Auction of Washington Wines: Raises $4 Million

SEATTLE — Auction of Washington Wines (AWW), a nonprofit devoted to advancing awareness of Washington state wine, celebrated its 35th year of hosting a series of philanthropic wine events increasing funds raised by 66% over the previous year. After a two-year hiatus, the majority of celebrations returned to in-person gatherings, including TOAST!, a new industry-focused honoree celebration recognizing individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond to advance the Washington wine industry.

More than 2,000 wine lovers attended the week-long celebration which featured more than 300 winemakers, vintners, and growers who participated in the events to showcase the best wines that Washington has to offer. The highest bid throughout the series of events was the “Best of Bordeaux” lot courtesy of DeLille Cellars garnering $250,000 including a $50,000 match from the Ellison Foundation. This was followed by the “Antinori Classico” lot, and the “Long Shadow Vintners: A Walla Walla Getaway” lot, bringing the 20+ live auction lots total to over $1 million.

“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. Together with our philanthropic partners; Seattle Children’s, WSU Viticulture & Enology Research, and Industry Grant Partner Vital Wines[HB1] ; we ensure that our charitable efforts resonate deeply within the Washington wine industry,” said Jamie Peha, executive director of the Auction of Washington Wines.

Highlights of Washington’s premier philanthropic series of wine events included:

TOAST! August 11. New this year, the wine industry, community, and wine lovers alike gathered at the historic Manor House at Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in recognition of past and present AWW honorees, established industry luminaries, and emerging leaders. Honorary vintner John Bookwalter (J. Bookwalter Winery) and honorary grower Kevin Corliss (Ste. Michelle Wine Estates) set the tone for the evening with heartfelt acceptance speeches. Those recognized at TOAST! were determined through an inclusive nomination process. Several highlights included the top award, The Lifetime Achievement award, recognizing an individual whose extraordinary dedication, inspiration, and advocacy for the Washington wine community spans 25+ years in the industry: Bob Betz MW, Bob Betz Consulting. The Vine to Wine award, honoring individuals who are hands-on in the vineyard, including leading or collaborating with peers: Patrick Rawn, owner and consultant, Two Mountain Winery. The Healthy Land, Healthy Communities award, for commitment to addressing today’s environmental challenges and developing equitable, viable, and responsible solutions: Washington Winegrowers, Sustainable WA. Please find a full list of winners at[LK2] . Presented by Winebow Fine Wines + Spirits.

Virtual Private Barrel Auction, August 8. This auction, geared toward trade and top collectors, offered unique 5-case auction lots from 20+ of Washington’s finest winemakers. The highest bid was $14,000 for Leonetti Cellars’ 2019 Red Blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by $10,000 for DeLille Cellars 2020 Harrison Hill Cabernet Franc, and $9,500 for L’Ecole No. 41 Winery 2021 Block Selection Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The Joly family of Caper’s Café in Portland won a total of seven lots. Each year a collaboration with a select winery and grower create 25 cases for the Barrel Series. This year David “Merf” Merfeld, longtime winemaker for Northstar, partnered with viticulture and enology students at WSU’s wine science center to craft this one-of-a-kind wine. Presented by Winebow Fine Wines + Spirits and hosted by Master of Wine, Bob Betz, $165,00 was raised with funds supporting critical wine and grape research in Washington.

Winemaker Picnic & Barrel Auction, August 12. AWW’s largest wine and culinary event proudly returned in person this year, taking place on the beautiful grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle, welcoming more than 1,000 guests. The open-air event included more than 100 wineries, global BBQ featuring Korean, Indian, Southern and Northwest style, and more. Thirty wineries put five cases of yet to be released wine up for bid in a lively Barrel Auction, raising $108,000. Presented by John L. Scott Foundation, VIP Tent presented by PNC Bank.

35th Annual Gala, August 13. Held at Chateau Ste. Michelle since the Gala’s inception, the evening offered a culinary social hour with Washington wine tasting bars, a luxury 8-winery barrel auction, 60 winemaker-hosted tables pouring during afour-course dinner prepared by multiple chefs, live auction, and afterparty. The auction featured 20+ live lots including world-wide travel packages, unique wine-focused lots, wine and culinary experiences, and one of kind large format bottles. Items up for bid included the above mentioned “Best of Bordeaux”, a five-night trip to Bordeaux with legendary winemaker Chris Upchurch including access to some of France’s Grand Cru wineries. Presented by Honorary Chair Renzo Cotarella, 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 including a $50,000 match from Beth McCaw and Yahn Bernier. The “Long Shadow Vintners: A Walla Walla Getaway” lot, a trip to both Walla Walla and Napa Valley via private jet hosted by Gilles Nicault, director of winemaking, sold for $75,000. This experience includes VIP tours with Philippe and Cherie Melka, proprietors of Melka Estates and Agustin Huneeus Sr, at Quintessa Winery. Another highlight of the evening was the frenzied bidding on license plate numbers “00002” through “00006” of the newly designed Washington Wine license plates. These plates were approved recently after three years of lobbying and will be available to the public in November of 2022. The five early numbered plates brought in $35,000.

About the Auction of Washington Wines (AWW) 

Since its inception in 1988, AWW has raised over $59 million to[LK3]  benefit Seattle Children’s, Washington State University Viticulture & Enology Research, and the AWW Industry Grant. AWW is listed in the top five wine charity auctions in the U.S. by?Wine Spectator. AWW’s mission is to support the growth and awareness of the Washington state wine industry through a series of celebrated events benefiting the community. Key supporters for the 2022 season of events include Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, John L. Scott Foundation[LK4] , The Seattle Times, PNC Bank, and Winebow Fine Wine & Spirits. For more information, please visit 

About John L. Scott Foundation 

The John L. Scott Foundation was founded in 1997 in honor of John L. Scott, a philanthropist and community activist who believed in the value of giving back. The John L. Scott Foundation is supported by the generous donations and volunteer efforts of our sales associates and support team members. These voluntary contributions enable the John L. Scott Foundation to help sponsor events that help raise millions of dollars for children healthcare each year. Their mission is to help kids get healthy and be at home.