The Santa Barbara Women’s Club was the destination for wine and chocolate lovers to savor some sensational wines and sinful chocolates to benefit the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center. Rincon Catering & Beach Club provided an amazing assortment of exceptional appetizers, entrees and cheese specialties that got rave reviews from guests.
Matthew Chung, fine and rare wine consultant, shared secrets of successfully pairing chocolate with wines being poured at the evening fundraiser. Wines being poured were from Beckman Vineyards, Brower-Clifton, Dierberg Estate Vineyard, Giessinger Winery, Imagine Wine, Oreana Winery, Palmina, Rideau Vineyard, Riverbench Vineyard & Winery, Starlane Vineyard, and Whitcraft Winery. Chocolate tastes were provided by Carlos Lima, Brasil Arts Café; Andie Escobar, The French Table; Tom Neuhaus, Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates; Ashleigh Johnston-Barton, Piece of Mind; Renaud Gonthier, Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro; Marc Borowitz, Rincon Catering & Beach Club; Suzon Bishop, Santa Barbara Fudge; Lauren Pitts, Shaybu Chocolates, and Ashleigh Carracino, Sojourner Café.

Renaud’s Best Chocolate Dessert

Judges for the competition were Jean-Michel Carre, Owner of Chocolats du Calibressan, Indera Mortensen, Pastry Chef, Fresco Café, and Lys Gabriella Poet, Local Private Chef.
Awards were given for Best Table Presentation and Best Chocolate Dessert to Renaud Gonthier – Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro; Best Chocolates went to Lauren Pitts – Shaybu Chocolates and the People’s Choice Award went to Tom Neuhaus – Mama Ganashe Artisan Chocolates.

Brower-Clifton Wine

A silent auction and live auction of unique gifts, which included a two day trip to Hearst Castle from Santa Barbara to the Castle in a historic train car donated by California Zephyr Railcar Charters, along with tables of specialty gift items to bid on attracted a crowd. The entertaining Emcee for the evening who conducted the live auction was Sean English.
Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center empowers people through healing and social change to eliminate all forms of sexual violence. We are committed to transforming lives by providing services and education to meet the needs of our diverse community. Since 1974, Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center has worked to support sexual assault survivors and their loved ones, and to build a community free from sexual violence. For information visit
By Bonnie Carroll