Sonoma County, CA, September 8, 2015 –Excitement ran high, generosity prevailed and records were shattered at the 2015 Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean sponsored by TricorBraun WinePak, on Sunday, September 6 as a new record of $4.5 Million was raised. Over 650 guests from across the country gathered with Vintners and Winegrowers to raise record-breaking funds for a multitude of Sonoma County charities including the Fund the Future Children’s Literacy initiative.
Auctioneer Scott Robertson urged bidders to bid high for the extraordinary lots, ranging from highly-sought wines to priceless experiences. Culinary Co-Chairs, Mark and Terri Stark of Stark Reality Restaurants led a team of Sonoma County Chefs who created a delicious lunch that was local in inspiration and global in sophistication and enjoyed by all auction guests. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend which includes the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction, is presented by Visa Signature®.
Vintner leaders from across Sonoma County played a key role in both contributing and inspiring others to bid generously, including Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane of Benovia Winery, Jean-Charles Boisset of Buena Vista and DeLoach Vineyards, the Gallo Family, the Zanin Family of Bennett Valley Cellars, Bill and Eva Price of Three Sticks Wines, Rick Tigner of Jackson Family Wines, the Hamel Family and the Klein Family of Rodney Strong Vineyards. The presence of bidders and supporters from outside Sonoma County also played a key role in this year’s auction success. Some of the day’s top bidders came from Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas and New York to share their passion for Sonoma County’s wines and charities.
Fund the Future, one of the most important auction lots that supports children’s literacy, raised over $1.9 Million this year. The leadership and work of Honorary Co-Chairs, Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane, and Jean-Charles-Boisset inspired the community and the crowd under the tent to generously contribute to this important initiative. Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane also invited the leadership of the Southwest Florida Wine Auction and Chairman of Naples Winter Wine Festival Auction, who purchased several lots throughout the afternoon and generously supported the Fund the Future initiative.
Support for Fund the Future was overwhelming, with a wave of paddles rising throughout the tent for over 20 minutes from 180 auction guests. Attendees stood and cheered at each successive bid. Generous six-figure donations from wine leadership set the pace. Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane and their Benovia Board Members and family pledged their support along with Bill and Eva Price of Three Sticks Wines, Jackson Family Wines, the Gallo Family, and Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Additional contributions from Fred and Nancy Cline of Cline Cellars, the John Jordan Foundation and Tony LeBlanc on behalf of Silver Oak Cellars continued to raise the tally. A flurry of donations ensued and when auctioneer Scott Robertson reached the $1,000-mark, Tom Klein of Rodney Strong Vineyards matched every $1,000 donation up to the sum of $100,000.
The largest grossing auction lot from Hamel Family Wines: “Virginia is for Lovers,” a multi-bid lot for a private dinner at the Hamel Family winery, featuring a menu by Chef Patrick O’Connell and a performance from three-time GRAMMY®-winning musician Bruce Hornsby, raised an impressive $420,000. It was followed by “The Ultimate Super Bowl 50 VIP Experience – Sonoma-style,” a combined lot from Benovia Winery, Kosta Browne Winery and the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee, which raised a total of $320,000, selling twice for $160,000 each. It was followed closely by the Buena Vista and DeLoach Vineyards “French Escape with Jean-Charles Boisset” which sold for a total of $300,000 to two bidders each bidding $150,000. Other top lots of the day included: “Dinner with the Icons”, which featured dinner with Richard Arrowood of Amapola Creek Vineyards & Winery and Robert M. Parker, Jr.; and Three Sticks Wines’ “Dinner at the Adobe in Sonoma and Fat Duck in London”. The highest grossing wine-only lot was “An Exhibition of Elegance with the Ladies of Magnum Force” which has doubled in size since it was first offered, growing from 70 to 158 bottles and sold for $85,000.
Under the focused leadership and commitment of the Sonoma County Vintners and Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers joint Board of Directors, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend’s preliminary gross proceeds are expected to be in excess of $5.5 Million, which creates another new earnings record.
“Mary, Jean-Charles and I are thrilled with the auction results today. We are especially grateful to Robert and Kim Kiyosaki, Tom and Kate Klein and the trustees of the Naples and Southwest Florida Wine Auctions for their generosity. Every dollar makes a difference as we boost literacy rates in Sonoma County through Fund the Future.”
~Honorary Co-Chair Joe Anderson, Co-founder, Benovia Winery
“The generosity, energy, commitment, spontaneity and willingness of bidders, vintners and growers to give back to the community was unparalleled. People of many generations, heritages and backgrounds came together to allow future generations to become who they want and are meant to be.”
~Honorary Co-Chair, Jean-Charles Boisset of Buena Vista and DeLoach Vineyards
For those unable to attend this year’s auction, yet eager to participate in the charitable giving, an online auction of additional lots is available that features many of Sonoma County’s finest large-format wine bottles and exclusive wine and travel experiences. It remains open for bidding through 10PM on Friday, September 25.