Karen Caldwell and Nacho Figueras
George Hamel III, Pam Hamel and George Hamel Jr.
Piper and Nacho Figueras
Mary Alice Stephenson and Luca Iacovoni
Laura Jones and Lilu Kwong
Jamison O'Toole, Eoin Harrington, Svetlana Kolesnikova, Lauren Ramsey
Robert Atkinson, Jessica Hickingbotham and J Hickingbotham
Maxine Sigel and Joelle Benioff
Luca Iacovoni, Mary Alice Stephenson and Robert Atkinson
Alex Hettinger and Nicoli Ursin
Nacho Figueras and Delfina Blaquier
John Kirkpatrick and Robert Atkinson
Anita Herbert, Nacho Figueras and Raphael Hernandez
Toni Knorr and Anthony Ingham
Photography by Drew Altizer
Polo star Nacho Figueras, one of the hautest polo players in the world, heated up Sonoma Valley when he rode in for the inaugural St. Regis Polo Cup on Sept. 20 at the Wine Country Polo Club. VIP guests arrived in bespoke Bentleys for the event and enjoyed live music, a gourmet Argentine Asado, signature St. Regis Bloody Mary cocktails and wine tastings provided by Hamel Family Wines, Sojourn, Deerfield Ranch, Madrone Vineyards Estate and more.
For Figueras, who lives outside of Buenos Aires, this marked his first time in San Francisco. “We stopped by the Golden Gate Bridge this morning and took some photos,” he said before the match got underway.
Figueras, a St. Regis Connoisseur, captained the St. Regis team to a 7-5 victory over the Hamel Family Wines team. But the real winner was Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center, a non-profit organization in Petaluma dedicated to enriching the lives of the disabled children through the extraordinary benefits of therapeutic riding. The event raised more than $40,000 for the non-profit. And the real star was Grace Anne Doyle, a seven-year-old who wowed the stylish crowd when she sweetly sang the national anthem. Therapeutic riding is credited for helping Doyle, who has cerebral palsy, learn how to walk when she was two.
“Wow, I love your dress. It’s so cute,” the charming Figueras told Doyle as she stood near him and appeared mesmerized by his attractiveness—like a lot of the other females in attendance. Even the announcer appeared infatuated, constantly mentioning Figueras’ good looks, which certainly bring attention to the sport.
“Polo is a wonderful thing to do if you have the opportunity,” said Figueras, who this year has traveled to the Hamptons, Mexico, China, Brazil and England for St. Regis Polo. “If you’re not (able) to play then it’s a wonderful sport to watch. It’s a great day outdoors with friends and family. You can bring a picnic.”
These guests didn’t need to bring a picnic because of the gourmet Argentine Asado created by Oliver Belliard, the hotel’s executive chef. And after the match, some of the VIPs, including Figueras and Blaquier, retreated to Hamel Family Wines for an exquisite al fresco sunset dinner designed by Paula LeDuc.
“This is a world-class place that seems to get overshadowed by whatever is over on the other side of that mountain,” winery owner George Hamel said, referring to Napa.
Hamel, whose wife rides, gave a three-year commitment to the St. Regis Polo Cup. That should earn Sonoma plenty of attention in the years to come. Especially if Figueras returns.