The 32nd annual Auction of Washington Wines (AWW) hit a milestone, raising over $4.5 million for Seattle Children's Hospital and Washington State University's viticulture and enology program, almost 5 percent more than the 2018 event. More than 200 winemakers attended a weekend of events held Aug. 15-17 in Woodinville, Wash. Saturday's live auction raised more than $2.4 million, including the highest-selling lot in AWW history: a 1928 vintage Ford Roadster Hot Rod donated by the Bruce Levin estate, which sold for a record $425,000.
"The 2019 Auction of Washington Wines series of events were the best ever according to many who attended," said Jamie Peha, the event's executive director. "There was tremendous excitement in the air that manifested itself in the bidding."
A private barrel auction held at Novelty Hill-Januik kicked off the weekend, raising a record $300,000 for WSU's Viticulture & Enology Research program, an increase of 20 percent over last year's barrel auction. The annual Winemaker Picnic brought more than 1,400 attendees to the grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, where they could sample offerings from famed Pacific Northwest chefs and restaurateurs and 60 of the state's top winemakers.
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The grand finale hosted 700 guests for the live-auction gala. Wine lots included "Honorary Harvest: A Vintner's Experience," which entailed a winemaking experience with Gorman winery and sold for a total of $58,000. "Hop on the List," a collection of 10 three-liter bottles of Cayuse, sold for $30,000.
Another top lot with a wine component was "Modernist with Myhrvold," a private dinner with Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft chief technology officer and author of Modernist Cuisine, along with winemakers from Kobayashi winery, Reynvaan and Upchurch, which sold for $90,000. Other lots included a luxury safari trip in South Africa that sold for $65,000 and two trips to Argentina wine country, purchased by two couples at $55,000 each.
When the bidding was done, donors had raised $1.6 million for Seattle Children's Hospital, $550,000 for WSU's research program, and $15,000 to an organization that assists local grape growers with social and economic support. Since its inception in 1988, AWW has raised more than $50 million and continues to be one of the nation's top charity wine events.