Whether you consider yourself an oenophile or you just enjoy discovering a new vintage now and then, you’ll want to ‘save the date’ this fall when In The Vineyard showcases more than 100 wines from around the world, with cuisine prepared by chefs from St. Louis’ top restaurants. The Nov. 13 event, which also includes a silent auction, benefits Edgewood Children’s Center in Webster Groves.

“This is an evening unlike any other,” says Edgewood vice president Peppy Howard-Willms. “There will be extraordinary wines that you can’t get anywhere else.” Proceeds from last year’s event raised more than $120,000 for Edgewood, she adds.

Founded in 1834 by Ann Perry and a group of volunteer women, Edgewood was originally known as the St. Louis Protestant Orphan Asylum. At the request of the children, the organization was renamed Edgewood Children’s Center in 1943. Today, Edgewood serves more than 800 children and families every day with individualized treatment, education and community-based services.

“Severe trauma, sometimes child abuse and neglect, is the most common thread among the children served by Edgewood,” explains Howard-Willms. “And our school program provides special education for kids with severe behavior disorders and communication disorders. They are most often referred to us by their school district because they need a higher level of care and therapy to succeed with their education.” Edgewood provides specialized care in a small group setting to help these children, she adds. The goal is to return them to their own school districts when the time is right.

United Way of Greater St. Louis provides significant funding to Edgewood which makes its wide range of services possible, says Howard-Willms. “Edge wood is a founding member of United Way, and they are a partner in everything we do.”

Stephanie Sterkel has been involved with Edgewood for more than 20 years and will again serve as co-chair of In the Vineyard. “This was such a small event when it began years ago,” she says. “And now it has grown so much—we’re particularly excited about the expanded list of chefs this year. And the fact that they take time away from their restaurants on a Saturday night to support us is very special,” Sterkel says. Tickets for the event are available at two tiers: $100 (Wine Steward) for the main level, and $200 (Master Sommelier) which includes access to the premium wine section, Sterkel explains. “There’s lots of tables, lots of restaurants—it’s really a great evening out and it all benefits a wonderful organization.”

Howard-Willms applauds the generosity of the St. Louis community. “The sponsors of In the Vineyard, for example, and all the great chefs—this event would not be possible without their support,” she says. “This year’s sponsors include Schnucks, UMB Bank, Buckeye International, HOK, St. Louis Trust Company, McCarthy Building Companies, Dowd Bennett, Edward Jones, Johnston Family Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Todd Deibel, and Ameren. The evening’s cuisine will be prepared by chefs from Annie Gunn’s, Anthony’s Bar, ARAKA, Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier, Cardwell’s at the Plaza and BC Kitchen, The Crossing, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Harvest, Herbie’s Vintage 72, Monarch, Niche, Portabella, Sidney Street Cafe, Truffles, Villa Farotto and Trattoria Marcella.

On the Cover: Wines from around the world and gourmet cuisine from top St. Louis chefs will be available at In the Vinyard Nov. 13 to benefit Edgewood Children’s Center. For more information, call 919-4733 or visit www.eccstl.org.  Photo by Jason Mueller • Cover design by Dawn Stremlau

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