WOODINVILLE, Wash. – The 28th annual Auction of Washington Wines, which concluded Saturday evening, raised a record $2.5 million, up significantly from last year’s $1.8 million.
Beneficiaries from the fundraiser, which took place at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, include Children’s Hospital in Seattle and Washington State University’s viticulture and enology program. The auction has raised more than $34 million during its history, and donations this year surpassed the record of $2.25 million set in 2008.
This year’s co-chairs were Marty and Megan Clubb, owners of L’Ecole No. 41 in Lowden, Wash.; and Frank and Charlene Blethen, owners of The Seattle Times. The Blethens will stay on for another year as co-chairs of the event, and they will be joined by Norm McKibben and Jean François Pellet of Pepper Bridge Winery and Amavi Cellars.
The Auction of Washington Wines kicked off Thursday with the annual Picnic and Barrel Auction at Chateau Ste. Michelle. On Friday, several private winemaker dinners took place at homes throughout the Puget Sound region. And on Saturday evening, the gala dinner and live auction occurred at Chateau Ste. Michelle.
Among the live auction highlights were:
- Tribute dinner to John Sarich, culinary director for Chateau Ste. Michelle who died last fall. The dinner raised more than $20,000.
- Luxury hockey night in Canada with the Aquilinis (owners of the Vancouver Canucks and several hundred acres of vineyards on Red Mountain) and DeLille Cellars in Woodinville.
- An 18-liter bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon grown by honorary grower Dick Shaw and made by honorary vintner DeLille Cellars.
- An African safari and wine touring experience for seven nights, provided by Steve and Bridgit Griessel, owners of Betz Family Winery in Woodinville.
- A collection of 10 six-liter bottles from several top Walla Walla wineries, each adorned with original artwork created by Eric Dunham, who died last fall. Helping with this auction item on stage was actor Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks), owner of Pursued by Bear, a wine he produced with Dunham.
In addition, Columbia Winery (owned by Gallo) raised $100,000 for the auction with its annual fun run.
To see a few scenes from this year’s auction, click on the right arrow above.