St. Helena, Calif, March 22, 2016 – Lake, Napa and surrounding county residents joined #LakeCountyRising to raise more than $150,000 at the Charity Wine Auction on Sunday at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, Calif.
More than 100 guests gathered for the Charity Wine Auction, among whom were Linda Reiff of Napa Valley Vintners, Cyril Chappellet of Chappellet Winery, and Clay Shannon, owner of Shannon Ridge Family of Wines. Proceeds from Sunday’s auction were generated from the event’s 10 live auction lots, 20 silent auction lots, ticket sales, and donations from attending guests and supporters.
Since the devastating Valley Fire, which scorched more than 115 square miles, destroyed 1,300 homes, and claimed the lives of four Lake County residents, #LakeCountyRising has raised nearly $1 million for Valley Fire Relief. At the Charity Wine Auction, it was apparent the overwhelming support from community members and wine industry supporters continues, even six months after the fire.
The afternoon opened with speakers Andy Beckstoffer and US Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05), who commented on the deep and historic connection between Napa and Lake Counties. Focusing on the growth of Lake and Napa counties in the last 150 years, Beckstoffer highlighted the deep-rooted connection between the two counties, reminding guests that prior to 1851, Lake was actually part of Napa County.
Andy Beckstoffer opens Sunday’s event by discussing the historic relationship between Lake and Napa counties. Photo: Nathan DeHart
In recounting the fire’s devastation, Congressman Mike Thompson shared numerous anecdotes from evacuees and supporting community members who came together in the days following the Valley Fire’s devastation. His personal accounts of residents like Karen Cakebread, who provided meals to evacuees at the emergency shelter at the Calistoga fairgrounds, further demonstrated the joint coalition between Lake and Napa county residents.
US Congressman Mike Thompson shares stories from evacuees and supporters following Valley Fire devastation. Photo: Nathan DeHart
The two most popular live auction lots from Sunday included (1) “Personal Barrel Lot of 2016 Cabernet from Beckstoffer’s famed Georges III Heritage Vineyard and Crafted by Sinegal Estate”, and (2) “Taste of Napa Valley Heritage”, which included dinner for two couples with Andy and Betty Beckstoffer at PRESS Napa Valley, four magnums from Beckstoffer’s Heritage Vineyards, a selection of famed Napa Valley wines to complement dinner, and a copy of Kelli White’s Napa Valley Then & Now. After receiving competitive bids from multiple bidders, both auction lots were made available to the first and second bidders, which raised a combined $81,000 for Sunday’s event.
Auctioneer Fritz Hatton leads bidding on the event’s 10 live auction lots. Photo: Nathan DeHart
Apart from auction lots, the event also showcased Lake County wines, poured by Aliénor Wines, Boatique Winery, Bodkin, Brassfield Estate Winery, Calvino Jones, Chacewater Winery, Fore Family Vineyards, Fults Family Vineyards, Gregory Graham Wines, Hawk and Horse Vineyards, Jelly Jar, Langtry Estate, Obsidian Ridge Vineyard, R Vineyards, Rock Wall Wine Company, Rosa d’Oro Vineyards, Shannon Ridge Family of Wines, Six Sigma Ranch, Sol Rouge and Steele Wines.
A special thanks is given to notable bidders, particularly Dwight Haldan, Tor Kenward and Todd Zapolski, who greatly contributed to the success of Sunday’s event.
In addition to these contributors, the event would not have been possible without the generous support of Tom Bensel, Bob Bath, and the faculty and staff at the Culinary Institute of America, including Andy Wild, who not only led the culinary team at Sunday’s event, but headed a team of chefs at the evacuation center in the weeks following the Valley Fire.
#LakeCountyRising is a fundraising effort to support community rebuilding in the areas ravaged by the Valley Fire with a focus on livelihood, housing and community needs. The effort was initiated by three Lake County organizations – the Lake County Winegrape Commission, the Lake County Winery Association and the Lake County Wine Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that will manage the collection and distribution of tax-deductible donations. #LakeCountyRising aims to raise significant funds over the coming weeks and months to help members of the Lake County community cope, adjust and rebuild after the Valley Fire. #LakeCountyRising is working with local organizations and government agencies to identify the most pressing community needs.
Individuals and businesses that would like to support the #LakeCountyRising effort and ensure their donations go to help survivors of the Valley Fire may visit http://lakecountyrising.org. Or they may send a check made payable to “Lake County Rising Fire Relief Fund” to P.O. Box 530, Kelseyville, CA 95451. Donations are tax-deductible.