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Auction of Washington Wines Raises $4 Million, Celebrating 36 Years of Washington Wine and Giving

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Auction of Washington Wines’ premier philanthropic wine events benefit Seattle Children’s, Washington State University Viticulture & Enology Research, and Industry Grant Partner, Vital Wines

Seattle, Wash. (August 14, 2023) — The Auction of Washington Wines celebrated its 36th year of wine events with last week’s TOAST!, Winemaker Picnic & Barrel Auction, and the Saturday night Gala. In conjunction with the online holiday Bid for Bottles auction and Wine Country Celebrations events hosted in April, the annual event series raised $4 million. One of the premier wine auctions in the United States, the Auction of Washington Wines has raised more than $63 million since its inception in 1988.

FThe Auction of Washington Wines is a nonprofit organization committed to advancing the awareness of Washington state wine through a series of fundraising events that support the community. August’s week-long celebration featured more than 300 winemakers, vintners, and growers who participated in the events to showcase the best wines that Washington has to offer.

“We want to thank our generous wineries, donors and sponsors for their support and collaboration, ensuring that the Auction of Washington Wines can continue to be one of the top charitable wine auctions in the country,” said Jamie Peha, executive director of the Auction of Washington Wines. “With our partners and host winery Chateau Ste. Michelle, we can create awareness for and attract consumers to the world-class Washington wine industry. It is our joint mission to support the industry and the community through the important work of our three philanthropic partners: Seattle Children’s, WSU Viticulture & Enology Research, and Vital Wines.”

Highlights of last week’s events included:

TOAST! August 10. The second annual TOAST! celebration honored Washington wine luminaries with a collegial reception, dinner, and awards ceremony. Honorees were selected by a group of peers through an inclusive nomination process, and the industry, community, and wine lovers gathered at Chateau Ste. Michelle in recognition of this year’s honorees. The 2023 honorary chair of Auction of Washington Wines, Annette Alvarez-Peters, opened the evening with a welcome speech. Honorary vintners Ben Smith and Gaye McNutt of Cadence Winery and honorary grower Miguel Rodriguez of Weinbau Vineyard set the tone with touching acceptance speeches. Award highlights included the top honor of Lifetime Achievement, which recognizes an individual whose dedication to the Washington wine industry spans over 25 years, awarded this year to Ted Baseler, accepted by his wife, JoAnne Baseler, on his behalf The Healthy Land, Healthy Communities award for commitment to addressing today’s environmental challenges and developing equitable, viable, and responsible solutions was presented to Hedges Family Estate, one of only three Biodynamic vineyards in Washington state. All four emerging leaders this year were women paving the way with remarkable advances for future generations: Ashley Trout of Brook & Bull and Vital Wines, Devyani Isabel Gupta of Valdemar Estates, Rebecca De Kleine of Four Feathers Wine Services, and Dr. Michelle Moyer of WSU’s Viticulture and Enology department. Find a full list of winners at auctionofwawines.org. TOAST! was presented by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, with a new industry afterparty sponsored by Trysk Print Solutions and Tonnellerie Quintessence.
TOAST!

Winemaker Picnic & Barrel Auction, August 11. The weekend’s largest charitable wine and culinary event took place on the grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle, with more than 900 guests. The event showcased 100 wineries and 12 local restaurants, including Communion, Jack’s BBQ, Surrell, and Ray’s Boathouse, and desserts from Trophy Cupcakes and FogRose Atelier. The VIP tent, presented by PNC Bank, featured luxury Washington wines and food from The Restaurant at DeLille Cellars. The concurrent Barrel Auction featured yet-to-be-released barrel samples from 35 Washington wineries for exciting, live bidding. The highest bid during Friday’s Barrel Auction was for Long Shadows 2020 Feather Cabernet Sauvignon, which sold for $4,000.

36th Annual Gala, August 12. Held at Chateau Ste. Michelle since the Gala’s inception, this annual event is the culmination of the weekend’s celebration and is the largest fundraising event for the Auction of Washington Wines. A welcome reception kicked off the evening, with Washington wine tasting bars and a luxury bottle auction. Under the large tent, a gourmet five-course dinner prepared by local chefs was served at winemaker-hosted tables, with 62 wineries represented. The Gala included a live auction featuring international travel packages, unique wine lots, and “money-can’t-buy” experiences. Items up for bid included a private winemaker and media dinner in New York City with Washington native actor-turned-winemaker Kyle MacLachlan and Ray Isle, long time executive wine editor at Food & Wine; a VIP Seahawks experience with coach Pete Carroll hosted by L’Ecole No 41 owners, Megan and Marty Clubb to celebrate their 40th anniversary; and an eight-night celebrity-style South African safari at the exclusive Molori Safari Lodge courtesy of Betz Family Winery owners, Bridgit and Steve Griessel. The highest-grossing lot of the evening was an eight-night African safari from Betz Family Winery, which sold for $120,000 including a $50,000 match. The paddle raise for Seattle Children’s grossed $1.9 million to fund Uncompensated Care, Homelessness Prevention Fund, and their eastern Washington clinics.

The evening concluded with an afterparty featuring lively disco music provided by DJ Vinnie and late-night desserts and snacks by Cava Azul Cocina & Cantina and FogRose. The welcome reception and luxury bottle auction was presented by Ferrari of Seattle, the Gala after-party was presented by PNC Bank, and corporate table sponsors included CBIZ, Rainier Heli International, RNDC, Southern Glazer’s, and Tinte Cellars.

ABOUT AUCTION OF WASHINGTON WINES

The Auction of Washington Wines supports the growth and raises awareness of the Washington wine industry while benefiting the greater community through fundraising events. The auction has raised more than $63 million since its inception in 1988. Washington’s premier wine auction uplifts the state’s wine industry and raises funds for Seattle Children’s, Washington State University’s Viticulture and Enology Department, and Vital Wines, a nonprofit winery that provides much needed medical care to vineyard workers. Key supporters for 2023 include John L. Scott Foundation, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the Seattle Times, and PNC Bank. For more information visit auctionofwawines.org.

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