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Eco-conscious Foodies, Vintners and Artists Unite for Scholarships at Feb. 5 Heart di Vite

Cooks Confab joins top Napa wineries and renowned artists for UC San Diego fundraiser


  • Jade Griffin

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  • Jade Griffin

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What happens when you pair Napa Valley’s finest biodynamic winemakers with San Diego’s top master chefs, simmered with a dash of fine art? Heart di Vite, translated “heart of the vine,” is a unique fundraising event dedicated to the love of art, science and the environment. Heart di Vite, hosted by the University of California, San Diego’s Division of Biological Sciences, is slated for Sunday, Feb. 5 at 4 p.m. and will offer the best in sustainable food, wine and art while raising much-needed environmental science scholarships.

The event, located at the oceanfront, LEED-certified Scripps Seaside Forum in La Jolla, will feature the extraordinary culinary talents of San Diego’s “Cooks Confab,” a group of celebrated chefs from the region’s finest restaurants who band together to create special, one-of-a-kind menus that are local, sustainable and responsible. Their delectable dishes, created especially for Heart di Vite, will be expertly paired with Napa Valley’s premium biodynamic and organic wines. The participating chefs will vie for the honor of “Top Green Chef,” selected by a panel of local celebrity judges with a prize package awarded by Hope & Grace Wines. Their backdrop: stunning works of visual art presented by world-renowned artists.


Renowned local chefs, including Andrew Spurgin will share their culinary creations.

A unique feature of Heart di Vite is a raffle for an “Instant Wine Cellar,” an extensive collection of premium, biodynamic and organic wines, valued at nearly $5,000. For more information on purchasing tickets for the raffle in advance, please visit

Heart di Vite calls attention to the growing environmental threats that California’s wine country, farmlands and waterways continue to face, while raising funds for UC San Diego students who will become the environmental leaders and innovators of tomorrow.

“Understanding biology is vital for all of us to understand how we can become healthier, how we can become better stewards of our environment and how we can shape a new bio-based economy,” says Dean Steve Kay, of the Division of Biological Sciences.  “Heart di Vite is a celebration of science and art, and truly a celebration of our students’ potential to dramatically improve the quality of our lives.”

Participating chefs include event co-chair Andrew Spurgin, Campine, A Culinary + Cocktail Conspiracy; Oliver Bioteau, Farmhouse Cafe; Amy DiBiase, The Shores; Jack Fisher, Jack Fisher Confections; Trey Foshee, George’s California Modern; Antonio Friscia, Campine, A Culinary + Cocktail Conspiracy and Stingaree; Katie Grebow, Cafe Chloe; Jeff Jackson, The Lodge; Jason Knibb, NINE-TEN; Melissa Mayer, Martini Media; Brian Sinnot; and Ian Ward, Snake Oil Cocktail Co.


The event will feature a raffle for an “instant wine cellar” worth nearly $4,000.

Their creations will be paired with wines from vintners including Araujo Estate, Charles Krug, Frog’s Leap, Hope & Grace, Prager Winery and Port Works, Napa Wine Company, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Spottswoode, Staglin Family Vineyard, Sterling Vineyards and ZD Wines.

Heart di Vite will also showcase pieces by some of the leading environmentally-conscious visual artists of our time, including Sondra Barrett, UC San Diego alumna Joyce Cutler-Shaw, Valentin Popov, Lynn Schuette and Miles Metzger. Their artwork will be available for purchase, while live and silent auctions will feature additional unique items and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

All proceeds from the event will benefit environmental science scholarships for undergraduates in the Division of Biological Sciences and will also contribute toward UC San Diego’s signature $50 million student support campaign, Invent the Future.

The cost to attend Heart di Vite is $100 per person or $185 per couple. Individuals may also sponsor a student to attend for $100. In addition, event sponsorships are still available. The event will take place at the Scripps Seaside Forum, located at 8610 Kennel Way in La Jolla. For information and to purchase tickets, please visit or call (858) 534-1966. 

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