English: Pillar of Golden Gate Bridge. Françai...

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“Wake up dear, we’re going to take a walk across the bridge today!”

Imagine being six years old and your father insists that you make history with him, by walking across the newly finished San Francisco Gold Gate Bridge.

Fast Forward to College…

Attending Stanford University, you fall in love with and marry the perfect man of your dreams. Together you both move to Washington, D.C., where your husband joins the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. In the top of his military class, your husband is selected to work at the Pentagon, where he spends two years representing the United States Army in contract negotiations. He also assists the Defense Department’s legal staff during the McCarthy senate hearings. After two years, you move back to California, living in your husband’s home town of Los Angeles, where he’s now practicing corporate law.

By 1960, your husband creates his own law firm, and he becomes active in Democratic politics. He works for presidential campaigns as Treasurer of the State Democratic Party, as Finance Chairman for the Democratic Governor’s campaign, and as Finance Committee Vice-Chairman for other state and national campaigns. Meanwhile, you’ve given your husband two beautiful children, a girl and a boy. Being a loving mother and a gracious hostess is the joy of your life. And yet, in 1963 you find the time to accept an appointment by Governor Edmund “Pat” Brown, to serve as a California Fair Employment Practice Commissioner. It was the first time you’ve worked outside of your home, and you marvel at the sense of accomplishment that comes from helping to eliminate discrimination in employment and housing.

Giving your husband a thirtieth birthday gift of traveling to Paris, France unwittingly sets you up for a period of then living there. All of this before returning to the US to ultimately buy vineyard property… in gorgeous Russian River Valley. You and your husband then decided to grow only the highest of quality wines grapes. Your extremely talented daughter, who first proved herself as a renowned journalist, returns home to devotes herself to helping you promote the family’s wines. Your son, who’s also become a successful attorney, returns home to oversee the operations of your vineyards. He dedicates himself to growing the most perfect fruit imaginable in each of the 200 acres that your family now owns, and your daughter is committed to your marketing.

You’ve built a family winery… Who knew that this would be your destiny, that early morning when your father encouraged you to rise from bed to walk across the finished Golden Gate Bridge? But… here you are.

Now, your loving daughter, being an intuitive marketer, realizes that the perfect birthday gift for you this year would be to have the family’s bubbly be the sparkling wine that toasts the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Gold Gate Bridge’s competition… That same bridge that you and your dad traversed 75 years ago… has come full circle.

It’s a Cinderella story for this Grand Dame of Russian River Valley……

And her name is Audrey Sterling.

Audrey, you and your husband Barry Sterling created Iron Horse Vineyards as a living legacy for your children… and this is your life…


[Seated to the extreme left and in the foreground of this image is Audrey Sterling. This was taken at Iron Horse Vineyards’ Earth Day celebration in April of 2011. I took this picture of her before I knew who she was, admiring her from afar.]

I remember the first time I saw Audrey Sterling, at last year’s Earth Day gathering at Iron Horse. I didn’t know who Audrey was at the time, but when I spotted her in the crowd I thought to myself, “What an extraordinarily gorgeous woman.” She was that strikingly beautiful, and I knew instantly that she was someone very important who had been living a gifted life. Not yet knowing who she was… like one of my hosts, the reason I was even standing where I was… I was completely fascinated by her. I didn’t have the nerve to just introduce myself… It would have been like just running up to the queen and saying, “Hey!”

Then what would I do or say?

I felt like I wanted to, but I restrained myself. Once I found out that she’s Joy Sterling’s mother, it all made perfect sense. I was there because Joy had invited Jose and me. It was Audrey and Barry Sterling who had made it all possible for all of us to be there celebrating Earth Day.

FAST FORWARD to a couple of weeks ago… Now, to be at Iron Horse with my Oak Knoll Winery friends, who were visiting from Hillsboro, Oregon, Joy shared this…

Exciting “scoop”

Iron Horse is going to be the official bubbly for the Golden Gate’s 75th Anniversary Celebrations. Joy said, “I was asked if we’d like to be the the exclusive wine, and I said that just being the sparkling wine was all we needed. Why not let others share in that excitement?”

Officials from the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, in partnership with the National Park Service and the Presidio Trust, have announced details for The Golden Gate Festival, the official public celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. The multi-faceted two-day event will be held over Memorial Day weekend, May 26-27, 2012 and span the San Francisco waterfront from Fort Point (below the Golden Gate Bridge) to Pier 39.

Under the theme “Bridging Us All,” The Golden Gate Festival is the center point of the Bridge’s year-long 75th anniversary program. Harkening back to the spirit of the Golden Gate Fiesta when the bridge opened on May 27, 1937, highlights of the 2012 celebration include an historic watercraft parade, multiple music and dance stages, art installations, history and educational presentations, display of cars from 1937 to the present, and Bridge-related activities on Crissy Field and the Marina Green. These activities will be complemented by Bridge-themed events and performances at waterfront venues including Fort Mason Center, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Pier 39, among others. On Sunday evening, May 27th at approximately 9:30 p.m., the weekend celebration will conclude with a spectacular 75th anniversary fireworks display and grand finale.


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