Charity-inclined wine lovers and Washington winemakers rallied at the beautiful Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville late Thursday afternoon to kick off the 26th annual Auction of Washington Wine Weekend with the super popular Picnic & Barrel Auction.
The Barrel auction was the first of three fund raising events of the weekend and, with Washington state getting 90+ scores from Wine Spectator, more than any wine region in the world, the best event in terms of access. Eighteen wineries were split among five tents, which anchored the center of the event for the main attraction. Guests’ slipped under each tent to chat with winemakers and taste barrel samples of their future releases. Making their way from tent to tent, guests picked their favorite(s) and placed bids on the boards in hopes of not getting knocked off. As the bids mounted, the winemakers’ cheered. The top five highest bidders will be the first to collect on the wine once it is released.
Wineries not involved in the barrel auction sent their winemakers out and about, wine bottles in hand, to mingle with guests while pouring tastes of their newest and oldest releases. More than one hundred wineries in all participated in the event with two tents showcasing and tasting all participating wines.
The talented Chefs from Tulalip Resort Casino dotted the event peripheral where guests bobbed and weaved their way through stations of beautifully prepared, rich and filling appetizers and dessert.
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Guests were quick to bid for two very worthy causes, Seattle Children’s Hospital and Washington State University’s Viticulture & Enology program. Since its inception in 1988, the Auction of Washington Wines has raised more than $280 million, with a majority benefitting uncompensated care at Seattle Children's Hospital. This distinguished event gives wine lovers the chance to help the Washington wine industry bridge a critical funding gap for children across the Northwest. Funds also support the Viticulture and Enology Program at Washington State University.
The top two cases sold were 2011 Long Shadows Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2011 Reynvaan Family Vineyards Reserve Syrah, Walla Walla – raising $3000 each! Info on the Long Shadows
Honorary Vintner and Honorary Grower, Allen Shoup and Kent Waliser, teamed together to create a truly unique wine made especially for the 26th annual event - a 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon from Sagemoor Vineyard, block 208, planted in 1972. This spectacular nine-acre block of 40-year-old vines is amongst the oldest still producing in Washington.