- The Underground Wine Letter - http://www.undergroundwineletter.com -


Naples Winter Wine Festival, 14th Annual — January 24 – 26, Naples, Florida

A Culinary Evening With The California Winemasters, 25th Annual — May 17, Burbank, California

Auction Napa Valley, 34th Annual — June 5 – 9, Napa Valley, Caifornia

Vintage Affaire, 32nd Annual — June 21, Woodside, California

St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church Cellar Classic, 5th Annual — June 28, Los Olivos, California

Central Coast Wine Classic, 30th Annual — July 10 – 13, Avila Beach, California

Detroit International Wine Auction, 33rd Annual — October 18, Detroit, Michigan

Rusty Staub Wine Auction, 23rd Annual — October 22, New York, New York

Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic, 24th Annual — November 6 – 8, Virginia Beach, Virginia

The 14th Annual Naples Winter Wine Festival Raised $13.5 Million To Benefit Naples Children And Education Foundation

The 14th Annual Naples Winter Wine Festival, a three day gala, January 24 to 26 in 2014, took place at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort in Naples.  The always exquisite event raised $13.5 Million for the Naples Children and Education Fund, benefitting local charities that assist underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County.  For more information on the Naples Winter Wine Festival, visit www.napleswinefestival or telephone 239-514-2239, 888-837-4919.

 The 25th Annual Culinary Evening With The California Winemasters Raised $1.8 Million For Cystic Fibrosis

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation hosted a sold-out event on May 17. The 25th Annual “A Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters” was their most successful night yet, raising $1.8 Million, bringing the grand total to over $27 Million raised for the Foundation’s vital research and care centers since the event’s inception.

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About 1,400 wine and food lovers from around the country gathered on the historic “Midwest Street” backlot at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank to delight in wining and dining under the stars in the setting of a quintessential Any Town USA. Throughout the exciting, magical evening, gourmet cuisine from 50 celebrity chefs paired with wines from 75 of California’s most talented winemaker to present a wine and food extravaganza enjoyed by guests while participating in silent and live auctions, bidding on extraordinary lots. From 5 pm to 8 pm, guests walked along the charming, tree-lined streets of the backlot, sipping wine, tasting gourmet food and bidding on over 600 items in the silent auction. The rousing live auction starts at 8 pm.

The 2014 event was another extravagant auction with items ranging from fantasy trips to exclusive collector wines. The live auction included a six-day stay for three couples in Paris and Burgundy highlighted by a private visit, tasting and luncheon at Dom Perignon, and a magnum of 2004 La Tache donated by Aubert de Villaine that sold for $52,000.

A two-week wine tasting holiday to Argentina with visits to major wineries and a side trip to Patagonia sold for $48,000, and a one-week holiday in South Africa’s newest wine appellation with an extension in Tanzania that features an opportunity to voluntourism – working with children on conservation in a village near Victoria Falls sold for $24,000. The bidding for an eight-day luxury trip to Turkey including a cruise and visit to Turkey’s growing wine region was competitive and enthusiastic with a winning bid of $28,000; and five 10-night stays in Spain, Portugal, the U.K., Germany and Greece at hotels of the winning bidders’ choice from the Small Luxury Hotels of the World portfolio sold for $30,000.

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Live auction wine lots included 12 magnums from 1984-1995 and eight 1-liter bottles from 1996-2003 of Grace Family Vineyards that sold for $36,000; one bottle each of 2003, 2004 and 2006 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Montrachet that sold for $20,000 and a 24-bottle collection from 1990-1999 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain, 1990-1999 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley and 1992-1995 Dunn Petite Sirah that sold for $17,000.

The 26th Annual Culinary Evening With The California Winemasters is set for Saturday, May 16, 2015, at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank. Please contact Barbara Balik for further information and registration: email: bbalik@cff.org; Telephone: 707-258-1661; Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website: www.californiawinemasters.org.

The 30th Annual Central Coast Wine Classic Brings Total Dollars Raised For the Foundation’s 125 Charities Over
The Last 10 Years To Over $2.5 Million

The 30th Annual Central Coast Wine Classic took place in and around Avila Beach from July 10 through July 13. The focal point of the Classic, the Rare & Fine Wine & Lifestyle Auction has been called by Wine Spectator, one of the “Top Ten” Charity Wine Auctions in America. It included offerings of rare wines and lifestyle packages from California’s Central Coast and other wine and culinary destinations in California, as well as around the United States and throughout the world.

Wine and lifestyle offerings raised $604,185, with $578,500 from the Live Auction and proceeds of $25,685 from the Silent Auction. The Live Auction total includes the Annual Fund-A-Need Auction Lot that raised $86,950 for the Rona Barrett Foundation in Santa Ynez for the purpose of sustaining Senior Citizens with physical and financial challenges.

