This year marks Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association’s 24th annual Pinot Noir Festival. The festival, which takes place May 19-21, showcases wines from throughout Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties crafted with Anderson Valley’s legendary pinot noir grapes. Wine drinkers from across the country flock to the valley to swirl and sip pinot, dine at local farm-to-table restaurants and mix and mingle with winemakers.
Most importantly, the annual event benefits organizations close to the hearts of Anderson Valley locals: the Anderson Valley Skatepark Project and Fire Department. The Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting Anderson Valley’s wine industry, has donated over $430,000 to local organizations since its founding in 1983.
The online auction benefits the Anderson Valley Skatepark Project. The auction features 17 lots with bids being taken now through May 31. The goal is to raise $29,000 for the skatepark. As of press time, the auction has raised $7,503.38.
The Anderson Valley Skatepark Project was started by a group of students at Anderson Valley Jr.-Sr. High School with the goal to create “healthy gathering spaces and recreation opportunities” for young people in Anderson Valley. Anyone who has grown up in a rural ag community, especially a community centered around a crop that is marketed to those 21 and over, know there are often limited activities for teens outside of school. According to project organizers, the valley is “virtually void” of activities for young people and “this is undoubtedly linked to the high rate of substance use in our junior and senior high.”
The skate park was designed with community input and will be built by Frontier Skateparks. The park will be 12,500 sq. ft. and will accommodate skateboarders, roller skaters, bikers and scooter users of all ages. In addition to the skatepark component, the park will include seating areas, a water fountain, accessible access paths, native plant landscaping, an eco-friendly bioswale to collect storm run-off, new trash and recycling receptacles, and an entrance wall that will give thanks to donors that supported the project. The park will also have a large covered pavilion and a community kitchen.
In addition to bringing a unifying and safe space for kids of all ages, the skatepark will also have the first public restroom in Anderson Valley. The restroom is made by Green Flush, which creates affordable, eco-friendly flushing bathrooms that use 70 percent less water than conventional flush toilets. The company guarantees an odor-free bathroom experience. The new bathrooms will be a boon for both locals and visitors to Anderson Valley alike.
The skatepark will be located at Anderson Valley Community Park between the health center and the junior high school. The project acquired the property from the Anderson Valley Unified School District for $1 in 2022 with the final deed transfer to be completed later this month. The park itself will cost over $1.1. million to build with hopeful completion in June 2026.
One of the many auction lots includes a four-night trip to Portugal’s Douro Valley wine country, including accommodations, tastings, yacht excursions, and winemaker lunches. If a jaunt down to San Francisco is easier than a jaunt over the ocean, you’ll want to bid on the San Francisco Wine & Foodie Experience with Waits-Mast Family Cellars (for Boontling speakers, the package is called “Bright Lighters” online). The day includes a guided tour and tasting with the owners and winemaker at Waits-Mast’s urban San Francisco winery and a multi-course wine paired dinner at the famed A16. If you want to keep it hyperlocal, opt for a two-night stay in Mendocino at the Nicholson House, a VIP tasting at Meyer Family Cellars Tasting Room, and a gift card to treat yourself to dinner at Cafe Beaujolais. There are also immersive tasting and foodie experiences in Anderson Valley.
For those attending the 24th annual Pinot Noir Festival, don’t miss the Grand Tasting during the afternoon of May 20 at Scharffenberger Cellars. The event features pinot noir (including rosé and sparkling) and small bites from over 50 wineries and food purveyors, live music and a raffle with proceeds benefiting the Anderson Valley Fire Department.
The online auction benefiting the Anderson Valley Skatepark Project is live now. You do not have to attend the Pinot Noir Festival to participate. Tickets are on sale for the Pinot Noir Festival, May 19-21, here.
Note: Sarah Stierch covers food, beverage, culture, weather and breaking news for The Mendocino Voice. Contact Stierch at [email protected]. The Voice maintains editorial control.