Best. Party. Ever. kicks off weekend of Sonoma County Wine Auction events

About 200 people gathered at Montage Healdsburg’s outdoor terraces Thursday night to socialize, sip wine and learn more about auction lots for Saturday’s Sonoma County Wine Auction.

The Best. Party. Ever. was the first of three weekend events hosted by Sonoma County Vintners to fund grants for dozens of local nonprofits. The kickoff celebration marked the trade group’s first in-person event and one of the first major wine events in Sonoma County since the pandemic began.

“It’s a celebration of being back together and the foundation itself,” Sonoma County Vintners Executive Director Michael Haney said.

Attendees first gathered on the lower terrace for drinks and appetizers before heading to the upper terrace to listen to welcome speeches, peruse auction items and snack on everything from gourmet grilled cheese to barbecue brisket and sweet rolls.

“They’ve got a wonderful menu that represents so many foods from across Sonoma County and pairs well with all the wine tonight,” he said before the event.

At the venue’s central bar, vintners took turns serving their varietals and answering guests’ questions about the wine.

Best. Party. Ever. also previewed this year’s honorees, Gary B. Heck of Korbel Champagne Cellars, the Jackson Family of Jackson Family Wines, George F. Hamel and Hamel family of Hamel Family Wines and Dan Kosta of Aldenalli.

Sonoma County Wine Auction raises money that, with the help of the Community Foundation of Sonoma County, will be distributed to dozens of nonprofits throughout the county. Last year, despite being held online, the auction raised $4 million for 90 local organizations.

“We are as excited as ever,” Haney said. “The response from our wine community and community here has been truly inspiring.”

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