Charity Wine Auctions Raise Millions for Animal Rescue and Texas Kids

From Screaming Eagle to 50 Cent's Champagne, wine lovers bid at pre-pandemic levels at Napa's Wineapawlooza and Houston's Rodeo Uncorked! Charity Wine Auction and Dinner

Charity Wine Auctions Raise Millions for Animal Rescue and Texas Kids
50 Cent, aka Curtis Jackson, was the guest of honor at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's charity wine auction, where his Champagne drew feverish bidding. (Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo)
Jun 30, 2021

Animal lovers and wine collectors banded together once again for the eighth annual Wineapawlooza charity wine auction on June 19. The event, hosted virtually by Napa's Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch, raised $1 million in live bids, a $200,000 increase from last year's remote event. Auctioneer Fritz Hatton and wine retailer Vanessa Conlin co-hosted the live auction, which included rare wine lots and multi-night stays in Burgundy to help support the nonprofit animal sanctuary.

The live auction brought in 430 viewers from across the U.S. and abroad who helped push the total bids to $1.4 million, just shy of Wineapawlooza co-founder and CEO Monica Stevens' prediction. The two-hour live broadcast included both live bidding and pre-recorded content from vintners and sponsors who donated rare wines and one-of-a-kind lots.

"As the organization has grown, we have been able to tap into the deep well of generosity and creativity of our auction committee and vintners in order to provide exclusive and unique lots that do a good job of marrying cult wines with once-in-a-lifetime experiences," Stevens said.

The top wine lot was "Take Flight with Screaming Eagle," which included a double magnum of 1994 Screaming Eagle and 2018 The Flight. The lot sold for $66,000. Other top wine-related lots included a four-night stay at a private home in Puligny-Montrachet in Burgundy for $100,000 and a custom-crafted barrel (25 cases) of 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon made by Russell Bevan and Jesse Katz, which also sold for $100,000. The highest-selling lot of the night was "Scarecrow," which included a dinner prepared by chef Casey Thompson and a double magnum of 2015 Scarecrow Cabernet. It sold twice, for $125,000 each.

Down in Texas

Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction and Dinner also enjoyed a strong 2021 event. The in-person Houston event—consistently one of Wine Spectator's top charity auctions—took place on May 8 and raised $2.2 million in live bids to help support Texas youth programs and local education. American rapper and producer Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson made an appearance with his Champagne label Le Chemin du Roi.

The top wine lot was 1 case of 2014 Alexander Valley Vineyards Cyrus, four 9-liter bottles of the same wine and four belt buckles, which sold for $200,000. Another top wine lot, which sold for $160,000, included a case of Le Chemin du Roi Champagne, four 9-liter bottles of the bubbly and four belt buckles. Another lot featuring a 15-liter bottle of Le Chemin du Roi Brut and a 10-person dinner with Jackson sold twice at $100,000 each. Jackson was also honored with the auction’s Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show award.

"When they told me I won, I almost fainted. I was really excited," said Jackson in a statement. "I’m very proud of this."

"We were thrilled to have Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson support the 2021 Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction in such a big way," Rodeo president and CEO Chris Boleman told Wine Spectator via email. "With his award-winning wine selling for $160,000, coupled with his Champagne and dinner packages that sold for $100,000 each, he helped us raise $360,000, which is extraordinary. These dollars will help the Rodeo fund scholarships for Texas youth and we are so honored that he could play a role in that."


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