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Women for WineSense to hold holiday dinner at Raymond Vyds.

Submitted By: Marcia Macomber, November 02, 2014
The Napa | Sonoma chapter of Women for WineSense (WWS) will hold its annual holiday dinner and fundraiser, “Wine on America’s Holiday Table,” this year at Raymond Vineyards (, in St. Helena, Calif., on Dec. 11th at 6 p.m. “Ever since Jean-Charles Boisset gave Raymond such an attractive makeover to entice new visitors to the winery and Napa Valley surroundings, Women for WineSense has been trying to find the perfect event to hold there,” explained chapter president, Christine L. Mueller. “With the winery’s sumptuous appointments, particularly the Red Room and Crystal Cellar, it seemed a natural fit to celebrate the holidays and cap off our fundraising efforts for the year.”

The event will feature a three-course dinner by Chef Michel Cornu. This year guests will have an opportunity to not only bid on lots during the live auction but also purchase a portrait of themselves in their holiday finery taken at the event by professional photographer (and WWS member), M.J. Wickham of M.J. Wickham Photography & Videography ( One hundred percent of the nominal $20 portrait fee will go to WWS’ scholarship fund. Ms. Wickham is donating her services as part of the fundraiser.

The WWS scholarship program was started in 2002 by the chapter to help students pursue a career in the wine industry. It furthers WWS’s goals of engendering passion and education for wine making, marketing and enjoyment, and allows students who may not otherwise have access to the excellent educational institutions in Northern California.

Throughout the year the chapter hosts events and fundraisers for this cause. The four local schools offering wine business, enology and viticulture bachelor and master degrees, including Sonoma State University, Santa Rosa Junior College, Napa Valley College and U.C. Davis, solicit scholarship applications on WWS’s behalf. Each spring, the applications are reviewed and recipients are chosen in the summer with payments made available for the fall semesters.

Last year the WWS chapter raised more than $10,000 in scholarship award funds. “Just a few years ago we were barely raising $500 in scholarships for students in these schools,” noted Ms. Mueller. “Our goal this year has been to increase our awards to each of our schools,” she explained.

ABOUT RAYMOND VINEYARDS: The winery was founded in 1970. After purchasing Raymond in 2009, Jean-Charles Boisset transformed this winery into a lavish, uber-trendy winery with old world romance and charm. It is a dynamic destination dedicated to inspiring its guests’ passion for fine wine in an environment of exploration, creativity, and elegant whimsicality, where each in a series of diverse experiences progresses visitors into another world of discovery and exceptional wines. Further, Raymond’s Rutherford and St. Helena estate vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic, and 100% of the winery’s power comes from renewable solar energy.

ABOUT M.J. WICKHAM PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY: M. J. Wickham is a premium product and lifestyle photographer in Sonoma County and Napa Wine Country. With a full service studio in the countryside of Santa Rosa, and providing location photography services as well, M.J. is well known for her photographic work in both the food and wine industry in Northern California, publishing three volumes with Panache Partners; "Iconic Wineries of Napa," "Spectacular Wineries of Sonoma County" and "Spectacular Wineries of Napa Valley."

Early bird ticket sales for the fundraising dinner end by midnight on November 3rd or when the limited number of early bird tickets sell out, whichever comes first. All tickets for this event, from $95 - $155, are available online at and will be available for sale through November 24th.

Women for WineSense is a not-for-profit organization 501(c)6 formed in 1990 to help promote women working in the wine industry. WWS serves to help its members advance their careers in the wine industry by providing educational events, as well as aid wine enthusiasts in developing their wine knowledge. The Napa/Sonoma Chapter currently has more than 300 members of which 80% are professionals in the wine industry. To join or learn more about membership, please contact Ellen Reich Luchtel at or visit the WWS chapter’s website: