The Cellar Classic features a live auction of rare, collectable wines such as Chateau Lafite Rothschild; Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, and California cult wines conducted by professional auctioneer John Glines; as well as a silent auction of other fine wines, wine-related gifts and lifestyle packages. Bountiful gourmet hors d’oeuvres will be served along with local Santa Barbara County wines accompanied by live entertainment. Proceeds benefit St. Mark’s and its extensive community outreach programs and services in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Brooks Firestone remarked, “The Rusacks have not only been generous supporters of the Cellar Classic since its inception in 2010 but also are pioneers in the creation of award-winning wines from the Santa Ynez Valley as well as from their first-ever vineyard on Catalina Island. Of particular note, in 2011, they donated a double-etched magnum bottle of their Rusack 2009 Zinfandel Catalina Island; with an inscription stating ‘In this bottle is the culmination of a 25-year dream, the first vintage of Catalina wine.’ On behalf of our entire volunteer committee, we salute Alison and Geoff and honor their commitment to the wine industry and the community.”

Alison Wrigley Rusack is a native of Chicago who spent many childhood summers on Catalina Island and moved west to receive her degree from Stanford University. Raised in the Los Angeles area, Geoff Rusack returned after graduating from Bowdoin College in Maine and earned his J.D. from Pepperdine University and worked for many years as a defense attorney. Alison and Geoff met on a fortuitous blind date and dreamed up the prospect of starting a vineyard and winery together. They married and purchased 48 acres in Ballard Canyon in the Santa Ynez Valley. Their vision of creating world-class wines reflective of the unique character of the region became a reality with the first “crush” in 1995 and the opening of their on-site tasting room in 1997. The estate is now planted with 17 acres of grapes featuring Syrah and Sangiovese interspersed with smaller blocks of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Petit Syrah. Additionally, several rows of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot are grown for blending into Rusack Vineyards’ renowned “Anacapa,” a Bordeaux-style red blend.

In 2007, the Rusacks established the first vineyard ever on Santa Catalina Island with a portfolio including a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It also features a Zinfandel that originated from a few hardy vines still alive on Catalina’s sister island of Santa Cruz. The Rusacks continue to oversee all aspects of their vineyards and are extremely proud of the hard work and exceptional results produced by their family and winemaking team.

The Rev. Dr. Randall Day, priest & rector of St. Mark’s-in-the Valley stated, “We are honored that long-time St. Mark’s members Alison and Geoff Rusack have accepted our recognition as Honorary Chairs of the fourth annual Cellar Classic. We look forward to recognizing their generous support at the event on June 29 and encourage everyone to join us in this celebration.”

Cellar Classic admission is $100 per person including local wines, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment—available only by advance reservation with payment by check, credit card or PayPal (online here) or by calling the office at (805) 688-4454 or send an email request to To donate wine for the auction, contact co-chair Steve Pepe directly at or call him at 805-735-7867. Visit the website for complete details here


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