SANTA ROSA, CA (September 20, 2023) – Sonoma County Vintners Foundation (SCVF) is pleased to announce that its annual Sonoma County Wine Auction (SCWA) has raised over $1.3 million. These proceeds will fund next year’s SCVF Community Grants for nonprofit organizations in the areas of education & literacy, health & human services, the environment, and arts & culture as well as the Emergency Relief Fund. The 2023 SCWA was held at the breathtaking La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard on September 16, 2023. Since the auction’s inception more than $41 million has been raised, directly benefiting Sonoma County community members in need.
“It is important to our local wine industry that we raise this critical funding to help create a thriving community and also help support our neighbors when they need assistance due to unfortunate circumstances,” said Mark Malpiede, Sonoma County Vintners Foundation President and President of Ernest Vineyards.
This year’s extraordinary dining experiences held on September 14 to kick off the SCWA events were hosted by Patz & Hall, Bricoleur Vineyards with Bob Cabral Wines, Browne Family Wines, and Pride Mountain Vineyards with Black Pig Meat Co.
Rodney Strong Vineyards hosted the Best. Party. Ever. on Friday, September 15, with a fabulous evening of exceptional wine, festive food and live music on The Rodney Strong Concert Green. The evening included an array of multicultural experiences with music from Los Boleros, Northern California’s most popular Cuban, Latin and Salsa Band, and a special dance performance by Grupo Folklorico Quetzalen, which started as a senior project at Sonoma Valley High School and later became the community’s first Mexican folk ensemble.
SCWA Honorary Chairs James Hall and Anne Moses, Co-Founders of Patz & Hall welcomed more than 200 guests under the auction tent at La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard on September 16.
The highest selling lot of the day was Lot #7, Best of the Big Apple, featuring a luxurious five-night stay in New York City with Michelin-starred dining experiences and Broadway show tickets. Donated by Benovia Winery, the lot sold for $47,000. Lot #16, Celebrate Bhutan’s First Harvest, with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the country’s first commercial wine industry endeavor, was so enticing that the lot was doubled for two bidders to enjoy at $30,000 each raising, a total of $60,000.
Lot #11, The Farmer, Butcher, Chef, and a Unicorn, proved too good for two bidders to let go of, so the lot was also doubled at $29,000 each, for a total of $58,000. The lot includes an insider dining experience for 10 guests with 2023 Sonoma County Wine Auction Chef Honoree, Duskie Estes, and her husband, John Stewart, at MacBryde Farm in Forestville. It also includes a butchery overview from Dave-the-Butcher of Victorian Farmstead, dinner from world famous chef Charlie Palmer, and unicorn wines from the Three Sticks Monopole vineyards with a guided tasting experience by Prema Kerollis.
Duskie Estes is also the Executive Director of Farm to Pantry, one of the more than 400 nonprofits that has received community grants from SCWA proceeds. “What my nonprofit does is harvest food from farms and backyards to feed marginalized families,” said Duskie in her opening remarks. “We hit 300 farms and backyards last year with 500 volunteers and we harvested 1.6 million servings of produce. When we show up with the food, the families cannot be more grateful. Thank you Sonoma County Vintners for supporting Farm to Pantry’s work.”
Sonoma County’s world class wines were highlighted during the auction, with two guests bidding $28,000 each on Lot #1 Large Format Collector’s Edition, featuring an array of local wineries and raising a total of $56,000 after the lot was doubled. Another exciting prize of the day was Lot #18 Epic Experiences from Sonoma County to Nashville, which raised $28,000. Donated by Pride Mountain Vineyards and the V Foundation, the lot includes tickets to the Country Music Awards in Nashville and VIP experiences throughout the 2024 Sonoma Epicurean events.
The Fund-A-Need Paddle Raise is a powerful collective giving opportunity that raises money annually for children’s education and literacy, while also addressing new challenges the county faces. After a moving video message from the 2023 Fund-A-Need program sponsor, TricorBraun WinePak, the paddle raise resulted in more than $454,000 being earmarked for these programs, with additional donations being received after the event. Jackson Family Wines kicked off the Fund-A-Need Paddle Raise with a $100,000 donation. Foley Family Wines and E. & J. Gallo Winery raised their paddles next, contributing $50,000 each. Paddles continued to be raised, for donations ranging from $25,000 to $250 from live auction guests.
