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Jimmy V Wine Celebration Report and Photos!

Boswell and his wife, Cindy, and their newly three-year old daughter, Cameron, recently attended the Jimmy V Wine Celebration in Napa Valley that was hosted by Coach K and Mickie. Here’s his report, along with pictures (posted at the bottom) he took at the event. Click on the thumbnails for a larger picture. Cheers!

Thursday, August 7

The events started with a private dinner for friends of Duke at Duckhorn Winery in St. Helena. We were pleased to see our Mt. Everest-climbing friend and DBR loyalist, Alison Levine, in attendance. Alison is simply doing great. She left Goldman Sachs in May to become a highly sought-after motivational speaker at corporate conferences. Recently, she was tapped to join Arnold Schwarzeneggar’s gubernatorial campaign and had to catch a 6:00am flight Friday morning for Los Angeles, where she’s setting up shop for the next couple of months.

We sat a table with Mark Beringer, who is the head winemaker for Duckhorn. Mark is a fifth-generation member of the Beringer family, whose name is synonymous with quality Napa wines. Mark is a truly wonderful guy who has adopted Duke as “his team” and has held wine tastings in Durham. He’s also planning to be in New York City for the upcoming Duke/Texas game and has become good friend with the Krzyzewski family. He was most generous to open up his winery to us for a remarkable dinner that featured wines paired with each course. Duckhorn is know especially for its wonderful Merlots.

Coach K and his family joined us after dinner for dessert and more wine. He was unable to attend the dinner because he had a Jimmy V Foundation board dinner to attend instead.

Friday, August 8

Friday was a day for touring the vineyards of Napa Valley and sampling wines at many. Our favorite was Del Dotto winery. Rather than giving a tour of how wines are made, they take you right into their candlelit cellars (carved out in the 1880’s by Chinese immigrants) where they tap into the barrels, letting you sample about 15 different wines. Definitely have a designated driver when you go there!

For dinner, attendees of the Wine Celebration had a choice of four or five vineyards to choose from as the locale for their meal. We went to Kuleto Winery, located about 20 minutes east of Yountville. Although it’s 20 minutes away, it’s another 20 minutes literally from the front gate to the vineyard itself, which is atop a mountain overlooking the wine country. It was a breathtaking and at times scary drive around hairpin turns to the top.

We sat with Coach K’s three daughters – Debbie (no wine for Debbie, she's expecting identical twin girls in mid-December), Lindy, and Jamie – and Debbie’s husband Pete and Lindy’s husband Steve. Prior to the dinner, we watched a replay of Jim Valvano’s famous speech at the ESPY Awards and raised our glasses in honor of him. Coach K spoke to the crowd of about 100 people during the dinner as well.

Saturday, August 9

Attendees had a variety of choices of events to attend – golf, an historic tour, a wine-tasting tour, a class from the Culinary Institute of America, to name a few. That evening the silent and live auction, along with dinner, was held at Niebaum-Coppola Winery, owned by film director Francis Ford Coppola. Several hundred people attended. The silent auction consisted of numerous items, especially rare wines that went for hundreds and even thousands of dollars. We were also able to tour Coppola’s film museum, which held his Oscars, the desk from The Godfather, costumes from Dracula. and the car from Tucker.

Dinner and the live auction were held outside. It was a beautiful evening. Coach K gave a dramatic speech on the need to get “angry” to fight cancer. Pam Valvano was introduced. ESPN’s Roy Firestone gave a brilliant and incredibly funny show filled with songs and impersonations (honest, this guy is really talented). We all toasted Jim Valvano and his legacy and, at our table, also toasted the memory of Rory Deutsch, the young son of Mindy and Ross Deutsch who passed away from a pediatric brain tumor and in whose memory, the Deutsch’s have devoted their entire lives to establishing a foundation to combat those cancers. The Deutsch’s sat at our table.

It was stunning to see the prices of the live auction items commanded. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised and more pledged to make this one of the most successful fundraisers ever in the history of the Jimmy V Foundation. After dinner, we all headed back to the resort for music, dancing, more wine (of course), and great friendship, with it finally ending around 4:30am.

It was a terrific event, and I would urge any of you who are interested to consider attending next year. Special mention should also be made to the headquarter lodgings at The Villagio in Yountville – a beautiful resort in a Northern Italian style. It’s a surprisingly affordable weekend, and a good portion of it is tax-deductible.

Saturday, August 10

Time to check out and say goodbye to all of our friends, new and old. Cameron turned three today and got birthday wishes from Duke's "hoop ball" coach and family. Coach K also promised, with an evil smile, to put me on Wojo's team at the upcoming Coach K Academy fantasy camp. Coach said, "Wojo runs full court all the time. It will be good to work off the wine." Thanks, Coach! Yikes!

Click on the following pictures for a larger image.

Cindy, Boswell, Alison Levine A Long Weekend of Wine Tasting
Silent Auction at Niebaum-Coppola Don Corleone's Desk from "The Godfather"
Live Auction and Dinner Setting Bucky and Friends
Fountains at Niebaum-Coppola Niebaum-Coppola Winery
Leslie Visser, a Lucky Stiff, Peggy Fleming Coach K Speaks to the Crowd
Mindy and Ross Deutsch and Mark Beringer A Good Time Had By All
Our Sommelier for the Evening Karen Pappas and Cindy
Debbie Savarino and Friend Coach K's Sons-in-Law, Pete and Steve
Mark Beringer and Debbie Savarino Not Quite the Beatles
Don't Give Up Your Day Job, Coach! The Headquarters
Villagio - We'll Be Back! Mickie, Roy Firestone, Coach K
Gabrielle Whitewolf and Cameron Cindy at Kuleto Winery
Outdoor Ovens at Kuleto Turning the Tables on the Press
Krzyzewski Women at Kuleto