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The Society BLOG

Together, wine, food, and travel make up three of life's greatest offerings. The Society Blog will feature expert experiences and opinions relating to these delicious topics. Here, we will freely discuss the diverse flavors of food, the inviting culture of wine, the vast nature of travel, and the ultimate experience you get when you combine the three!

The Society
September 25, 2013 | The Society

The Philanthropic Side of Foley Food & Wine Society

Bill Foley, founder of the Foley Food & Wine Society, gets a lot of press for his business acumen. Numerous writers have outlined his meteoric rise and the breadth of his holdings. In 1984, after practicing law for a few years, he bought a then small title-insurance company called Fidelity National Title, with just $40 million in revenues. Under Foley's leadership, Fidelity has grown exponentially, yielding $5.63 billion in revenue in 2012. The company has repeatedly been named to Fortune’s list of America’s Most Admired Companies.

Carol and Bill Foley

As a result of his hard work and business sense, Foley was able to acquire a diverse portfolio of wineries, restaurants and resorts which will be available for members of the new Foley Food & Wine Society, which see its launch this Saturday, September 28th at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara.

Foley Food & Wine Society launch party

Less well known, in keeping with their reputation for being "down-to-earth" and low-key, is the time and money that Bill and Carol devote to philanthropic causes. Their generous donations include $15 million to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where Bill earned his B.S. degree in Engineering, and  the support of the Jacksonville Cathedral Arts Project, which offers free after-school classes in visual and performing arts for elementary school students in Florida.

students at the School of Culinary Arts SBCC

The Foley have roots in Santa Barbara and have been members of the President's Council, the cornerstone of philanthropic support for the Foundation for Santa Barbara City College (SBCC). Long time advocates for education, they were happy to partner with the non-profit Santa Barbara Culinary Arts on the gala launch party of the Foley Food & Wine Society, knowing the net profits would further the education of students at the School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management at SBCC.

culinary students at Foley Food & Wine Society

Three top chefs from the School of Culinary Arts and from Santa Barbara Culinary Arts will be presenting their culinary creations at the launch party, aided by a team of current culinary students. At the launch party, you will have the chance to meet the students and chefs and sample delicacies like Smoked Salmon with Caviar and Crème Fraîche on Endive Pockets and Gorgonzola and Goat Cheese Tartlet with Fig Butter Topped with Fresh Fig, Toasted Walnuts, Local Honey and Micro-greens.


Santa Barbara Culinary Arts Presents the Foley Food & Wine Society Launch Party    
Saturday, September 28, 2013
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Bacara Resort & Spa - Santa Barbara, CA


Time Posted: Sep 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM
The Society
September 22, 2013 | The Society

Culinary Treats + Foley Family Wines

Would you love to learn more about pairing fine wine and food? If so, you are not alone. Chef-prepared cuisine with wine pairings comprise one of the fastest growing areas of the culinary field.

School of Culinary Arts at SBCC

The John Dunne Gourmet Dining Room at the School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management at Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) was the scene for a recent artistic and appetizing wine-food pairing. Chef Randy Bublitz, head of the school, prepared a fabulous five-course dinner to pair with a selection of delicious wines from the Foley Food & Wine Society, along with instructor Chef Stephane Rapp and a team of culinary students.

Chef Bublitz and Chef Rapp

The Foley Food & Wine Society encompasses a vast portfolio of wineries, resorts and restaurants. Owners Bill and Carol Foley have long had an interest in fine dining and in supporting education. They generously donated their wines to pair with the gourmet dinner:

2009 EOS Botrytised Semillon2010 Sebastiani Carneros Roussanne: A crisp and refreshing wine with notes of early-picked peach and tropical spice. The zingy, cool-climate profile made it a perfect match for the smoked salmon appetizers.

2011 Foley Johnson Estate Bottled Sauvignon Blanc, Rutherford: A textbook Napa Sauvignon Blanc, the floral aromatics and peach and apricot flavors complemented the salad of roasted beets and smoked trout.

2009 Three Rivers Winery Cabernet Sauvignon: This 90 Point cab from Walla Walla delivered traces of black cherries, plums, cloves, tobacco and spices. It was paired with the tender and tasty veal chop with porcini glaze.

