Sonoma County Wine Auction Raises $1.3 Million


Plenty of premium wines and lively bidding raised about $1.3 million for Northern California charities at the annual Sonoma County Wine Auction last month. Organized by the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation (SCVF), the auction funds community grants for nonprofit organizations in education, health, the environment and arts, as well as SCVF’s Emergency Relief Fund.

“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, SCVF president.

The total was less than last year’s $1.8 million earnings, and the auction has yet to approach its pre-pandemic peak of $6.1 million in 2019, but organizers are pleased with the results. Since the auction’s inception, SCVF has raised more than $41 million.

Dancers from Grupo Folklorico Quetzalen, which started as a senior project at Sonoma Valley High School and later became the community’s first Mexican folk ensemble, performed for auction guests. (Bob McClenahan)

The weekend kicked off on Sept. 14 with special dinners for guests hosted by Patz & Hall, Bricoleur Vineyards with Bob Cabral Wines, Browne Family Wines and Pride Mountain Vineyards. The following day was marked by a pre-party dubbed “the Best. Party. Ever.”, an evening of wine, food and live music on The Rodney Strong Concert Green.

Top Lots Featured Wine, Travel and Fine Dining

On Sept. 16, more than 200 guests gathered under a tent at La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard in Windsor for the live auction. The top lot of the day sold for $47,000. Donated by Benovia Winery and named Best of the Big Apple, the lot featured a five-night stay in New York City with dining experiences at Michelin-starred restaurants and tickets to Broadway shows. Another popular lot was Celebrate Bhutan’s First Harvest, which included a seven-day trip to Bhutan in the Himalayas to witness the country’s first commercial wine harvest. The lot, which was donated by the Bhutan Wine Company, sold for $30,000 and was doubled, bringing the total to $60,000.

 Auctioneer John Curley encouraging bids from the stage at the Sonoma County Wine Auction

Auctioneer John Curley rallies the bidders during the live auction. (Bob McClenahan)

A high point of the auction was the annual Fund-A-Need lot, in which dozens of bidders individually pledged amounts from $250 to $100,000. In all, it raised $454,000 for children’s education and literacy programs in Sonoma County.

The honorary chairs this year were James Hall and Anne Moses, the founders of Sonoma’s Patz & Hall. The winery is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. The vintner honoree was Stuart Bryan of Pride Mountain Vineyards, while the chef honoree was Duskie Estes of Black Pig Meat Co. and executive director of the nonprofit Farm to Pantry, one of the more than 400 nonprofits that has received community grants from SCWA proceeds

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