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Auction of Washington Wines raises $4m

The Auction of Washington Wines (AWW) hosted a weekend of fundraising events to commemorate 35 years, raising $4m.

‘Thanks to our incredibly generous wineries, donors, and sponsors, the AWW can continue its mission to uplift the Washington wine industry and grow its efforts to support healthy communities and healthy land in Washington state’, said Jamie Peha, executive director of the Auction of Washington Wines.

‘Together with our philanthropic partners, Seattle Children’s, WSU Viticulture & Enology Research, and Industry Grant Partner Vital Wines, we ensure that our charitable efforts resonate deeply within the Washington wine industry,’ she added.  

The virtual auction, geared towards top collectors of Washington wines, offered unique five-case lots of wine from 20 of Washington’s most well-known producers, including DeLille Cellars, L’Ecole No41 and Leonetti Cellar. The highest bid ($14,000) was for a Leonetti Cellar’s 2019 red blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. The virtual event raised $165,000 towards research in both winemaking and grape growing in Washington. 

The weekend started with an inaugural dinner and award ceremony; TOAST! The event honoured some of Washington’s long-standing industry giants and the industry’s “next generation” of emerging leaders. The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Bob Betz MW for his pioneering and decorated career in Washington wine spanning more than 25 years. 

The winemaker picnic and barrel auction was an outdoor event with over 1,000 attendees. Thirty wineries offered five cases of yet-to-be-released wines for public bidding. The event included different takes on BBQ featuring Korean, Indian, Texas, and Northwest style pairings to go along with wines being poured by 100 Washington wineries. The event raised $108,000. 

The 35th annual Gala was back in full swing after covid modifications in 2021. DeLille Cellars sponsored the top bidding lot at the event, “Best of Bordeaux” – a five-night trip to Bordeaux with executive winemaker Chris Upchurch, including visits to some of the region’s grand cru Chateaux. This fetched $250,000. The “Antinori Classico” lot featured two trips to discover the roots of Col Solare deep in the Antinori family vineyards of Tuscany. Courtesy of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Marchese Antinori, this lot sold for $200,000. 

Since its inception in 1988, the AWW has raised over $59m to benefit children’s hospital Seattle Children’s, Washington State University Viticulture & Enology Research and the AWW Industry Grant. Vital Wines, the 2021-22 industry grant partner, utilised the grant to help fund a bi-lingual Promotora de Salud Community Health Worker position in the Walla Walla Valley.

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