2009 EOS Botrytised Semillon, Chalk Hill: Full of aromas and flavors of baked apple, nutmeg, cinnamon, and honey, this wine was balanced with acidity and was paired with the cheese plate, including a brioche filled with molten St Andre cheese. Fabulous!

The last course was a decadent chocolate-chocolate torte.

The School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management program at Santa Barbara City College is staffed with top-notch chefs, restaurateurs, and hoteliers. Beyond classroom work, students receive hands-on training in realistic work environments, preparing food in the SBCC cafeteria, the gourmet dining room, the JSB coffee shop, catering for private parties, purchasing and receiving food shipments for the school, and utilizing state-of-the-art equipment. Their work garners high praise on Yelp and local media: "This is one of the best places to eat in SB…Everything is made from scratch and you can taste it...Would give 6 stars if I could."

Bacara Resort & Spa and the Foley Food & Wine Society

Taste the savory offerings from the culinary students and instructor Chef Stephane Rapp at the gala launch party of the Foley Food & Wine Society at the Bacara Resort & Spa on September 28th! Several of the successful culinary school graduates will be on hand to recount their experiences at the school.


Santa Barbara Culinary Arts Presents the Foley Food & Wine Society Launch Party    
Saturday, September 28, 2013
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Bacara Resort & Spa - Santa Barbara, CA


Time Posted: Sep 22, 2013 at 5:00 AM
The Society
September 19, 2013 | The Society

First Harvest of the Year at Chalk Hill Estates

“The 2013 harvest is in full swing, giving us no end of excitement--and the occasional hand wringing!" --Lisa Bishop Forbes, winemaker Chalk Hill Estate

grape harvest Chalk Hill Estate


For nearly four decades, Chalk Hill Estate of Sonoma County has produced exceptional, highly-acclaimed wine. The quality begins in the vineyards with conscientious and scientifically precise agricultural practices. The focus is on creating and maintaining the optimal flavor, freshness and depth of character of each varietal.

Chalk Hill Estate beauty shot


Each of the 60 vineyard blocks are tended individually. The grapes are hand-harvested by parcel and fermented in individual blocks.

The September 2013 harvest began with night harvest of the estate sauvignon blanc and pinot noir grapes. The video shows our crew loading bins with the pristine sauvignon blanc.

Nighttime picking is easier on the crew because they avoid the wasps and bees that are out during the day and the temperature is not blazing hot. It's also better for the grapes as high temperatures can change their sugar composition and sometimes allow wild yeasts to grow unchecked. It saves on energy as well; since the grapes are cool, they don't need to be chilled prior to fermentation.

Lisa Bishop Forbes, winemaker Chalk Hill Estate


"Chardonnay will follow next along with Pinot Gris, then Malbec and Merlot. The fruit is beautiful and very flavorful, with ideal sugar and acid balance." --Lisa Bishop Forbes, winemaker Chalk Hill Estate

“It is a privilege to be involved with such a significant and strikingly beautiful property. For nearly four decades, Chalk Hill has been one of the premier wine estates in California. Our Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, and proprietary Estate Red are all considered benchmarks among their peers. Our commitment to sustainable farming ensures that our land will remain healthy for generations and our wines will accurately reflect their origins in the hills of eastern Sonoma County.” - William P. (Bill) Foley II

Bill Foley at Chalk Hill Estate


Meet Bill and Carol Foley and taste the elegant wines of Chalk Hill Estate on Saturday, September 28th, 3 - 6 pm at the ocean front Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara. A fundraiser for the Santa Barbara Culinary Arts Scholarship in Honor of Julia Child, the event celebrates the launch of the Foley Food & Wine Society.

JOIN the Society today to receive special offers from Chalk Hill Estate and dozens of other fine wineries and resorts in the Foley Food & Wine Society portfolio.

PURCHASE tickets to the event.

