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The Hungarian Count Named as 2012 Sonoma Valley Muse

Sonoma Community Center honors the founder of Buena Vista at the winery itself, in benefit for Andrews Hall

The year of Agoston Haraszthy isn't over yet.

Born 200 years ago in Hungary, Haraszthy has seen his likeness lead the 4th of July parade and his spirit invoked at the Tokaj Sister City party in the Plaza on Sept. 1.

Now the Sonoma Community Center is honoring him at their 8th annual Sonoma Valley Muse Celebration, for "a man or woman who has left an indelible cultural mark on the valley by their presence. "

The event will be held at the Buena Vista Winery, which the Hungarian man-of-action founded in 1857, on Saturday, October 13. The evening will be themed to the mid-1800s, according to the SCC, and patrons are encouraged to dress in finery reflecting the era when the Count began development of the Buena Vista estate, with considerable assist from Gen. Mariano Vallejo.

It's fortuitous that the event will be held at Buena Vista, formerly Buena Vista Carneros, which recently changed hands to the ownership of  Boisset Family Estates. The winery Haraszthy founded went bankrupt in 1877, and it wasn't until 1943 that it became officially bonded as a winery again.

The May 2011 purchase by Jean-Charles Boisset revived the original name, and the French-born scion of a winemaking family from the region we know as Burgundy is investing in the property and vineyards.

"His (Boisset's) generosity in hosting the 2012 Muse celebration ensures guests will savor our valley’s past while enjoying the newly updated winery grounds and buildings," stated Toni Castrone, executive director of the Sonoma Community Center.

This year, all proceeds from the evening will go toward the transformation of the Center's Andrews Hall to a state-of-the-art small performance theater, with construction scheduled for January, 2013.

The event showcases excellence in food and wine and includes artistic expression highlighting the honoree’s accomplishments.  Past Muses have included Jack London, M.F.K. Fisher, Nicholas Carriger, and other past local luminaries. 

Cocktails and entertainment begin at 5:30 pm, with a sit-down dinner and fund-a-need auction directly following.  No confirmation has been received yet, but we're betting local actor George Webber will portray the Hungarian Count at this event, as he does on a regular basis at Buena Vista Winery.

Tickets are $175 and available through the Sonoma Valley Box office or at the SCC office. For further information or to buy tickets, call (707) 938-4626 or go to www.sonomacommnitycenter.org and click on "Box Office."

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