Unprecedented demand for single lot of ruby bottle, private dinner, and jewelry design experience prompts design partners to quadruple the auction lot in real time, selling four identical lots for $75,000 each
Menlo Park, CA | New York (August 11, 2020) – A dramatic bidding war erupted during the V Foundation Virtual Wine Celebration this weekend, as bidders vied to own the world’s only ruby-encrusted Jeroboam bottle, co-designed by longtime Foundation supporters Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry and Gemstone Vineyard. The ruby-encrusted Jeroboam Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2019 future of Gemstone’s Ruby Barrel Selection bottled by premier winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown, was just one part of an experiential auction package (lot 4) that also included a private dinner for 6 and the opportunity to later remove and reset the bottle’s rubies into a custom piece designed by Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry. Interest in the lot was so high, even down to the final moments of the virtual auction, that Wine Celebration Board members Amy Dornbusch and Jared Silver volunteered to produce another 3 identical bottles and offer identical auction lots to the three other competing bidders. The four total lots sold for $75,000 each. Silver, Dornbusch, select fellow Wine Celebration board members, and a small group of friends watched the digital action unfold at a socially distanced gathering at Adam and Amy Dornbusch’s private home, raising a toast to a successful collaboration and quadrupled bids, which together contributed $300,000 towards the auction’s total proceeds of over $3.6 million raised for cancer research.
The virtual auction was hosted by NCAA basketball coaching legend Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, ESPN’s SportsCenter Anchor, Sage Steele, and featured surprise celebrity guests and entertainers including Katie Couric. Amy and Adam Dornbusch and Jared Silver were joined at the intimate Napa Valley watch party by fellow Wine Celebration Board Members Marc Rollins (with Whitney Michiels) and Barry Chandler Williams, as well as special guests Caitlin and Stuart Landesberg, Douglas Cortina, Kristen Winzent, Clinton Yara, Brett Geist, James Herbert, Adrienne Lin, and Sara Wortman. The guests toasted the surprise turn of events, as one auction lot turned into four Ruby Jeroboam Futures packages, far exceeding expectations. The winning bidders included Nan and Wayne Kocourek, Cindy and Evan Goldberg, and two additional anonymous bidders.
The winning bidders included Nan and Wayne Kocourek, Cindy and Evan Goldberg, and two additional anonymous bidders. Each will receive a 2019 Future of Gemstone Vineyard’s exclusive Ruby Barrel selection. Once aged to perfection and artfully blended by Thomas Rivers Brown (2018 Wine Spectator: “Napa’s Top Gun”), the exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon will be poured into each 3L Jeroboam bottle, etched, waxed, expertly set with rubies hand-selected by Jared Silver, and presented in a custom ‘jewelry’ box. These special auction lots mark the first time the waitlist only Ruby Barrel Selection has ever been offered in a large format 3L edition, and they are certainly the first to be so elaborately etched and adorned with gems.
The auction packages also included a private dining and wine-tasting experience for six with the Silver and the Dornbusch families, and a future chance to collaborate with Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry on a custom ruby design, extracting the gemstones after the wine has been consumed to reset into a custom jewelry piece created by the Silvers’ team of designers and artisans.
The Silvers and the Dornbuschs have long been friendly, sharing a love for local philanthropy and having found common ground as producers and purveyors of rare, collectible commodities that require the right conditions, passion, and expertise to create. Their friendship continued to flourish once Jared Silver joined Gemstone Vineyards Proprietor Amy Marks Dornbusch on the V Foundation Wine Celebration Board in 2019. This bottle collaboration for the Wine Celebration was the fruit of their close collaboration, as the Board sought to make this year’s auction lots more exclusive than ever before.
Jared Silver, President of Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry: “The auction results certainly exceeded our expectations. We are so proud to be able to raise even more funds for the V Foundation. It’s clear that the success of this auction item is a testament to the longstanding commitment of the friends of the V Foundation, as well as the incredible partnership that resulted in the first of its kind ruby Jeroboam. It warms my heart to know that these magnificent bottles will be on display in four of the most prominent wine cellars in the world and that we raised $300,000, ensuring vital funds continue to go to cancer research.
