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Auction of Washington Wines 2023 raises $4m

The Auction of Washington Wines has raised $4m through a series of charity events this year, bringing the total raised since its 1988 debut to over $63m.

The most recent events took place between 10-12 August and included an awards dinner, barrel auction and gala evening. The fundraising proceedings – combined with the ‘Bid for Bottles’ auction, which was held over the holiday season in 2022 – raised $4m, matching the total raised in 2022.

‘With our partners and host winery Chateau Ste. Michelle, we can create awareness for and attract consumers to the world-class Washington wine industry, said the organisation’s executive director Jamie Peha.

The fundraiser kicked off with ‘TOAST!’, a dinner and awards ceremony to honour some of Washington’s long-standing industry giants as well as emerging leaders. The Lifetime Achievement award was given to Ted Baseler, who retired from a 34-year stint at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in 2018, having spent 18 years as the company’s CEO.

Friday’s ‘Winemaker Picnic and Barrel auction’ saw over 900 guests in attendance. It included pourings from 100 Washington wineries paired with high-end picnic foods supplied by Seattle area restaurants. The auction featured yet-to-be-released barrel samples from 35 Washington wineries during a live bidding. The highest bid was for Long Shadows 2020 Feather Cabernet Sauvignon, which sold for $4,000.

The August programme concluded with the largest fundraising event, a gala evening. A live auction featured luxury travel experiences, wine lots and other ‘money can’t buy’ packages. The highest-grossing lot of the evening was an eight-night African safari from Betz Family Winery, which sold for $120,000. The paddle raise for Seattle Children’s grossed $1.9m.

The Auction of Washington Wines was established in 1988. Now in its 36th year, it has raised more than $63m since its beginnings. The organisation strives to support the growth and awareness of Washington State’s wine industry through events which benefit the community.

‘It is our joint mission to support the industry and the community through the important work of our three philanthropic partners: Seattle Children’s, WSU Viticulture & Enology Research, and Vital Wines,’ Peha said. 

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