gmhTODAY 16 gmhToday Sept Oct 2017 - Page 34

ROTARY CLUB OF GILROY GARLIC FESTIVAL’S NEW WINE GARDEN “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” John F. Kennedy The 2017 Gilroy Garlic Festival promised a Bigger, Better, Bolder Gilroy Garlic Festival…and in many ways it was! Giada De Laurentiis was a hit on the Cookoff Stage. Local chef, Carlos Pineda from Rebekah Children’s Services, won the Iron Chef-style “Garlic Showdown.” The Festival garnered an entry in the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest garlic festival with the 2011 Festival having an attendance of 109,067. The 2017 Festival almost hit the 103 thousand mark, not a new record but an improvement from 2016. The 2017 Festival also had some big name music, an official Kansas City BBQ contest, a new children’s area and a new wine area. The new Rotary Wine Garden had some Rotarians worried that this major fundraiser would be too radical a departure from the tried and true Rotary Wine Tent. From all indica- tors the new bigger, better, bolder Wine Garden was a hit. Gross revenues were up over 35 percent. While final bills have yet to be paid and net revenues have still to be calculated, the revenues from this Rotary Fundraiser look good. The proceeds will go into the Rotary Endowment which benefits local Rotary projects, scholarships and grants. Another great indicator was that there were fewer cases of wine left over, several winer- ies ran out of wine and some wineries that had not participated in the past said they would be in next year . Winemakers and owners who visited the Garden commented favorably on the layout, the crowds, and the buzz. One even noted that it felt like being at a big winery party. Some wineries, during the Garlic Festival Weekend, noticed customers at the winery with fliers from the Rotary Wine Garden. Operation Share Life was also successful at the new location. They signed up 250 poten- tial donors with 45 percent of those being minorities who are underrepresented in the bone marrow registry. Operation Share Life is part of the international “Be the Match” program which is a global leader in bone marrow transplantation conducting research to improve transplant outcomes, provide support and resources for patients, and partner with a global network. The Rotary Wine Garden also had a positive impact in an unexpected area. For mixed couples, that is where one drinks wine and the other beer, the Wine Garden allowed them to stay together and enjoy the shade, misters, wine and beer. Another positive was the continuing flow of people through the Wine Garden. In the old Wine Pavilion, there was only one entrance and visitors sometimes camped out in the cool of the tent. In the 2017 Wine Garden, there seemed to be plenty of interaction and movement of people in and out of the area. Most movement was accompanied by a big smile and “Salute” or “Salud” or “Cheers” or “Campai” or “Prost” or “Cin Cin” or “Saude” or“Proost” or “A votre sante” or “Sláinte” or simply “Enjoy.” 34 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN Jill Fortino, Fortino Winery, readies for a new day at the Wine Garden. Booth fronts painted by Whitney Pintello, Gilroy Rotary President. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017