Auction of Washington Wines Goes Virtual, Raises $1.8 Million

The Seattle-based charity event went virtual, auctioning off stellar wines and future travel packages for Seattle Children's Hospital and Washington State University

Auction of Washington Wines Goes Virtual, Raises $1.8 Million
Auctioneers David Silverman, left, and Fred Northup Jr. led the bidding from a sound stage while guests watched online. (Duval Images)
Aug 31, 2020

The 33rd annual Auction of Washington Wines (AWW) took its gavel online this year, raising over $1.8 million for Seattle Children's Hospital and Washington State University's viticulture and enology program through a series of virtual events. More than 130 wineries donated wine and exclusive packages for the event, held Aug. 11–15. The live virtual auction on Aug. 15 was streamed on YouTube and raised $475,000.

The total fell short of last year's $2.4 million in live bids, but organizers were pleased. "It wasn't until mid-April when we realized large-scale in-person events might not be possible, so it was a hectic pace to pull together the event in August," said Jamie Peha, the event's executive director. "For this year, with over $1.8 million raised, we're ecstatic with the results."

Over 600 guests from across the country tuned in to the live auction gala, which included musical performances. Auctioneers David Silverman and Fred Northup Jr. emceed the event. Wine lots included the "Legacy of Leonetti," which contained a 22-year vertical from Walla Walla’s Leonetti Cellars and sold for $12,000. "Hop on the List," a collection of 10 3-liter bottles of Cayuse, also sold for $12,000.


Want to get the latest news on collectible wines and the auction market? Sign up for Wine Spectator's free Collecting e-mail newsletter and get a new top-rated wine review, collecting Q&As and more, delivered straight to your inbox every other week!


Another top lot was a private pool party with musical artist Macklemore, to be held post-pandemic, which sold to 12 separate couples for a total of $72,000. A private tour of Napa Valley with wine author and AWW honorary chair Karen MacNeil also made some noise, selling for $22,500.

Despite a string of cancellations and postponements, charity wine auctions are bouncing back and bringing new ideas to the table which might have a lasting impact on auctions in a post-pandemic world.

"We saw people register and tune in to our events who are new to AWW," said Peha. "Because this digital format attracted people who have never attended our in-person events, we are considering complementing our in-person events with a digital component moving forward."

Since its inception in 1988, AWW has raised more than $51 million and has consistently been one of the nation's top charity wine events.

News Auctions Charity Events United States Washington

You Might Also Like

SND: Treasury Wine Estates Buys Frank Family Vineyards, Expanding Napa Holdings

SND: Treasury Wine Estates Buys Frank Family Vineyards, Expanding Napa Holdings

The $315 million deal further shifts the Aussie wine giant into premium brands

Nov 18, 2021
Chef Christopher Kostow’s Charter Oak Comes to Cabo

Chef Christopher Kostow’s Charter Oak Comes to Cabo

The Napa restaurant will host a two-night dinner series with wine pairings at a Mexican …

Nov 18, 2021
Can a Glass of Wine Lead to Increased Consciousness?

Can a Glass of Wine Lead to Increased Consciousness?

A team of researchers surveyed wine bar guests and explored how a glass of red wine may …

Nov 16, 2021
Million-Dollar Wine Bottle Helps Boost Carnivale du Vin to a Record-Breaking $3.75 Million for Charity

Million-Dollar Wine Bottle Helps Boost Carnivale du Vin to a Record-Breaking $3.75 Million for Charity

Chef Emeril Lagasse's 17th annual New Orleans event raised its highest total ever, thanks …

Nov 12, 2021
World Wine Crop Drops Dramatically

World Wine Crop Drops Dramatically

Rough years for France, Italy and Spain lead to a third consecutive below-average year, but …

Nov 11, 2021
Instagram Live Chats: View Wine Spectator's Upcoming Schedule

Instagram Live Chats: View Wine Spectator's Upcoming Schedule

Our next two episodes feature Riedel CEO Maximilian Riedel and New York restaurateur …

Nov 25, 2021