Thursday, March 3, 2011

Grand Plans

The date of April 8th is well within sight now and plans are underway for a really fun event. Thanks to my friend and co-worker Susie Staiko, we have found a great company in San Francisco that is dedicated to ensuring that events such as 40for40 go off without a hitch - Cappa & Graham.

Cappa & Graham is a member of what is referred to as the DMC Network - Destination Management Companies. DMC companies got their start before rollerboards and overhead bins, in the days when travelers went on long holidays by coach, by train, and by boat. Without the convenience of today's amenities, travelers would take huge travel chests along with them and often would return home bringing their purchased prizes big and small. As they would land at ports or arrive at stations, the local DMC would do the heavy lifting so that the travel chests would arrive safely at the hotel and the ladies and gentlemen could concentrate on the more important tasks of taking in the local culture and flashing a bit of social pomp in their wake.

Now while we don't expect any large travel chests from our 40for40 guests, we do intend to organize an event that will be memorable in experience and flawless in execution, while achieving our overarching goal to raise awareness for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. Cappa & Graham has really helped us put this together.

Since the site of the run is the Napa and Sonoma valleys in California, the fruit of the local farmers' labor will play a central roll in the activities for our guests. While I am working up a sweat on the open road, our guests will enjoy a private tour of two local wineries that are coordinated with the route. First stop is the beautiful Chateau at Domaine Carneros perched atop the ridge separating Napa from Sonoma. After enjoying some sparkling wine and local cheeses, our team will depart to Norther Sonoma for a pairing extravaganza featuring the wines and hospitality of the Mayo Family Winery.

As the course is laid out, Mayo is next to mile 38 and if I have trained well enough and am keeping to the schedule, our wine aficionados will get to great me as I turn home toward the final stop at Benziger Family Winery. It won't be an easy task as the last mile climbs up from the quaint town of Glen Ellen up almost 200 meters on the same road that Jack London himself traveled in years past. While I am on my way, our team will be able to take a tour of the Benziger vineyards and the beautiful gardens that are the centerpiece to their organic growing techniques.

Benziger won't just be the site for the finish line. Our group will return that evening for a private dinner in the caves at Benziger, featuring the produce of local chefs and the local vintner as well. With any luck we will have a little energy left in the tank to enjoy the luxurious surroundings of Fairmont's Sonoma Mission Inn that evening.

Thanks again to Josiline and her team. We are looking forward to April 8th. It should be a memorable event.

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