Foley Food & Wine Society Launch Party
Saturday, September 28, 2013
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Bacara Resort & Spa - Santa Barbara, CA

Time Posted: Sep 19, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Carol Foley
September 16, 2013 | Carol Foley

Culinary Tour: Garden Fresh and Nutritious

Bill and I are in Montana at the spectacular Rock Creek Cattle Company, with views of the Flint Creek Mountains. In the middle of all this beauty, I'm still thinking about the organic garden back in Healdsburg and the lovely food that Chef Didier Ageorges creates with the fresh vegetables and fruit.

Chef Chalk Hill Estates

I'm thinking of the juicy, ripe, heirloom tomatoes that go into my favorite caprese salad. Fresh produce from the three acres of Chalk Hill Estate's garden are used by Chef for the culinary tours. Everything is so fresh and nutritious.

Chalk Hill Estate Garden

Part of why Bill and I are so excited about the launch party for the Foley Food & Wine Society on September 28th is that we get to share with the members the wonderful wine and food experiences they will have at the wineries, restaurants and resorts in the Foley Food & Wine Society group.

Chalk Hill Estate vineyards

If you haven't experienced one of the Chalk Hill Estate culinary tours, you must add this to your bucket list! One of my favorite things to do is to go to the tasting room with a group of girlfriends and take a lovely glass of crisp sauvignon blanc out to tour the vineyards. We stop in to find out what Brad Agerter, the Chalk Hill gardener, is growing. Then, we arrive at the pavilion where Chef prepares a fabulous culinary experience paired with our wines selected by Erika, our estate sommelier.

It is a perfect way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary--or just celebrate life! LEARN MORE

Bacara Foley Food & Wine Society

Santa Barbara Culinary Arts Presents the Foley Food & Wine Society Launch Party
Date:  Saturday, Sep 28, 2013
Time:  3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Venue:  Bacara Resort & Spa - Santa Barbara, CA


Time Posted: Sep 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM
The Society
September 3, 2013 | The Society

Golf and Wine, Perfect Combination

Foley Food & Wine Society tasting roomAfter playing a round of golf at Sandpiper in Santa Barbara, stop by the Foley Food & Wine Society tasting room at the Bacara Resort & Spa! It's the perfect "19th hole" after 18 holes out on the links.

Santa Barbarans are spoiled. We're so used to temperate weather, with the highs and and lows of daily temperature being between 60-75 degrees, that we complain bitterly when the thermometer tops 80. It's easy to get used to paradise!

So, I set my alarm last week for 6 am to be the first out to play Sandpiper and avoid what we call a "heat wave"--81 degrees forecasted. I was rewarded with a glorious morning with the next group three holes back and the Pacific Ocean glinting in the morning sun. The greens had just been soaked, which helped keep my score down. The Sandpiper greens are notorious for being wickedly fast.

pelicans above Sandpiper Golf

The green at the 5th hole overlooks the ocean and there usually is a line of pelicans riding the updraft. This day was no exception, as four of them skimmed the edge of the cliff, seeming close enough to touch.

13th hole SandpiperThe 13th hole is one of the best designed and most challenging in Southern California. 399 yards (532/516 men's) run along the crest of the cliffs; in the middle is a deep ravine, followed by a nasty thicket of bushes. Low handicappers lay up their second shot on the foreward edge of the ravine to try and drop their 150 yard (or so) chip shot onto a tiny, steep green bordered by the cliff, the bushes and three bunkers! Those with higher handicaps, like me, just hope our third shot gets us safely over the ravine to the left where there are no bushes to snag our balls.

Bacara from Sandpiper Golf

As usual, the 13th hole chewed me up and spit me out. But, I was rewarded by views of the Bacara Resort & Spa from both the tee and the green (pictured--looking back at ravine).

wine tasting at Foley Food & Wine, Bacara

I dropped by the Foley Food & Wine Society tasting room afterwards to visit my friend Lila, Assistant Tasting Room Manager. She and Annette took a moment to pose for a photo before taking care of some of the hotel guests who were in to taste some of the Foley portfolio. The elegant, yet comfortable, tasting room is the perfect place to sip delicious wines after a round of golf. Open 11-7 daily.



Time Posted: Sep 3, 2013 at 10:00 AM