News Flash

August 28, 2015, Friday
  • Classes at U.P. Manila’s College of Arts and Sciences cancelled on Friday afternoon due to INC rally along Padre Faura St. 6 hours ago |
  • Rains in the area of Padre Faura St. in Manila fail to dampen the spirit of INC members who are protesting at DOJ. 6 hours ago |
  • CBCP says government should not underestimate the message of ‘no remittance day.’ 6 hours ago |
  • Construction of LRT 2 Masinag Extension to begin on Sept. 26. 6 hours ago |
  • Body of a missing seaman found in Tagaytay. 6 hours ago |
  • Palace calls for sobriety as more INC members troop to Padre Faura in Manila to join vigil in front of DOJ. 6 hours ago |
  • PNP’s estimate of INC members gathered in front of DOJ in Padre Faura St. in Manila is 4,000. 6 hours ago |
  • Justice Secretary Leila de Lima not yet seen at DOJ premises as of Friday afternoon. 8 hours ago |
  • Schedule of hearing on libel case filed by Makati Mayor Binay vs. Sen. Trillanes among those postponed on Friday due to INC rally at DOJ. 8 hours ago |
  • INC rally in front of DOJ has prompted the postponement of some hearings in the department. 8 hours ago |
  • Sen. Trillanes says he is ready to face any complaint at Senate Ethics Cmte. with regard to his hiring of over 40 consultants. 8 hours ago |
  • 10 members of the Philippine Marines injured in a battle with about 300 ASG bandits in Patikul, Sulu on Friday morning. 8 hours ago |
  • Radio broadcaster Cosme Diez Maestrado killed in an ambush in Misamis Occidental. 8 hours ago |
  • Anthony Taberna’s wife Rossel says it is ‘business as usual’ in their QC coffee shop after it was fired upon by gunmen. 8 hours ago |
  • Anthony Taberna’s wife Rossel thanks those who are concerned for them after the shooting incident in their QC coffee shop. 8 hours ago |
  • Migrante International says OFWs in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia & Italy are joining the ‘zero remittance day’ on Friday. 8 hours ago |
  • Migrante International leads a rally at Mendiola in Manila as part of their ‘zero remittance day’ protest. 8 hours ago |
  • OFW Amie Emuslan who has been in comatose in UAE for 4 years finally brought back home. 8 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino tells visiting Thai PM that Filipinos are offering their condolences to the Thai people who are Filipinos’ brothers. 8 hours ago |
  • Thai PM Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha expresses sympathy for the Filipino who sustained injury in her hearing during the Aug. 17 Bangkok blast. 8 hours ago |
  • Thai PM who is visiting PH says situation in Thailand now under control since the Aug. 17 Bangkok blast that killed 20 persons. 8 hours ago |
  • Gunmen shot and killed a Chinese tourist who was on board a taxi in Vito Cruz, Manila. 11 hours ago |
  • Anthony Taberna says cops are looking at his job as a media man as possible motive behind the shooting incident at his coffee shop. 11 hours ago |
  • 2 men seen on CCTV firing at the coffee shop of ABS-CBN broadcaster Anthony Taberna in Visayas Ave., QC. 11 hours ago |
  • Padre Faura St. in Manila still closed to traffic on Friday morning due to INC rally in front of DOJ. 11 hours ago |
  • Some INC members continue their vigil in front of DOJ for the second day. 11 hours ago |
  • Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano tells court that part of his privilege as senator includes giving statements on subjects of senate probes. 11 hours ago |
  • Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano asks Makati RTC to dismiss the P 200-million damage suit filed against him by VP Binay. 11 hours ago |
  • BOC Chief Bert Lina shows at a press conference how prohibited items are being smuggled into PH using balikbayan boxes. 11 hours ago |
  • Customs Commissioner Bert Lina says he is listening to the sentiments of OFWs. 12 hours ago |
  • Customs Chief Bert Lina holds a press conference explaining how BOC is handling and inspecting balikbayan boxes. 12 hours ago |

Winery concerts: A triumph of all the senses

By Sherwin Lao | Feb. 25, 2014 at 06:00pm

What does Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa, California, Chateau St. Michelle in Washington State, Leeuwin Estate in Margaret River, South Australia and Villa Maria Winery in Auckland, New Zealand have in common? Other than the obvious high quality wines, all these wineries are also proud hosts to much anticipated annual summer winery concerts in their respective cities. Winery concert as a concept basically brings wine, food and music in the idyllic backdrop of vineyards during summer. It is an amazing treat to all our senses.

