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San Francisco, CA, United States
He began as a Corporate Event Planner until his tenure as Catering Manager for luxury San Francisco hotels, as well as the General Manager/Director of Events for the Julia Morgan Ballroom. Later became the Catering Manager for Weddings at the historic Westin St. Francis Hotel. Impressive accolades have given him credentials to recognize him as an Independent Food Editor, Restaurant Critic and a Contributing Writer for several media publications. Spanning impressive years in Wedding and Event Planning, his passion has taken him to create F. DUNCAN REYES EVENTS BY DESIGN and is renowned as the Event Industry’s most premiere Wedding and Event Planner Extraordinnaire! In January 2009, he was honored by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the Top 100 new businesses in their “Book Of Lists 2009”. Duncan is a member of the National Assoc. of Catered Events (NACE) and last April 2010 was voted “Member of the Year” 2010 and the 2013 Winner of Silicon Valley NACE's coveted Best of the Industry Award in Event Design. In January 2011, 2012 and 2013, received prestigious recognition with the WeddingWire Bride's Choice Award for Wedding Planning.


My Associate, Alex Barranco and I, recently were invited to attend a luncheon and site visit of Paradise Ridge Winery.  Nestled in 156 acres in the hillside over Santa Rosa, it’s an hour’s drive from San Francisco with expansive panoramic views of the Russian River Valley.  Our gracious hosts, Sonia Byck-Barwick, Co-Owner and Managing Partner, along with Martha Marquez, their Wedding and Events Manager, greeted us with a very warm “Welcome to Paradise”.

Martha Marquez and Sonia Byck-Barwick

We began to delight our senses with a marvelous glass of their newly released 2009 Sparkling Shiraz – exceptionally marked by a refinement and elegance.  This sophisticated "bubbly" had a very limited quantity, so I could not resist purchasing it for my own enjoyment.  Mmmm-la-la-la-la!!!!!

The winery is replete with a Tasting Room, a dramatic event space that can hold up to 150 guests seated, a veranda for your cocktail reception, and an adjacent outdoor ceremony courtyard, all offering sweeping views of their lush vineyard landscapes and Sculptural Gardens.  Spectacular sculptural works of art are speckled throughout Marijke’s Grove with majestic Oak Trees and open greens flanked by the natural beauty of the outdoors.

"Love" by Sculptors Jeff Schomberg and Laura Kimpton

Alex Barranco

ME at "Exsucitare Triectus - A Passage of Awakening"
by Sculptor Orion Fredericks

"Truth" by Sculptor John Parulis

The dream all began when Owners/Founders Dr. Walter Byck and his Marijke Hoenselaars migrated to Santa Rosa from Holland and raise a family back in 1965.  Years later, in 1978, Walter found the perfect place … he came home to his family and said “Marijke, children … I have seen Paradise!” – and the rest was magic!

Marijke Hoenselaars and Dr. Walter Byck

After touring this magnificent property, we partook in beguiling delicacies catered by the nationally acclaimed Ramekins Culinary School of Sonoma.  They now provide catering services led by their Event Sales Manager, Susan Da Ponte with events flawlessly executed by their Offsite Production Manager, Caren Veelo.  

Sonia Byck-Barwick, Caren Veelo, Susan da Ponte
and Martha Marquez

And so our gastronomic journey begins . . . . .

Tantalizing appetizers deserving immediate attention were Pickled Strawberries with Laura Chenel Goat Cheese on a Crostini;  Thinly Sliced Sonoma Duck Breast on Potato Gaufrette with a Tart Cherry Glaze;  and Coriander and Sesame-Seared Ahi Tuna Tostadas with Roasted Tomato Salsa and Lime Cream.

A great pairing to these hors d’oeuvres was the Winery’s very own “Nectar of the Gods” – 2009 Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine ... tickled my fancy!

As a preface to what has truly become a most impressive epicurean adventure, their Master of Cuisine, Executive Chef Doug MacFarland, stylishly prepared his “Ode to Spring” Luncheon Menu for our fabulous feast that excited the palates and soothed the soul.

For Starters, we began with an Amuse of a flavorful Chilled Asparagus Soup with Crab and Shaved Black Truffle, that gave refreshing texture and flavor a new meaning.

The Spring Salad was every bite a bit of Spring, with Wild Arugula Pea Shoots, Fresh Mint, Fresh English Peas, Pea Puree and Crispy Fried Sourdough Croutons.

This  Crispy Skin Arctic Char with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, 5th Street Farm Spring Vegetables, Garlic Confit and Piquillo Pepper Puree excelled above their impressive main course selection and garnered applause.

Saving the best for last was the "piece de resistance" - Rustic Strawberry Shortcake with Housemade Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Vanilla Whipped Cream - a sinful treat for an appropriate finale.  

This divinity was paired with a 2009 Ode to Joy Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc – a magnificent dessert wine dedicated by Marijke Byck-Hoenselaars, honoring her favorite symphony, and her love for music, art, poetry and all things beautiful.

A fine selection of exceptional vintages boasted a great complement to our sumptuous meal - 2012 Jubilation Sauvignon Blanc, crafted in honor of their founder, Dr. Walter Byck's 80th Birthday;  and a 2009 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley.

Come to Paradise . . . this quaint gem will enchant you and leave you breathless!

Paradise Ridge Winery – Tasting Room, Event Center, Sculpturegrove and Historical Exhibit 
4545 Thomas Lake Harris Drive, Santa Rosa, CA 95403, 707.528.9463
Tasting and Sales daily, 11:00am-5:00pm

8860 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA 95452, 7078.282.9020
Tasting Room Tasting Room Hours: 11am to 5pm Daily. Kenwood Tasting Room Hours: April through December - 11am to 6pm daily, January through March - Friday through Monday 11am to 6pm.

"Kanaye Nagasawa" - A collaboration between winery founders Marijke Byck-Hoenselaars, Walter Byck and the Friends of Kagoshima Association, the exhibit includes photographs and the fascinating life story of Nagasawa.  The exhibit is available for viewing when our tasting room is open in the main building. Please phone in advance to ensure the exhibit will be open during your visit (707) 528-9463.

"The Spirit of the Man" - The Spirit of the Man is an exciting new sculpture exhibition at Paradise Ridge Winery. Opening on Sunday, May 20, 2012, the yearlong show features 34 major works by sculptors based locally and throughout the United States. More than an art exhibition, The Spirit of the Man honors artist and art patron Al Voigt, co-founder of the Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation, who passed away in 2011.


Bowerbird Photography said...

Thanks for introducing us to this winery through your blog. Looks wonderful!

The Flirty Girl said...

Love Paradise Ridge! I attended a 10 winery speed tasting there last May. So much fun and such a beautiful property. Love that LOVE statue. We piled around it and took a group photo. I think it's become quite iconic of the winery. I really want to go back and learn more about the history of the property. It's as rich as the earth their grapes grow from.