August 28, 2000
$1.64 million raised at Auction of Northwest Wines
A record $1.64 million was raised at the Auction of Northwest Wines held last Saturday night at Chateau Ste. Michelle to benefit the uncompensated care program at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center.
This was the 13th annual gala auction, which sold out with 700 reservations at $400 each.
Starting at 4 p.m., attendees gathered on the manicured grounds of the winery for sips of champagne and the music of pianist Michael Strickland. The grounds were decorated with interwoven swirls of copper wire and grapevines along the light poles. Seattle artist Greg Kalamar captured the moment by creating a 48" x 36" oil painting, which sold as the evening's last auction item. An arch of copper and vines framed the entrance to the winery, with arrangements of flowers in wicker stands at both sides.
Bidders moved through the barrel room for the silent auction and then into a long hallway in the production facility. There they could sample new vintages directly from different wineries' barrels with the winemakers on hand to answer questions.
Moving up golden confetti-strewn stairs into a 24,000 square foot tent, bidders stood at one end for the premier live auction items before sitting down to a gourmet dinner and the grand live auction. There was a stage at each end of the tent, with formally set round tables in-between. Panels with large replicas of wine labels decorated one end of the tent; the other had a large stage and runway with two enormous movie screens on each side. Susan Hutchinson from KIRO was the master of ceremonies.
Allen Shoup, who recently stepped down as president of Chateau Ste. Michelle, was honored for his leading role in establishing the auction 13 years ago.
A wide array of wine, wine-related items and trips were offered. Bidding was fast and high throughout the evening. Dick and Sharon Friel, well-known for raising millions in auctions in the United States and Australia, were the auctioneers. Keith Robbins was the auctioneer for the earlier premier live auction. Exciting performances by Kenny G and 19-year-old Seattle singing sensation Melanie Dailey captivated the crowd.
Australian winemaker Brian Croser was the Honorary Chairman and Woodward Canyon owner and winemaker Rick Small was the Vintner Chairman. Croser is the winemaker and executive chairman of Petaluma Vineyards. In 1981, Croser found Oregon's Dundee Wine Company, makers of Argyle wines.
A dinnerware set for nine, painted by patients at Children's Hospital, including Eloise Evans, granddaughter of former Washington State Governor Dan Evans, Sr., sold for $20,000. Eloise's father, Dan Evans, Jr. spoke and read a story that he had written about his daughter's treatment at Children's.
A Raise Your Paddle auction offering raised more than $600,000 with four couples, Steve and Patty Fleischmann, Rick and Kandy Holley, John and Ginny Meisengach and the Schultz family foundation matching bids up to $200,000.
A dinner for 12 at the Lake Union houseboat of the late Tom and Peggy Stockley raised $16,000. The Stockleys perished in the recent Alaska Airlines crash off the California coast. Paige Stockley, their daughter, spoke. She and the Odeon String Quartet will provide the music for the dinner.
The world's largest wine bottle, a hand-thrown ceramic bottle that will hold thirteen cases of wine, sold for $10,000.
Many auction items sold for two or three times their stated value.
The dinner, which included Chipotle shrimp with corn cake and citrus sauce, Dungeness Crab gnocchi, smoked Black Angus tenderloin with huckleberry sauce, carmelized Walla Walla sweet onion salad, Yukon Gold potato tart, an Oregon blue cheese and grape terrine dessert parade and a selection of desserts, was prepared by eight of the Northwest's finest chefs and staffs. Chefs included Jan Birnbaum and Kevin Davis of Sazerac, Kaspar Donier of Kaspar's, Charles Ramseyer of Ray's Boathouse, John Sarich of Chateau Ste. Michelle, Tom Douglas of the Dahlia Lounge, Chris Keff of Fandango and Kerry Sear of Cascadia.
All guests had the opportunity to attend a winemaker's dinner earlier in the week at locations around the Seattle area. Two were in Woodinville area, one at Matthews Cellars and the other at DeLille Cellars.
Following the auction, Timeless Soul provided dance music into the late evening hours.
Steve Fleishman, president of Fleischmann Office Interiors and Photozone.com was the auction co-chair with John Meisenbach, president of John Meisenbach Capital Management.
The Auction of Northwest Wine, the third largest charity auction in the United States, takes an entire year in its planning. It is coordinated by Cynthia Daste from the Northwest Wine Foundation.
More than 250 volunteers, including the Susan Campbell Woodin & Black Tie Guild, Woodinville High School Class of 200 and the Woodinville High Wrestling team, offered their services. Decor for the event was designed Robinson Designs and Events of Bothell.