FALLTACULAR 2021 Postponed

It’s been a unique year for so many people. We’ve all been through so much, and as I think back about the irony of things, we held Falltacular in late February 2020, just before everything abruptly changed. I feel grateful that we were able to raise $50,000 to help Laura’s House that weekend, and that all of us could come together, create joy and raise money. Please know that this funding helped to house 12 women and their children for an entire month at the Emergency DV Shelter. Further, that even in the pandemic year we have experienced, the calls to Laura’s House for help are up 28% over last year. The need continues.

Throughout the lockdown, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the event, about the different kinds of feedback so many of you have given me the past few years. I’ve looked at everything about the event, which included assembling a small committee of Decade of Support members (defined as attending Falltacular for at least 10 years) to help in my review. I want to thank Lisa Lovullo, Brian Bohr, Arnie Caplan, Mike Stoneking, Francine Haight, Larry Schaffer of Tercero Wines, and Eric Lundblad of Ladd Cellars. They donated their time on multiple occasions via Zoom meetings and email exchanges to provide me support.

For all of you that attend, donate your time, wines and money, we’ve built a special event that has raised nearly $500,000 the past 14 years. I’m proud of that work, what each of you has done in your own way to create that result.

As I think about Falltacular, I recognize its success has created a very large event. After giving this much thought, I am making some key changes to the event. I recognize I cannot please everyone and so please try and understand my logic in an effort to make the event more comfortable, and at the same time treat everyone fairly. The following will be changes I will be making for 2021.


For the Friday and Saturday pieces of Falltacular, the following will take place:

FRIDAY BYOB DINNER—Friday, October 22nd @ Gianna’s in Dana Point. This is the new restaurant that is being opened this summer by Danielle of Maison Cafe, where we held last year’s Friday dinner. Gianna’s will offer more space, which allows us to re-examine the format, to include the table arrangements, food options, etc. More to come as we get closer.

SATURDAY MAIN EVENT—Saturday, October 23rd @ Frank and Jill’s home. Same as the previous 14 years. This date also coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the United States.


In the past few months, we looked at the option of moving the event to a larger private home but that option is not available until potentially 2022. I remain committed to keep the event personal, down to earth and as informal as I can, which is why I believe many of you cherish the event so much. In saying that, I am going to reduce attendance by about 25%. This will bring the total event down closer to 140 people, which for me is a comfortable outcome that I believe the event needs.

Ultimately, my priority is to treat everyone fairly. To do that, we will sell tickets in 2 waves. Please read the following carefully to understand in which wave you fit.

WAVE 1, to be sold starting Monday, August 2nd using the Laura’s House website.
The guests in this wave will have a guaranteed 14 days to purchase. At the end of that period, any unused tickets will be reallocated to WAVE 2.

For WAVE 1, the following guests will be invited to buy tickets:

Decade of Support (DOS) Guests. 60 tickets. These are guests who have paid and attended for at least 10 years total. If 2021 will be your DOS milestone year, I will consider you DOS for purposes of this year’s ticketing. If you are unsure if you are part of this group, please reach out to me. Note—if you have customarily attended as a DOS couple, you will be counted this way, which means a DOS couple cannot de-couple and then each invite a person.

Top Silent Auction Buyers. 10 tickets. I want to thank the top 5 silent auction buyers from 2020’s event by enabling them to also bring a guest. I will personally reach out to the 5 of you so that I can thank and inform you.

Out of State Guests. 10 tickets. I want to honor those who invest the extra cost to get here (buy airfare, rental car and additional hotel room nights). If you live outside of California, you are part of this group.

Winemaker Guests. 20 tickets (presumes 10 winemakers plus one guest each).

After 14 days, WAVE 1’s ticketing period is over and we’ll stop selling tickets on the Laura’s House website. I’ll then send out communication that WAVE 2 will begin, no sooner than 7-10 days later. This blackout period gives Wave 2 time to consider purchasing tickets and eliminates the pressure of people having to rush to purchase.

WAVE 2, to be sold in the latter part of August, using the Laura’s House website.

The following guests are WAVE 2:

Repeat/New Guests. At least 40 tickets*. This cohort is the group of people who are not defined in WAVE 1, or who are new to the event. More simply, you will fall into this group if you are not a winemaker, out of state or 10 year attending guest.
*NOTE—there may be more than 40 tickets in this category, dependent on unused tickets from WAVE 1.


Our core objective in running this event is to raise funding for Laura’s House. I’ve worked very hard to keep the price of the event low and value-based, and in fact the event was $75 way back in 2012, and as recent as 2020, most all of you paid the suggested $100 per ticket. Based on the size of the event being shrunk by 25%, which makes the event more comfortable, I am raising the price of the ticket to $125 per person. Everyone will pay this rate, with no more ‘suggested’ pricing. For all the food, over 125 different wines and the fellowship the event creates, I do think this is a fair increase. It won’t offset the loss of ticket sales by reducing the attendance, but it does help to recover some of it. As a key reminder, everything we raise goes to Laura’s House–this is a licensed, not for profit event.


I suspect some folks will want to know how we’ll handle this piece. My stance here is one of personal responsibility and choice. Everyone will be welcome to the event, regardless of your personal vaccination decision. We will examine state and federal guidelines that exist at the time of Falltacular but assuming things remain as ‘normal’, we will run the event as we always have. Jill and I would only ask that if you are not feeling well or are having symptoms consistent with the virus that you do not attend.

I recognize this is a lot to take in, which is why I am getting out in front of you early with this information. I am sure you will have questions, I encourage you to ask them by posting them in reply or sending me an email privately to drfm3@cox.net. Again, thanks to all of you for the success of Falltacular. It has been a privilege and opportunity to have done this event for what will be 15 years this October.


