:00-3:00 p.m. at the Oaks Grille-Tournament Players Club. This year’s theme is “Denim and Diamond Hoe-Down.” Tickets include general admission, 1 drink ticket, and a commemorative wine glass. Tickets are available for $65.00 at the Soroptimist’s website.
  •  Mark and Brian from 95.5 KLOS are holding their 1st Annual OktoberBrest as a celebration of breast, body, health, and longevity. The event will be taking place on Saturday, October 8th at the Grove at Anaheim. Entertainment includes live tributes to the music of Queen and Journey and other fun. This is a big event and we are so excited to be involved! Click here for more information.

  • Celebrity Beauty Supply & Salon will be having live demonstrations, refreshments, free gifts, and all store items available for 15-50% off on October 11th. Come to the Copperhill Store Location (23868 Copperhill Dr.) on October 11th from 3:00-8:00 p.m. 5% of all sales will be donated to Circle of Hope. Download the flyer for more information.
  • Come join us on October 19thfrom 5:00-8:00 p.m. at the Souplantation located on Town Center Drive. 20% of the sales generated by Circle of Hope will be donated to us. Please note that:
    1. You must purchase a beverage with meal in order for us to receive credit.
    2. Coupons or discounts cannot be used.
    3. You must present this flyer at the time of purchase.

Did we mention that we have a lot going on for the month of October? We are so fortunate for these opportunities to assist in furthering our mission and increasing breast cancer awareness. Thank you to all who have dedicated their time and services to make this possible.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 661.254.5218 or info@circleofhopeinc.org.