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Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction raises record $1.4 million

  • Members of the Magnum Force Samba Ladies congratulate Lot Number 12 winners Lori Miron, in red, and her husband Rick Miron, in blue, at the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction. Shot on Sunday, September 1, 2013 at Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood, California. ( Photo by Charlie Gesell for the Press Democrat)

A scantily clad samba troupe, costumed in feathers and jewels and little else, created a colorful backdrop for a record-breaking afternoon of bidding at Sunday's Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction. Spiraling bids climbed to $1.4 million, up from last year's take of $750,000.

About 600 people gathered under the magnolia trees at Kenwood's Chateau St. Jean, taking in the Brazilian carnival scene — the Copacabana Bar, the drummers and the colorful masks. The Sonoma Samba theme, the free-flowing bubbly and the auction's trademark hijinks set the stage for a lively afternoon of bidding.

The most suspenseful lot was the Fund-the-Future offering, where a group of bidders pooled their efforts to raise $691,250 to raise local literacy rates. The total dwarfs last year's special needs lot at $264,000.

Sonoma Wine Auction

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The big spenders included the Sonoma County vintners of Jackson Family Wines, the Gallo family, Tom Klein of Rodney Strong Vineyards and Joe Anderson of Benovia. The Jackson Family, Gallo and Anderson each contributed $75,000.

Katie Jackson said, "My family cares a lot about education and children. My mom (Barbara Banke) is really devoted to this. She really wanted to make this contribution."

Matt Gallo said "taking care of literacy is an important issue so that's where our family's focus is today."

The second highest lot went for $125,000, with bidders eager for a chance to go to the barn dance and barbecue at MacMurray Ranch in Healdsburg. Kate MacMurray and the Gallo family members plan to be on hand with a feast grilled by sausage pro Bruce Aidells.

MacMurray said her father (Fred MacMurray) built the barn in 1941 and "I remember the harvest parties and square dancing ... it's a perfect place to hold the event."

One of the most colorful lots of the day was "Magnum Force" because it was introduced by local samba dancers. Rick and Lori Miron, who own homes in Santa Rosa and Sonoma, bought the lot for $32,000.

"I've won this lot before and it's somewhat of a tradition," Rick Miron said. "I have thousands of bottles of wine and yes, a lot of magnums."


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