Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Cuisineist has a one on one with Archie McLaren , founder and chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic

We have been very fortunate over the many years we have been covering food and wine events to meet many great people from all over the world.
Recently, we met Archie McLaren and attended the 26th Annual Central Coast Wine Classic at the Dolphin Bay Resort and Spa in Shell Beach , California.

This was an event like none other we have attended. Its focus on education was unparalleled and we were overwhelmed by the quality and diversity of the events held all over the Central Coast.

We have focused on events , Chefs and Winemakers over the years. We have never did a focus piece on one particular person that was not either of the above until now. Archie McLaren exemplifies the world of food and wine. He is a true Renaissance man in every sense of the word and was truly an honor to be in his presence.

He is no stranger to the world of fine cuisine and rare wine. He is the founding Bailli of the Central Coast Chapter of the Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs, a member of the Wine & Food Society of San Francisco, the San Francisco Chapter of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin and the Marin County Chapter of the International Wine & Food Society. He is the former Cellarmaster of the Avila Bay Wine Society, and the former President of the Central Coast Wine Society.

He has served as Chairman/Executive Director of both the San Luis Obispo Vintners & Growers Association and the Paso Robles Westside Grand Crew. He is one of only two Americans inducted into the Austrian Wine Brotherhood, and one of the few Americans inducted into the Commanderie des Bontemps - Medoc et Graves & Sauternes et Barsac of Bordeaux in France. He has recently joined the Wine Committee of COPIA, the American Center for Wine Food & the Arts.

Archie has long been associated with charitable wine auctions. Not only did he serve for many years as the American Institute of Wine & Food's Rare & Fine Wine and Auction Consultant, he also served as a Director on its National Board. He is the Founder & Chairman of the Central Coast Wine Classic, a prestigious and comprehensive food and wine event, held each year in July and in its twenty-third year, which boasts Wine Spectator among its many significant sponsors. With auction proceeds often approaching or exceeding $1,000,000, the Central Coast Wine Classic is one of America's most successful charity wine auctions.

The Central Coast Wine Classic not only promotes the wine, culinary and hospitality industries, it also confers substantive proceeds upon a continually expanding number of healing, performing and studio arts organizations on the Central Coast of California.

Archie has assisted in launching charity auctions in Washington, D.C., Honolulu, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Mendocino, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara. His partner in life, Carissa Chappellet, an owner of Chappellet Winery in the Napa Valley and the winery's ambassador, and he have served as Chairs of the WYES Public Television Auction in New Orleans and are frequent donors to charitable wine auctions throughout the United States.

Archie is frequently invited to attend tastings of rare and collectible wines throughout the country and has participated in comprehensive vertical tastings of Chateaux d'Yquem, Latour, Cos d'Estournel, Leoville Las Cases and Cheval Blanc, as well as La Tache, Hermitage La Chapelle, Penfolds Grange, Vega Sicilia Unico, and Beaulieu Vineyards Georges de Latour Private Reserve, among a number of others. A long-time Champagne aficionado who has attended many tastings of rare Champagnes, Archie was Founder and Director of the International Festival of Methode Champenoise.

On San Luis Obispo & Santa Barbara Public Radio KCBX, Archie has hosted a fine wine program, the Wine Drinker's Guide to Indulgence, for twenty-three years, and has been a writer on fine wine for Adventure's in Dining, the San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune, New Times and Santa Barbara Magazine.

His education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University, a Juris Doctor of Law degree from the University of Memphis, and post-graduate studies in Humanities, English Literature and International Marketing at various universities.

Archie McLaren is involved in an array of civic activities, both in the arts and in the community in general. He has received the San Luis Obispo Visitors & Convention Bureau's Annual Tourism Award. He has twice served as the President of the Board of Directors of the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, and as a member of the Board of the San Luis Obispo County Arts Council. He was the Chairman of the Avila Beach Front Street Enhancement Committee that designed the promenade and park for the rejuvenation of the community of Avila Beach and is now the Chair of the committee that approves new projects for Avila Beach prior to their being approved at the county level.

His many accomplishments have resulted in his continuing inclusion in Who's Who in Media & Communications, Who's Who in the West, Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World.

Archie McLaren and writer, painter, photographer, musician, adventurer, Carissa Chappellet, live in Avila Beach, Big Sur, and Napa, California, where they enjoy hiking, bicycling and a variety of water and court sports.

The Central Coast Wine event will be on our calendar for next year. If you are in the trade or even an enthusiast of food and wine , this event should not be missed .

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