More Than 430 Charitable Organizations Funded to Date.
The annual Sonoma County Vintners Foundation’s weekend of wine, music, extraordinary food, and camaraderie brought in more than $1.3 million for the organization’s Community Grants and Emergency Relief Fund.
The generosity and enthusiasm of everyone who participated in the annual event (September 14-16 2023) created a memorable weekend while benefiting the Sonoma County community.
Luxurious Vintner Dinners
The celebration began Thursday evening with the Vintner Dinners—a series of dinners paired with outstanding Sonoma County wines.
Featuring renowned chefs, the dining experiences were hosted by Patz & Hall and Barndiva restaurant, Bricoleur Vineyards and Bob Cabral Wines, Browne Family Wines, and Pride Mountain Vineyards with Black Pig Meat Co.
On to Friday’s Best Party Ever hosted by Rodney Strong Vineyards where guests enjoyed a variety of multicultural entertainment presentations along with delightful food and, of course, exceptional wine.
The event was also an opportunity to meet the vintners and winemakers along with hearing about the items up for bid in the 2023 Sonoma County Wine Auction lots.
The main event—Saturday’s auction—took place at La Crema Estate’s Saralee’s Vineyard. One-of-a-kind travel packages, rare wines, and exciting entertainment opportunities awaited the guests and generated anticipation.
More than 200 guests were welcomed by SCWA Honorary Chairs James Hall and Anne Moses, co-founders of Patz & Hall.
To celebrate the 35th anniversary of Patz & Hall, one of the auction lots featured an eight-night Azamara cruise exploring Croatia and the Amalfi Coast. The August 2024 voyage donated by Patz & Hall and Azamara, brought in $22,000.
“Azamara is a luxury cruise line. Guests will stay in Veranda staterooms with private balconies with all gratuities, meals, select spirits, laundry, and cultural experiences included,” said Hall. While on board, the lucky auction winners will enjoy exclusive Patz & Hall wines at select meals. In addition, they are invited to a tasting for 6 guests at the Sonoma House at Patz & Hall, and will take home five signed 1.5L Magnums of Pinot Noir.”
Donated by Benovia Winery, the Best of the Big Apple New York City experience sold for $47,000, the highest selling lot of the day. The successful bidders will enjoy a five-night stay, Michelin-starred dining, and Broadway show tickets.
A once-in-a-lifetimetrip to Bhutanfor the country’s first commercial wine grape harvest, Celebrate Bhutan’s First Harvest, included hiking the fabled Tiger’s Nest monastery, visiting the Golden Buddha, and more. This rare opportunity attracted so much attention that the lot was doubled for two bidders to enjoy at $30,000 each, raising $60,000.
Closer to home, The Farmer, Butcher, Chef, and a Unicorn, Lot #11, was also doubled at $29,000 each, for a total of $58,000. The lot included a dining experience for 10 guests with 2023 Sonoma County Wine Auction Chef Honoree, Duskie Estes, and her husband, John Stewart, at MacBryde Farm in Forestville.
Adding to the dinner, guests will hear from celebrity butcher, Dave the Butcher of Victorian Farmstead. The poolside dinner will be prepared by world famous chef Charlie Palmer and served along with unicorn wines from the Three Sticks Monopole vineyards with a guided tasting by Prema Kerollis.
Pride Mountain Vineyards and the V Foundation donated Lot #18, Epic Experiences from Sonoma County Nashville, which raised $28,000. The package, for four guests, included VIP experiences at the 2024 Sonoma Epicurean events and a trip to Nashville with tickets for the Country Music Awards show.
“This lot brings together two important entities, namely the Sonoma Wine Community directed by Sonoma County Vintners and V Foundation in their quest to raise monies for critical cancer research, said Stuart Bryan Pride Mountain Vintner Honoree.
The union of these two passionate groups is another aspect regarding Sonoma County that is so impressive—Increasing cancer awareness in Sonoma County while showcasing our top wineries, chefs and artisan venues.”
Several more impressive lots highlighted Sonoma County’s outstanding wines. The Large Format Collector’s Edition, a selection from local wineries, attracted so much interest that the lot was doubled at a bid of $28,000, raising a total of $56,000.
The spectacular collection included 61 large format bottles, including six magnums of 2019 Benovia Winery Pinot Noir, three magnums of 2018 Chalk Hill Estate Red Blend, six magnums of NV J Vineyards, and more.
The annual Fund-A-Need Paddle Raise brought in more than $454,000 for children’s education and literacy. This year’s Fund-A-Need program sponsor, TricorBraun WinePak, presented a moving video message, and guests responded generously.
Jackson Family Wines donated $100,000, and Foley Family Wines and E.& J. Gallo Winery contributed $50,000 each.
2023 Sonoma County Wine Auction Honorees
The newly created Wine Business Leadership Award was given to Prema Kerollis, General Manager and Co-founder of Three Sticks and Head High Wines.
The award was created in partnership between Sonoma County Vintners and The Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University to recognize an individual who demonstrates great wine business leadership, vision, innovation, inspiration, and impactful service to the Sonoma County community.
Duskie Estes, 2023 Sonoma County Wine Auction Chef Honoree, is the Executive Director of Farm to Pantry, one of the more than 400 nonprofits that receive support from SCWA proceeds. Duskie and her husband, John Stewart, operate Black Pig Meat Co. and their Black Piglet food truck.
Stuart Bryan and Pride Mountain Vineyards are the 2023 Vintner Honorees. Stuart has served for two terms on the Sonoma County Vintners board of directors.
“After working with the Sonoma Wine Community for many years I always felt that pitching in and doing our best to make a difference was the natural course of things, said Bryan. I didn’t expect an award!
I want to be sure to acknowledge our entire family and the determined work Jim and Carolyn Pride put into establishing the winery and working to restore the historic vineyard site that is now Pride Mountain Vineyards.”
This year’s SCWA Honorary Chairs were James Hall and Anne Moses, the founders of Patz & Hall winery.
James Hall, Founder and Head Winemaker, has crafted every vintage since 1988, and co-founder Ann Moses, a gifted enologist, currently serves on the Sonoma County Vintners board of directors.
“Sonoma County is a wonderful place to grow and make wine. It was a great honor to serve as Honorary Chair of this year’s auction, alongside Anne Moses,” said Hall. “We’ve been active with the Sonoma County Vintners for many, many years. The funds raised at auction will go a long way in helping address important needs in our community.”
2024 Sonoma County Wine Auction
Guests, donors, and Sonoma County vintners can look back at the recent weekend with pride at having participated in the entertaining and worthwhile events. Successful bidders are anticipating their travels, dinners, and additions to their wine collections.
For those who missed this year and those already looking forward to doing it all again, next year’s Sonoma County Wine Auction is scheduled for September 19-21, 2024.