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Chateau Ste. Michelle wine auction nets $2.25M for Children's Hospital

Co-Chair Tod Leiweke, actor Drew Carey, Children’s Hospital patient, Taylor Carol and Hollywood Producer Joe Roth - the majority owner of the Seattle Sounders FC - Duell Fisher / Team Photogenic © 2008
Co-Chair Tod Leiweke, actor Drew Carey, Children’s Hospital patient, Taylor Carol and Hollywood Producer Joe Roth - the majority owner of the Seattle Sounders FC
— image credit: Duell Fisher / Team Photogenic © 2008

The 2008 Auction of Washington Wines held at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, brought in a staggering $2,250,000 for uncompensated care at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle and the Washington Wine Education Foundation.

Now in its 21st year, the auction was a star-studded event with appearances from celebrity chefs, professional athletes, and Hollywood stars. Mingling among the guests were comedian Drew Carey, actor Kyle MacLachlan of “Desperate Housewives” and “Sex and the City,” former Mariner Edgar Martinez and Hollywood producer, Joe Roth, majority owner of the Seattle Sounders FC.

The charity event surpassed previous auctions in revenues and attendance. The annual auction honors the philanthropic organization of the Washington wine industry and has established itself as one of the nation’s top charity wine auctions.

“Every year is unique and we are ecstatic with this year’s results,” said Carol Munro, the Auction of Washington Wines executive director. “Our original goal was to raise $2 million and we surpassed that. Given the economy and the hardships that people are facing, we were thrilled with the enthusiasm and support we received from all the generous guests.”

The three-day event included a Picnic with the Winemakers and Barrel Auction, boasting a guest list of well over 1,000 people. The Winemaker Dinners catered to more than 500 guests at 11 private homes throughout the Seattle area and the Saturday morning CoveyRun 10K Race & TalkingRain 5K Run/Walk, attracted 1,200 participants from 16 states. The Gala Auction welcomed close to 600 guests who bid on live and silent auctions and was by co-chaired by Greg Lill, President of DeLille Cellars and Tod Leiweke, CEO of the Seattle Seahawks.

“The energy and excitement at all of the events was palpable,” said co-chair Lill. “Washington state vintners and growers are some of the best in the world, and their commitment to producing high quality wines is only paralleled by their commitment to giving back to the community.”

The Gala Auction, highlighting the “Coming of Age” of Washington state wine, took place on Saturday evening, Aug. 16, at Chateau Ste. Michelle. Guests indulged in world-class Washington wines and a six-course dinner prepared by the region’s top chefs.

The top selling auction lot was a 21-liter DeLille Salute to AWW and Charles Lill, a collection of etched and hand painted bottles which sold for an astounding $70,000. This marked the highest amount ever paid for a wine lot at the Auction of Washington Wines.

Other top auction items included a visit to the set of “Desperate Housewives” with dinner at the home of hunky actor Kyle MacLachlan that went for $30,000, a Beach Party Pig Roast with Edgar Martinez, Alex and Jeannette Golitzin of Quilceda Creek and Chef Wayne Johnson of Andaluce that went for $21,000, and a Super Bowl XLII Package for two, auctioned twice, for a total of $38,000.

With five year’s experience overseeing the Auction of Washington Wines, Munro said the highlight for her was the incredible bidding on the wine lot and the enthusiasm that accompanied the meaningful celebrity attendance.

“It’s all about supporting a good cause, having the right people in the room, and the right leadership for the event. This year everything just lined up. We had great celebrity appearances, incredible enthusiastic bidding, and auction lots that were offered on the spot,” she said.

The Gala Auction’s fund-a-need raised a record-breaking $825,000 for uncompensated care at Children’s Hospital.

The outpour of support during the raise the paddle portion of the evening was very heartfelt and incredibly generous this year, said Munro, adding everyone was in a good mood and having fun while giving to a great cause.

During the evening, winemaker and partner in Chinook Wines, Kay Simon and Jim Holmes, owner of Ciel du Cheval vineyard, were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the Washington wine industry. Nearly 200 Washington state wineries contributed to this year’s charity event and an additional 250 community members volunteered.

Auction key sponsors included Chateau Ste. Michelle, John L. Scott Foundation, Classical 98.1 KING FM, Lexus, Seattle Magazine, Seattle Sounders FC, Viking, Vine Vertical, Wells Fargo Private Bank and Wine Spectator. The nonprofit auction has raised more than $19 million since it was founded in 1988.

For information, visit www.auctionofwashingtonwines.org or call 206-326-5747.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at llarin@reporternewspapers.com or at 425-453-4602.

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