Amy Dornbusch, Proprietor, Gemstone Vineyard: “This is an incredibly special collaboration and important to us for many reasons. I have been on the board of the V Foundation Wine Celebration for 7 years and my family has supported this phenomenal organization for over 20. Jared and Stephen Silver have become great friends of ours through this community and through our positions on the board. This collaborative project is a testament to our friendship and our shared desire to find a cure for cancer. Named after our daughter, the Ruby Barrel Selection is the most special Cabernet Sauvignon from our estate; a wine that is crafted by tasting through every single one of our barrels and selecting the 4 most distinctive of the vintage. There is as much thought and deliberate attention to quality and detail put into our wines as the Silvers dedicate to crafting their exquisite pieces. We are thrilled to offer this “gem” as it is such a meaningful alignment of the values behind Gemstone, the Stephen Silver brand, and the winning bidder. It is my sincere belief that we will find a cure for cancer long before this Jeroboam reaches its aging potential. I hope the enjoyment of our 2019 Ruby Cabernet serves as the ultimate celebration for finding a cure, and the beautiful Stephen Silver adornment its lasting legacy!”
About Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry
Stephen Silver is a Silicon-Valley based gemologist, geologist, diamonteer, and philanthropist. Over the course of the last 40 years, Silver has established a reputation amongst his global network of jewelry industry contacts and elite gemstone collectors for his expertise in diamond and color gemstone cutting and jewelry design. Following his geology studies at San Diego State University and earning a Graduate Gemologist degree from GIA, Silver later returned to the San Francisco Bay Area to found an estate jewelry firm specializing in antiques and precious stones. There, he gained access to a number of history’s most important colored gems, including the famous Cullinan Blue Diamond necklace, a historic piece he went on to purchase and donate to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and later, the Pink Promise Diamond, which he recut and improved, resulting in a record price per carat at auction in 2017. Joined in recent years by son and Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry President Jared Silver, Stephen Silver expanded his business into a vertically integrated wholesale manufacture and retail operation of international reach with an office and retail boutique based in and around Menlo Park, California. For more information, visit shsilver.com
Beyond their renown as gemstone, jewelry, and timepiece experts, the Silvers are also recognized in Silicon Valley for their extensive philanthropic work. As lifelong residents of the San Francisco Bay area, they have been both consistent and significant supporters of a number of charities, donating millions to regional organizations that include the Sharks Foundation, the Peninsula Volunteers, Inc., Bizworld.org, Menlo Charity Horse Show, One Mind, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, the V Foundation, and more. The company’s philanthropy program carefully screens potential beneficiaries to ensure that at least 90 percent of the funds they raise benefit their causes, and evaluates each program’s efficacy in combating disease, advancing education, or the arts.
About Gemstone Ruby Barrel Selection Cabernet Sauvignon
Our Ruby Barrel Selection Cabernet Sauvignon is our smallest-production wine, and it celebrates our proprietor’s first-born daughter, Ruby. For this wine, our winemaker carefully selects just four barrels from every vintage, evaluating each individually vinified lot and blending for beautiful balance of fruit character, power, acidity, and structure – a complete expression of our estate. We like to think of our Ruby Cabernet Sauvignon as honoring both the legacy of Gemstone Vineyard and the next generation of the Gemstone Vineyard family. Aged for 20 months in 100% new French Oak. Only 100 cases produced.
About Gemstone Vineyard
Gemstone Vineyard has been producing award winning estate Cabernet Sauvignons for over 25 years. The vineyard was carefully selected for its unique geological characteristics and was planted in a complex variety of clonal selections and blocks, which are vinified separately for ultimate quality. Thomas Rivers Brown, a decorated star in the wine world and one of the most sought after winemakers in Napa Valley, crafts the Gemstone wines through an intricate blending process allowing specific parts of the Gemstone terroir to characterize each of the three Cabernets from the estate. The 16-acre vineyard is located in the Yountville Appellation of Napa Valley, on the alluvial deposits just east of Pritchard Hill. Robert Parker once called this coveted area “the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Napa Valley,” with Gemstone at its center. Gemstone has a limited production of under 1,500 cases sold primarily to its allocation members with a few select restaurant placements including The French Laundry, Per Se, and the Michael Mina restaurant group. The proprietors, Amy and Adam Dornbusch are dedicated to the continued excellence of their vineyard and wines and carrying the Gemstone legacy into the future. www.gemstonevineyard.com
Gemstone Vineyard has been a proud vintner partner of the V Foundation Wine Celebration for over ten years and has raised well over $1 Million for cancer research through its own philanthropic contributions and one of a kind auction lots.