Auction of Washington Wines raises record $3 million

By on August 22, 2016
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Scenes from this year's Auction of Washington Wines in Woodinville. (Photo courtesy of Auction of Washington Wines/Woodinville Media Group)

Bidders helped raise more than $3 million at this year’s Auction of Washington Wines in Woodinville. (Photo courtesy of Auction of Washington Wines/Woodinville Media Group)

WOODINVILLE, Wash. – The 29th annual Auction of Washington Wines was the biggest and best yet as the fundraiser at Chateau Ste. Michelle had raised a record $3 million by the time it wrapped up Saturday evening.

The auction supports uncompensated care at Children’s Hospital in Seattle, as well as the enology and viticulture program at Washington State University. Live bidding during the three-day weekend accounted for $1.9 million.

This year’s honorary grower was Todd Newhouse of Upland Vineyards in Sunnyside. The honorary vintner was Mike Januik of Januik Winery. And the honorary chair was Jeb Dunnuck of Wine Advocate.

The Auction of Washington Wines has raised more than $37.5 million since Allen Shoup helped create it in 1988 when he was CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

This year’s total topped the record of $2.5 million raised during the 2015 Auction of Washington Wines. Co-chairs for this vintage were Norm McKibben and Jean-François Pellet of Pepper Bridge Winery along with Seattle Times owners Frank and Charlene Blethen.

More than 1,100 wine lovers met at Chateau Ste. Michelle for the Thursday Picnic & Barrel Auction. Earlier in the day, the second-annual Private Barrel Auction raised approximately $78,000, as restaurateurs, retailers and other members of the trade bid in live auctions on one-of-a-kind,  wine futures from notable Washington wineries.

On Friday, winemakers and guests gathered at seven private estates around the Puget Sound for winemaker dinners. The series raised more than $330,000.

Saturday morning, the family-friendly Columbia Winery Charity 10K Race and 5K Run/Walk and Kids Dash raised $130,000,

The highlight of Saturday night’s Wine Gala was the auction item for an eight-day, seven-night trip to the Italian vineyards and cellars of Antinori, accompanied by Master of Wine Bob Betz and his wife, Cathy. The trip went for $100,000.

Other top auction lots included:

  • A VIP experience at the 2017 Kentucky Derby, presented by 14 Hands, which sold for $35,000
  • Exclusive, two-person trip to New York City, including dinner at Eleven Madison Park and Le Cirque and tickets to a taping of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, which generated $25,000.

Saturday night marked the end of the Blethen’s term as co-chairs for the Auction of Washington Wines. The co-owners of The Seattle Times were replaced for 2017 by Yahn Bernier and Beth McCaw. Bernier is senior software development engineer for Valve. McCaw is an  attorney and President of Washington Women’s Foundation.

Promotional support for this year’s Auction of Washington Wines included a full-page ad in the July 31, 2016 issue of Wine Spectator.

Here are several photos from Thursday’s Auction Picnic and Saturday’s Gala Dinner, courtesy of the Auction of Washington Wines and Woodinville Media Group.

About Great Northwest Wine

Articles authored by Great Northwest Wine are co-authored by Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue. In most cases, these are wine reviews that are judged blind by the Great Northwest Wine tasting panel.

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