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Auction of Washington Wines Raises
More Than $1.8 million During
First-Ever Virtual Event Series
The Auction of Washington Wines (AWW) pivoted online for its 33rd series of charitable wine events from Aug. 11–15. Through online auctions and a live streamed virtual gala presented by Seattle Bank, the organization raised more than $1.8 million. Proceeds from the August events benefit Seattle Children’s, Washington State University Viticulture & Enology Program research, as well as AWW.
The top auction lots of the virtual live gala were the “PPP – Post-pandemic Pool Party hosted by Macklemore,” a trip to London to see the premiere of the next Bond movie and the chance to explore Napa, “The Other Wine Country” with AWW 2020-2021 Honorary Chair, Karen MacNeil. The total raised for these items was $117,500.
“We are so grateful for the incredible show of support for the Washington wine industry, which is such a key part of the overall Washington state economy,” said AWW board president Beth McCaw.
“Despite the challenges, change in format and experience, we are heartened that our supporters came to the ‘virtual’ table and donated so generously this year,” said AWW executive director Jamie Peha. “It is rewarding to see longtime auction patrons as well as newcomers enjoy the Auction in a new and digital way. The Washington wine industry quickly rose to the occasion and provided more than 130 auction lots, including vintage wines and experiences in support. We are thankful to our sponsors, board of directors, auction team and all our partners for their flexibility and generous contributions. Everyone was invested in making this year the best it could possibly be. ”
More than 600 people registered for the online auction. Wineries and donors provided stunning, once-in-a-lifetime and, in some cases, priceless auction offerings, such as a 22-year vertical series of Leonetti Cellar Sangiovese wine vintages and a reserved spot on one of the most-coveted wine membership lists in Washington, Cayuse Vineyards.
The Auction also brought the big event to attendees’ homes by offering a “Gala-in-a-Box” package, featuring dinner made by esteemed local chefs John Howie or Lisa Dupar, and accompanying Washington wine offerings to enjoy during the virtual live gala.
Next year’s Auction of Washington Wines weekend is scheduled for August 12-14, 2021.
Those who could not attend the virtual or online events can make a donation directly at: www.washingtonwine.ejoinme.org/Donate
Joseph Christy Vineyards Wins Best of Show Honors at Bellingham NW Wine Festival’s Judging Competition
Like so many other events during 2020, the Fifth Annual Bellingham Northwest Wine Festival Grand Public Tasting was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But this year’s Festival has a happy ending of sorts. The event’s organizers, the Whatcom Beer and Wine Foundation, proceeded with the judged competition portion of the Festival. And wineries responded in a big way…surpassing last year’s total entries and proving the resilience of the wine industry in spite of some difficult economic conditions.
The 2020 competition included 274 wines from 65 different wine labels, a 40-percent increase in the number of entries from the prior year.
“We were absolutely amazed by the participation from Pacific Northwest wineries,” said Dan Radil, the Foundation’s President and moderator of the judged competition. “In a year when it would have been completely understandable for wineries to take a break from competing, we received a record number of wines and were still able to raise over $5,000 to distribute to our beneficiary organizations.”
This year’s Best in Show honors went to the Joseph Christy Vineyards 2017 Estate Syrah. The boutique winery, owned by Denis and Mary Hyatt, is located about 40 miles south of the Tri-Cities near the Columbia River in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills AVA. The Syrah is the only wine that the winery produces under the Joseph Christy label.
Seventeen other wines received double gold awards (unanimous gold from the panel of judges) and 65 wines earned gold medal honors.
Radil says that regardless of any restrictions or limitations on future Grand Public Tastings, the judged competition will continue as scheduled in July of 2021.
“We have plans to expand the judging, provide more cross-marketing benefits to participating wineries, and continue to grow this portion of the Festival each year,” he said.
A complete list of all 2020 medal winners is available at: www.whatcombeerandwinefoundation.org/wine-festival.
2020 Tri-Cities Wine Festival
Cancelled Due to Covid-19
What would have been the 42nd Annual Tri-Cities Wine Festival (scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 14) has been cancelled, according to Ted Davis, president, Tri-Cities Wine Society, the event host. At its August board meeting, the wine society’s board of directors concluded that hosting this large, community-wide event in November is not possible this year with the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings for the foreseeable future.
The annual judged competition and public tasting event typically attracts more than 1,000 attendees, including wineries and their representatives, from across the Pacific Northwest. The festival has been the longest, continuously judged wine festival in the Northwest.
It was started in 1979 by Coke Roth, a Tri-Cities attorney and past president, Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau – now Visit Tri-Cities – and his friend, Maury Balcom. The event was a way to promote Northwest wines and the Tri-Cities as a tourist destination. Wanting to move in a different direction after 10 years, the bureau offered the wine society the opportunity to host the event. It has done so for more than 30 years.
While the event has been held in different locations and at different times of year, for more than 10 years it has been held at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick, WA. “In the months ahead, our wine society board of directors will continue to monitor COVID-19 restrictions and evaluate them as they pertain to our wine festival and its future,” said President Davis. “However,” Davis added, “the society will resume its monthly events for its members and their guests as soon as the needed clearance and guidance are given to do so.” Updates will be on the Tri-Cities Wine Society’s website, www.tricitieswinesociety.com.
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