The new Wine Business Leadership Award was bestowed upon Prema Kerollis, General Manager and Co-Founder of Three Sticks and Head High Wines, during this year’s SCWA. The award, created in partnership between Sonoma County Vintners and The Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University, recognizes an individual annually who demonstrates great wine business leadership, vision, innovation, inspiration and impactful service to the Sonoma County community. Upon accepting the award, Prema said, “The commitment that Sonoma County Vintners and the Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute have to our industry and specifically to our region has helped breed this environment for leadership and I am very honored to be a part of that.”
Auction aficionados who missed this year’s SCWA live event will have a chance to bid for a good cause during the SCWA Online Auction, happening November 17 – December 1. Stay tuned to sonomacountywineauction.com or follow @sonomacountyvintners on social media to see more details as they are released.
If you would like to make a donation directly to Sonoma County Vintners Foundation, please visit sonomawine.com/foundation. To learn more about the Sonoma County Wine Auction and to see the 2023 recipients of the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation Community Grants distribution to 55 nonprofits, please visit sonomacountywineauction.com.
The 2024 Sonoma County Wine Auction will be held on September 19-21.
About La Crema
Our original name, La Crema Viñera, means “best of the vine,” setting the standard for all we do since 1979. Our wine is produced from the world’s preeminent growing regions, resulting in an uncompromised level of quality that is always promised and always delivered. We set the standard for quality-driven winemaking at scale, and cutting-edge practices for sustainable resource conservancy and protection. Our storied history in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley intersects with our modern, best-in-class hospitality, showcased from our historic estate tasting room and beyond. For more information, visit LaCrema.com, and follow La Crema on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About Rodney Strong Wine Estates
Rodney Strong Wine Estates (RSWE) is a family-owned wine company that includes Rodney Strong Vineyards, Davis Bynum Wines, and ROWEN Wine Company. Rodney Strong sustainably farms 12 estate vineyards and produces wines from Sonoma County’s finest appellations. The winery was founded in 1959 by Sonoma County pioneer Rod Strong as the 13th bonded winery in the county. For over 30 years, RSWE has flourished under the leadership of the Klein Family, 4th generation California farmers. The Klein family is committed to protecting and preserving the environment in both the vineyards and at the winery through sustainable and innovative practices. Rodney Strong Wine Estates is a family of passionate people committed to crafting premium wines, meaningful experiences, and sustainable leadership in Sonoma County. Learn more at RodneyStrong.com.
About Sonoma County Wine Auction
Sonoma County Wine Auction brings the region’s renowned winemakers and growers together with distinguished collectors and generous bidders for an opportunity to acquire some of Sonoma County’s top wines and bid on once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences. Named one of the nation’s top charitable wine auctions by Wine Spectator, the proceeds raised benefit local Sonoma County charitable organizations. Since its inception, Sonoma County Wine Auction has raised millions of dollars to help fund charitable organizations focusing on education & literacy, health & human services, the environment, arts & culture, as well as the Emergency Relief Fund, and has supported more nonprofits than any other fundraising event in Sonoma County. Learn more at SonomaCountyWineAuction.com.
About Sonoma County Vintners Foundation
Sonoma County Vintners Foundation provides support to the local community through philanthropy and charitable giving. Sonoma County Vintners Foundation (SCVF) is an accredited 501c(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1988. Its purpose is to consistently support local nonprofit organizations that address issues within the Sonoma County community. SCVF cultivates a vibrant and diverse Sonoma County by elevating lives through charitable events and philanthropic giving. Fundraising efforts have a direct impact in the areas of education & literacy, health & human services, the environment, arts & culture. With SCVF’s many initiatives including the Emergency Relief Fund, the organization is able to impact all needs, ranging from the immediate to the long term. Learn more at SonomaWine.com/foundation.