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Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction smashes record

The annual Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction has raised $4m, close to three times more than the event's previous record of $1.4m set in 2013.

Bidders were in generous mood at this year’s Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction. (Image: Christopher Sawyer @SawyerSommelier

A sell-out audience of 700 attendees, some of whom came from as far afield as Arizona, New Mexico, Florida and Oklahoma, bid on 38 lots.

The auction was held as part of the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, which attracted 2,500 visitors. That may reassure wineries and hotels that tourists are still keen to come to the area following the 6.0 magnitude earthquake last month, albeit the quake’s epicentre was slightly closer to Napa.

The best-selling lots of the day included Hamel Family Wines’ ‘Six Cooks in the Kitchen’, a private dinner for 50 featuring six James Beard Award-winning chefs, which fetched $250,000.

This was followed by ‘Amazing Africa’, featuring a safari to top destinations at $220,000, followed closely by the ‘Rock Out with Rodney Strong’ concert/dinner with celebrity chef Hugh Acheson, which fetched $212,000.

The top wine-only lot was a ‘Hanzell Heritage Tribute’, honouring the winery’s long-time winemaker Bob Sessions, who passed away in May. It comprised of six 3-litre bottles of Hanzell Vineyards Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and sold for $80,000.

Proceeds from the Sonoma auction go to child, health and environment charities. Several winemakers themselves made one-off donations to a special ‘Fund the Future’ lot supporting child literacy.

Matt Gallo and Katie Jackson, of Gallo Family Vineyards and Jackson Family Wines, each donated $100,000, as did the Francis Ford Coppola winery.

Written by David Furer in Sonoma

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