The pioneer among these winery concerts would probably be the Robert Mondavi Winery, which started the first summer winery concert as early as 1969. The winery concerts of Robert Mondavi Winery have been renowned for symphony, jazz, R&B and even Pop music for over four decades now. Robert Mondavi, the man synonymous to Napa wines started this concert series with the Napa Valley Symphony Orchestra on its inaugural year. But since then, the lineup of musical performers became very diverse to encompass all musical genre, they included A-list names Tony Bennett, Gladys Knight, Olivia Newton-John, Dionne Warwick, Julio Iglesias, Smokey Robinson, Tears for Fears, Herbie Hancock, to the more recent hitmakers like Natasha Bedingfield, Josh Groban and Plain White Ts. The last Mondavi concerts, just June 2013 featured 80s icons, Huey Lewis and the News and Bruce Hornsby among others.

The Villa Maria Botrytis
Riesling is one of the
several wines available
in the concert

In Washington State, the largest winery of the region, Chateau St. Michelle started their winery concert tradition in 1984. The event is now one of Seattle’s best known concert venues for top performing artists. In Western Australia, Leeuwin Estate owner Denis Horgan started the Leeuwin concert series in his Margaret River vineyard in 1985. And just last February 15 and 16, the multi-Grammy awarded Canadian singer-songwriter superstar Diana Krall was the headline of Leeuwin Estate’s 30th anniversary concert.

The same time as the Diana Krall concert at Leeuwin Estate, I was in the Villa Maria Winery in Auckland New Zealand for the 8th Classic Hits Winery Tour, Auckland leg. The Classic Hits Winery Tour brings local New Zealand singing talents to different winery venues, showcasing the unparalleled synergy of wine, food, entertainment and the natural scenic beauty of the vineyards. This year’s Classic Hits Winery Tour had a great ensemble, featuring the talents of NZ legendary band, The Exponents, pop superstar Stan Walker and the Breaks Co-Op. The Villa Maria Auckland Winery is just one of the 16 winery venues across all of New Zealand wine country to host these concerts this summer of 2014.

First-hand experience

Yours truly with Sir
George Fistonich,
founder and chief
executive officer of
Villa Maria Winery

I was very thankful to Ian Clark and the rest of Villa Maria management for giving me a VIP access to the concert. This VIP access allowed me to join local wine media people and Villa Maria executives at the Vineyard Café, complete with free-flowing wines, and a sumptuous dinner buffet, while seating comfortably outdoor al fresco within earshot of the ongoing music and a periphery view of the concert stage. The general public on the other hand were seated outdoors on grassed areas, and asked to bring their own blankets and chairs. The concert started promptly at 5:00pm, with the group Breaks Co-Op, followed by the very popular Stan Walker, and for the finale, at around 8:00pm, The Exponents of vocalist Jordan Luck. This was the time most of us at the Vineyard Café decided to go closer to the concert stage to listen to this local phenomenal band. I was told that The Exponents were huge since the 1980s, and have several hits that were considered NZ anthems. And I was not disappointed at all. This band was very good, and reminded me a bit of INXS in the early days.

Among the songs that still ring in my head are: "Victoria," "Your Best Friend Loves Me Too," and "I’ll Say Goodbye Even Though I’m Blue." I could swear everyone in the venue knew the songs of The Exponents by heart - a testimony to the immense popularity of this band. I cannot help but also join in the singing of the chorus. The beats were catchy, the vocal was very good, and the lyrics were quite simple and very easy to remember.

Classic hits winery tour in Villa Maria
Auckland Winery

I had a blast! And despite a crazy traffic mayhem after the concert in most of Auckland—also due to rap superstar Eminem’s sold-out concert and a National Rugby League game, both also coincidentally happening at the same February 15 Saturday evening, I left the concert still humming the Exponents lyrics …. Darling…. I’ll say goodbye… even though I’m blue ….. even though I’m blue…

Several of the Villa Maria wines from several NZ wine regions are available in the Philippines through the local exclusive distributor, Wine Depot. For more information, please call the Wine Depot hotline at (02)890-1041 or visit their website at

For comments, inquiries, wine event coverage, wine consultancy and other wine related concerns, please e-mail me at I am a proud member of the Federation Internationale des Journalists et Ecrivains du Vin et des Spiritueux or FIJEV since 2010. You can also follow me on twitter at



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