The wine arrived on Tuesday, the final count of 82 food and wine lovers was given to the restaurant on Wednesday. On Friday a group of Rotarians arrived at The Shed to decorate, lay out the tables and go over final preparations for the anticipated event the next night, Jan. 28.

At 5 p.m Saturday, the winery manager, Ruben Nodal, arrived at The Shed from Templeton where Burbank Ranch Vineyard and Winery is located. By 6 that evening the room was full of happy, chatty people who were excited to try new wines and food specifically designed to enhance those wines by chef Mano Lujan of The Shed and Red House BBQ. No one was disappointed. The wine flowed freely starting with a Syrah Rose, which was enjoyed for about 40 minutes as everyone mixed and mingled and checked out the auction offerings.

The room was abuzz. The initial wine was very highly received and it felt disruptive to ask for everyone’s attention so they could hear what the appetizer and accompanying wine would be. However, in a room full of food and wine enthusiasts, they did listen and were eager to try the appetizer course of roasted beef bone marrow, chimi churro, olive tapenade and a melted blue cheese with a demi loaf bread served with a delightful Grenache. The room went quiet as people experienced the magic of this combination.

Next, Mano and Ruben announced the pairing of a white wine called Arneis (an Italian varietal) with a cleansing course of a clear delicate broth containing roasted green onion, cilantro, lemon zest and shrimp. It was everything that everyone hoped it would be and led us into the main course. This course included a one pound pork chop with fig sauce. It was served with a Native American vegetable called sun choke, beautifully seasoned and also included what Mano described as a micro salad which was greens taken from the ocean. They were naturally salted and if I could eat them night after night, I would. Paired with that main course was Burbank Ranch Vineyard and Winery’s Malbec. I was asked over and over if wines could be bought afterward and several people suggested they wanted a case of the Malbec because it was such a pleasing wine and was delectable with the meal.

The silent auction was closed, the winners announced and the group got animated over the promise of a Grenache Blanc, which was crispy with pear flavors, yet not overly sweet, paired with a chocolate lava cake with berry drizzle. This was a meal so decidedly different, so amazingly delicious, and so totally enjoyed with wines that were as wonderful and satisfying as the food itself.

The Wine Pairing Dinner is a unique event that takes us on a journey of adventure in food, wine, friendship and community. By the end of the evening you want to share the story of your adventure with friends and family. It is surely an evening to remember.

People had fun, met new people, were pleasantly social and definitely generous. The Rotary Club of Tehachapi really enjoys this fundraiser and we’re thrilled by the positive reaction it gets. We wish to thank Mano Lujan, Burbank Ranch Vineyard and Winery, our sponsors including Tehachapi News, The Loop, Alta One, State Farm Insurance, Sail Thru Car Wash, Scott’s Auto Body, Jennifer Williams Personal Financial Services, Carol Miller Realtor, and South Street Digital. Rotary meets every Thursday at noon at Big Papa’s. For more information about Rotary call Tim at 661-821-0086.

Linda Carhart is past president of Rotary Club of Tehachapi.