The 2014 Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction shattered records, raising $4 million for Sonoma County community organizations—nearly triple the amount raised last year.
Nearly 700 guests gathered on the grounds of Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood on Sunday, August 31 for the annual fundraiser—themed “From Sonoma to Serengeti,” featuring an African dance troupe. The event kicked off with a touching tribute to last year’s auctioneer, the late David Reynolds. His widow, Colleen Buckley, encouraged attendees to open their wallets and hearts, resulting in a $25,000 bid for a sommelier to pour for the winner’s table all day.
Lot Number 3 confirmed generosity was in the air. The 31-bottle collection of Silver Oak Cellars and Twomey Cellars’ wines, featuring dinners and overnight trips to the wineries, was bought by Jackson Family Wines Collection co-founder Barbara Banke for $40,000.
Lot Number 21, a 30-bottle collection of Williams Selyem wines along with a visit to Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm, raised another $100,000.
The Gallo Family’s lot—a 10-day excursion through Africa, including a special dinner with Gina Gallo in Cape Town, South Africa—was won not by one but two bidders, bringing in a total of $220,000.
But it was the Fund the Future lot—entitled “If Kids Can’t Read, They Can’t Succeed”—that truly moved the room. A group of bidders—including Katie Jackson of Jackson Family Wines Collection, Matt Gallo of Gallo Family Vineyards, Benovia Winery, Hamel Family Wines and Francis Ford Coppola Winery—each donated $100,000. Co-chair Klein of Rodney Strong Vineyards donated another $100,000 and challenged the audience to match it. Many quickly did, resulting in a total of $1,635,000 raised for Sonoma County kids.
By Lot Number 28, with 10 more to go, the auction surpassed the $3-million mark. The donations will benefit 43 charities across Sonoma County, with a concentration on children, health and the environment.