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Sonoma County Wine Auction brings in more than $1.8 million

Live auction totals of the Sonoma County Wine Auction

2022: $1.8 million

2021: $1.7-plus million

2020: $1.17 (virtual auction)

2019: $6.1 million

2018: $5.7 million

The Sonoma County Wine Auction raised more than $1.8 million at its live auction Saturday. The take surpassed last year’s bidding, which brought in $1.7-plus million.

Put on by the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation, the fundraiser benefits local nonprofits. They range from community health and childhood education to the emergency relief efforts of the pandemic, fires and floods.

Roughly 225 paddle holders jockeyed for 30 lots at the live auction at Healdsburg’s Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery. The top lot of the day, raising more than $595,000, was Fund-A-Need, targeted for children’s education and literacy programs.

The Foley Family of Foley Family Wines, Gina Gallo of E. & J. Gallo Winery, and Rick Tigner of Jackson Family Wines kicked off the Fund-A-Need with $100,000 opening bids. Mary Dewane and Joe Anderson of Benovia Winery, Carmen Castaldi of Rodney Strong Vineyards and The Hamel Family continued the paddle raise, contributing $50,000 each. Elizabeth and Mark Hanson of Bricoleur Vineyards and the Wall Family Foundation also committed $25,000 to Fund-A-Need, followed by donations at levels ranging from $500 to $10,000 from auction guests.

The highest selling individual lot of the day – a trip to Kauai – tripled in price amid hot bidding, spiraling to $182,000. Lot #15 features a stay at the Foley Family’s 15-acre luxury estate, Hale ‘Ae Kai, complete with air travel, a private chef, and dinners paired with wines from the Foley Family Wines portfolio.

Another travel lot — a trip to Paris and Burgundy — doubled, soaring to $110,000. The offering will take two bidders to Paris and Burgundy, escorted by Jean-Charles Boisset of the Boisset Collection. It features Michelin-starred restaurants, insider Burgundy experiences, and VIP tastings at iconic vineyards.

Lot #19, Retreat and Dine In Style, From Los Cabos to Healdsburg, reeled in $26,000. Highlights include a stay at Montage Los Cabos with a dinner from Chef Dustin Valette at the private estate Maravilla and dinner at The Matheson or Valette Healdsburg.

The auction festivities began Thursday with vintner dinners throughout Sonoma County. Friday night featured a Roaring Twenties costume Party at Sonoma’s Buena Vista Winery.

This year’s gathering at Chalk Hill followed the return of the event last year after an in-person hiatus due to the pandemic.

The auction continues to be regarded as the largest wine charity event in Sonoma County. It raised a record-breaking $6.1 million in 2019 at its in-person auction, when 400 bidders vied for 40 lots.

The auction traces its roots back to 1993 as the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction. The philanthropic tradition took off from there, raising $40 million since its inception.

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at peg.melnik@pressdemocrat,com or 707-521-5310.

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

Live auction totals of the Sonoma County Wine Auction

2022: $1.8 million

2021: $1.7-plus million

2020: $1.17 (virtual auction)

2019: $6.1 million

2018: $5.7 million

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