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The Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest has named Silver Oak Cellars of California as the Signature Vintner for the 2009 Wine & Food Fest Chef Vintner dinners and Grand Tasting, February 27 and 28, 2009.

“Silver Oak Cellars has been making extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignon for over 35 years,” said Steve Machiz, M.D., Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest chairman. “With estates in both Napa Valley and in Alexander Valley, Silver Oak Cellars brings some of the very best of California wines to the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest.”

Silver Oak Cellars crafts its Cabernet Sauvignon to be both drinkable when it is released, and to grow more luxurious over time. The wine’s extended aging process — first in a barrel, then in a bottle — helps provide its flavors.

In addition to Silver Oak Cellars, the 2009 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest is slated for a number of special, featured wineries. “We plan to go below the radar with some of the wineries,” said Machiz. “Because they’re so good and their production is so limited, some of these wines are only available at exclusive restaurants. We’re privileged to offer several of these ‘secret Napa wines’ at our Chef Vintner dinners and Grand Tasting.”

The Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest is pleased to also feature these very fine wineries:

Verite Winery is known for three signature red wines: La Desire, La Muse, and La Joie. Best described as a combination of “old world experience and new world fruit,” the three distinct European-style blends are created by winemaker Pierre Seillan from small, carefully-selected vineyard blocks.

Jonata Winery is under the same ownership as the legendary Screaming Eagle winery in Napa. Located on 600 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley, the winery has achieved widespread recognition over the last three years for their Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and red blends.

Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley was founded over 30 years ago. Now under the direction of Dennis Cakebread and winemaker Julianne Laks, the winery crafts a complete range of award-winning estate blended and single-vineyard white and red wines.

Ponzi Vineyards has the distinction of being our only winery not from California. Since the 1960s the family has been crafting highly-regarded Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and other varietals in the prime winegrowing area of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Fisher Vineyards creates both red and white wines by following two distinct but complementary winemaking approaches.  One group is crafted from single vineyards, expressing the true character of the soil and climate. The other employs the art of blending small lots from separate estate vineyards and varietals, creating harmony and complexity.

BR Cohn Winery was founded by Bruce Cohn in 1984. Located in the heart of the Sonoma wine country, the winery produces a large range of varietal wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.

The V Madrone Vineyard is on a prime hillside on Napa’s Route 29. The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon from this boutique winery, received a 93 point rating from Wine Enthusiast magazine. The team of Chris and Pauline Tilley produces under 600 cases a year.

Garric Cellars is a labor of love by partners Gary Ochwat and Ricardo Cajulis. Sourcing prime fruit from well-known vineyards, and crafting the wine in a state of the art facility, their powerful Cabernet Sauvignon was recently written up in Wine Spectator magazine.

Andrew Geoffrey produces only 1,300 cases a year of high-end Bordeaux-blend Napa Cabernet from a spectacular vineyard at the top of Diamond Mountain. The winery has achieved a consistent record of success over the last four vintages.

The 2009 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest begins on Friday, February 27 with Chef Vintner dinners at select area homes and continues on Saturday afternoon, February 28 with a Grand Tasting and Auction in the Beach Clubhouse at Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club, a residential waterfront resort community with over 700 acres of contiguous aquamarine freshwater lakes, three miles of private, white sandy beach and “Signature” Championship Golf. Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club is located in Miromar Lakes, just north of Naples.

The Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest is a signature event of the SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides funding to local charities serving local children.

For more information about Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest: or information on sponsorship or ticket sales, call 239-432-9722.