All in the family at Harvest Festival

Adrianna Parker, from Los Gatos, and Debbie Facchino, from San Jose, enjoy glasses of cabernet sauvignon during the 23rd Annual Guglielmo Harvest Festival August 16.

Under clear blue skies Aug. 16, I experienced the 23rd annual Guglielmo Harvest Festival held at Guglielmo Winery in Morgan Hill. I learned how to say “abundance” in Italian (abbondanza) and saw how, at least for one day, everyone was one big happy family, enjoying the festivities together.
As soon as we arrived, we headed for the Salami Toss, Botched Up Bocce and Walnut Whacking—three games of skill and luck. Winners received prized salamis and Guglielmo Bucks redeemable in the tasting room. Turns out one of the winners of the Salami Toss was Bud Pyle, a cousin of the Guglielmo’s.
The tall man that poured me a cold glass of Fiano, an Italian white varietal, explained he has volunteered at this festival “on and off for 20 years. The Guglielmo brothers and I played on the same basketball league in Morgan Hill and we won the 1989 championship.” Getting his name, Guy Leo, made me realize that he is a cousin of one of my best friends.
As they do every year, the three Guglielmo brothers, George, Gene and Gary, cooked up a great dinner that included barbecued tri-tip, pasta with pesto, tossed salad and garlic bread. The brothers’ children and grandchildren helped prep and serve the food, too, making it a third, fourth and fifth generation effort.
Before the meal, Monsignor Milani gave a blessing for an abundant harvest and with a wry smile said, “All I can do is give the blessing—it is up to the brothers to bring in the grape crop and make it worthwhile to drink!”
As Gene thanked everyone for coming, he reminded us, “It’s important to take the time to slow down and enjoy your family and friends.” Gene also thanked the many volunteers on hand to help.
At the table next to me was a reunion of four women who served together in the Navy, more than 30 years ago, in Rota, Spain. Shannon Milligan from Seattle, Joy Clark from Jacksonville, Fla. and Nancy Peterson from San Jose were there to celebrate Denise Smith’s birthday and attend the festival.
“This is the most awesome thing I have ever done,” Denise said. “We came here to support the winery and celebrate our friendship.”
For the third year in a row, George’s son-in-law, Christopher Maggetti—concept chef at Disneyland Resorts—volunteered along two other executive chefs from Disney to create the dessert. Dessert included a cleverly done chocolate “salami” made of dark chocolate fudge, cookie pieces, nuts and dusted with powdered sugar—making it resemble a traditional, cured salami. Next was the chocolate panna cotta, with caramel sauce and chocolate coco nibs. Finishing this delectable selection was an apple strudel served with vanilla bean sauce.
Christopher, along with Jean Marc Viallet, executive pastry chef, and Christine Weissman, executive chef, wore bright orange crocs from the Mario Batali shoe line.
“This gave us the opportunity to let loose a bit while being very comfortable during a hot day with a beautiful backdrop, great people, terrific food and delicious wine,” Christopher said.
The Heartbeats with their great-big-hair wigs, started up the live music and got people dancing to some oldies-but-goodies: from the Beatles to Mowtown to disco.
The evening concluded with nine couples vying to win the grape-stomping contest. Each person had 30 seconds to crush grapes with their feet and produce the most juice. Amid a lot of cheering and laughter, the winners, Valerie Schloeder and Christie Chester, took home the grand prize gift basket.

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