Over the weekend, November 14–15, hundreds of wine consumers and trade professionals gathered for the 23rd annual ¡Salud! The Premier Oregon Pinot Noir Auction—a two-day event in which winemakers from the state’s foremost wineries auction off their latest vintage to raise money for healthcare services for seasonal vineyard workers in the northern Willamette Valley.
This year, an estimated $722,000 was raised—the auction’s highest amount since the start of the Great Recession.
The festivities kicked off on Friday, November 14, at Domaine Drouhin Oregon in Dayton, where 475 guests attended the barrel tasting and auction. Forty Willamette Valley producers poured special cuvées crafted specially for this event, with five cases of wine auctioned to the highest bidders. The Trisaetum 2013 ¡Salud! Cuvée Pinot Noir was the top moneymaker with a single purchaser buyout price of $10,000, followed by Domain Drouhin Oregon, at $8,000. Overall, the barrel auction raised a record $200,000.
On Saturday evening, 340 attendees enjoyed the Dinner and Auction Gala at The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg. The black-tie soirée included a silent auction, which raised a record $57,000, and a live auction.
Ronni Lacroute, co-owner of WillaKenzie Estate in Yamhill, donated $30,000—the largest single donation or dollar amount received at the event. Auction items included an eight-night trip to New Zealand donated by Argyle Winery, which earned $13,000. A special dinner with some of Oregon’s multi-generational winemaking families, including family members from Elk Cove Vineyards, Chehalem Wines and Ponzi Vineyards, was auctioned for $12,000.
Awards were also granted at the gala event. Founder of St. Innocent Winery, Mark Vlossak, was named Legacy Winemaker, while Jim Bernau of Willamette Valley Vineyards received the Los Heroes de ¡Salud! award.
¡Salud!, created by a group of Oregon winery owners along with Tuality Healthcare of Hillsboro, Oregon, has raised more than $10 million since its inception. Proceeds currently provide healthcare to an estimated 40% of vineyard workers in the northern Willamette Valley.