We have a grandchild arriving early October so Grandma may want to stay home but initially we’re all-in!

I love the amount of thought and care that has obviously gone into these changes (I’m not surprised — this has always been one of the best-run events around). Since we’ve moved, I’m not sure if we’ll be able to make it this year or not, but I’m hoping that at least I can make the trek. Thanks for the advance notice here, so I can have plans more solidified by the time tickets are available.

Very exciting. Provided I can get a ticket!

One of my favorite events for a multitude of reasons. I look forward to being there.

Good news.
On my calendar.
I plan on attending.
Glad to see Mr. Segui will be attending again.

Thank you Frank.


I’m really going to try to do this this year, great cause and wonderful people!!

In the midst of harvest . . .but I wouldn’t miss it! So looking forward to this . . .

Thank you all for your comments and for reading the announcement. Between here and Facebook, which are the only channels I use for Falltacular, it looks like the info made it out to the audience successfully.

I’ve answered all the direct messages both on here and over on Facebook but if you have questions about the changes, please reach out to me.

On a side note, many of you attended last year’s Friday BYOB dinner at Maison Cafe + Market, hosted by the owner Danielle Kuhn. Further, we are planning to still have Danielle host the Friday BYOB dinner this year at her new location down the street called Giana’s.

I wanted to share with you that Danielle is now in a battle with her landlord, who is trying to get her close her doors at Maison. If you want to support Danielle, to include making a donation to her Go Fund Me campaign to fight the landlord and support with her legal fees, please help. Below is the Go Fund Me page link. I’ve also posted a link to Facebook page where you can read about the matter.



Fight like hell, Dani. And whatever happens, know that OCFalltacular will stand by you. I want to support a place that has done so much for the community, her employees and us.

My big question—how on earth did Brig ascend to the post of ye right and honourable Moderator? [grin.gif]

I am guardedly hopeful of coming, but the emphasis is on guarded right now.

Will try to make this happen.

@Grammer , we can sneak you out/in Canada if need be!

I know how big your luggage is, John, so I know that’s no idle boast [grin.gif]

I think you and the advisory committee did a great job planning Falltacular’s future, Frank. All very clearly and logically presented and even to me, it makes perfect sense. Congratulations. That said, Oct. 23 I am currently scheduled for a geology field conference, which will include some terroir stops in Temecula, so I am likely to miss the 2021 “we are back” event. Sorry. Really sorry. But, do events change and get cancelled in the Covid-era, oh yeah so nothing is certain. [cheers.gif]

We needed junior associates!

Getting closer . . .

Good morning. Jill and I hope that everyone is doing well through what has been a tough year. Many things have impacted the Falltacular family, uniquely to each of you so whatever that has been, we hope each of you has remained strong and has adjusted to everything that has been thrown at you.

For Falltacular, I know that we have the ticketing process right around the corner, and changes to the event that I and the Planning Committee worked hard to implement to further improve the event. These were meaningful changes, and the 7 members of the Committee did meaningful work to get us here. Again, I want to thank them–Mike Stoneking, Lisa Lovullo, Larry Schaffer, Brian Bohr, Arnie Caplan, Eric Lundblad and Francine Haight.

Reluctantly, I need to come to you all and announce that I have to delay Falltacular. Very recently I learned that I have some heart repairs I need to have done and I’ll be getting some surgery soon which will lay me up, to include some recovery time. This is going to require me to delay Falltacular until I can return to being 100% committed to executing the event.

Putting on a top shelf event for you is the priority. We all care so much for this event, for helping Laura’s House so I ask that you stick by the event during this delay, and we’ll see about pressing the “Go” button for it next year, perhaps around the usual February time frame.

If you have questions or concerns, you can post them here or send them directly to me via email to drfm3@cox.net.

God bless you everyone and stay safe.

Frank, without you there would be no Falltacular, take care of number one. We’ll be here when you’re ready for us.

Frank, so sorry to hear about your heart surgery. I pray it all goes well, and you recover 100%. Keep us all informed, and we’ll get together when you’re ready.

Happy holidays to everyone in the Falltacular family. I recognize it has been a good while since I shot out an update on Falltacular. I know the event is important to many of you, for many reasons, as it is to Jill and I.

I own the decision for the delays and postponement as I want to have a SAFE event for everyone. I also recognize that there are differing views on the pandemic, the tools to address it and how each person chooses to behave. We all owe each other grace and understanding in how we view life and how to live it, even in a pandemic.
Yet, to have over 100 people in our house now (likely closer to 125-150) seems like an UNSAFE decision. And if we had to install a tent in the backyard like some of our past years, this further confines people inside of the event’s ‘physical’ space.

I’ve given serious thought to what some have suggested, which is to respectfully require all guests to provide proof of vaccination to attend, which would help instill a feeling of safety for those who attend. Yet, this is still an unsatisfactory level of safety that I would have to support.

This decision is mine, and while I have the continued support of Margaret Bayston and Laura’s House, they also believe in the offering of a SAFE event and how to best manifest it. So, I’m going to keep Falltacular on hold until at least Spring. Conditions of the pandemic may change, allowing me to feel better about putting it on.
Jill, Margaret and Laura’s House all deeply respect the support and love you have all invested in the event for so many years. We will be back at some point.
God bless everyone, and happy holidays.

PS…I will do some noodling about how we can safely raise some money for Laura’s House this winter. Last month, we raised just over $10,000 during the Tasting Note Challenge on WINE TALK so there are ways forward to help.



Thanks for the update - and we all support you in your efforts to get this event back off the ground. Keep us posted about other ways to support Laura’s House.