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Every year the Wine Classic offers fabulous lots. The most successful Wine & Lifestyle Auction Lots this year were 60 Bottles of Fine French Red Burgundy wine for $35,000, a 2014 Harvest Dinner for 24 People presented by Au Bon Climat winery and the Buellton Hitching Post restaurant for $24,000, a Wine & Culinary Tour of French Wine Country for two people for $20,000, a Dinner with Archie McLaren and Baseball Legend Tim McCarver featuring a Dozen Bottles of Rare Wine from Around the World from the 1964 Vintage for $20,000, 30 Bottles of Cult Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for $18,000 and a Gourmet Food & Wine Crystal Cruise for two from Singapore to Hong Kong for $15,000. The Auction also included remarkable art works from exceptional California artists, including, James-Paul Brown, Robert Burridge, Colleen Gnos, Karen Krahl, Adam Licsko, Joanne Licsko, Joanne Ruggles, Edward Walton Wilcox and Yuroz, whose Commemorative oil on canvas “Ocean View” brought a winning bid of $20,000.

Founder & Chairman Archie McLaren stated, “The most gratifying aspect of our proceedings was the amazing embracing energy produced by patrons and vintners, some of whom have been coming in support of the event for 30 years. Their enthusiasm was visible throughout the four days of activities, including the magical Dinner at Hearst Castle, the ultra-rhythmic VIP Dinner-Dance hosted by Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, Bob Lindquist of Qupe Wine Cellars, Doug Margerum of Margerum Wine and Frank Ostini and Gray Hartley of Hitching Post/Hartley-Ostini, the Auction, which included many memorable emotional experiences based on the 30-year history of our event and its goals. We topped $2,500,000 donated since the founding of the Central Coast Wine Classic Foundation in 2004 to 125 San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County non-profits whose missions are in the Healing, Performing and Studio Arts. That feels incredible!”

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During the course of the Auction, California State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian presented McLaren with a framed Resolution from the State Assembly commending McLaren on his work for the community over the past 30 years in the areas of wine industry promotion, tourism and the sustaining of an array of area non-profits.

The 31st Annual Central Coast Wine Classic will be in July of 2016, centered in Avila Beach and San Simeon. The schedule of activities will be available as participating wineries and chefs are confirmed, and may then be seen by visiting the Central Coast Wine Classic website, www.centralcoastwineclassic.org. Further information and reservations may be obtained by contacting Archie McLaren by email at archie@slonet.org, or by calling 805-544-1285.

Auction Napa Valley, Napa Valley, California

The 34th Annual Auction Napa Valley, held in early June, raised a phenomenal $18.4 Million for the non-profit charities that provide community health and children’s education to Napa Valley’s residents. The country’s first and most celebrated charity wine auction, hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners Association, is one of the largest charity wine auctions in the world, rivaling the Naples, Florida wine auction and the Hospice de Beaune in Burgundy, France. The Auction at Meadowood Resort was the focal point of a weekend of dinners and wine tastings held throughout the Valley.

The 50 lots sold at auction included two very impressive lots that raised $840,000 and $600,000 respectively. The first was an opportunity to attend the Academy Awards with Jean-Charles Boisset, including travel to Los Angeles by private jet and a gown and tuxedo for the winners. As bidding heated up to over $400,000, Boisset offered to double down and provide the experience to two winners, bringing in $420,000 times two. Bill Harlan, owner of Harlan Estate and Bond, made an offer that Lee Anderson (owner of Korta Katarina Winery in Croatia) couldn’t refuse: the chance to become Customer Number One on the list of Harlan’s new project, Promontory. For $600,000, Anderson will receive the first case of wine produced by Promontory, five double magnums from the 2009 through the 2013 vintage, and releases from 2009 through 2018.

For information regarding the 35th Annual Auction Napa Valley, call 707-963-3388; email reception2@napavintners.com or visit www.napavintners.com.

Vintage Affaire, Woodside, California

The 32nd Annual Vintage Affaire, Silicon Valley’s premier wine auction, an elegant party with fine wines, gourmet cuisine, live music and one-of-a-kind auction items took place on Saturday, June 21, in exclusive Woodside. Always a wonderful affair to remember, it is one of the largest wine and destination auctions in California and benefits Palo Alto’s Vista Center. Over the past 32 years, Vintage Affaire has raised over $8 million for Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Palo Alto and Santa Cruz.

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Of the 124 lots, 77 were in the silent auction. Auctioneer John Glines led the bidding on the 47 live auction lots. The fabulous lifestyle lots included Premier Cru Tickets for two people to the 2014 Sun Valley Wine Auction, with seven nights in a luxurious Lodge apartment in the historic Sun Valley Resort, a five day golf package for six people in the Dominican Republic, six days in an Italian villa for eight people, five nights in Paris with a Cordon Bleu experience for two people, a week at Dancing Bear in Aspen, and a seven day adventure for two in Vietnam and Cambodia. Back by popular demand was a duck hunt in the Sacramento Valley, followed by a duck and goose dinner.

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The 33rd Annual Vintage Affaire will take place June 20, 2015 in Woodside, California. Please contact Vista Center at 650-858-0202 for additional information, website: www.vintageaffaire.org.

St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church Cellar Classic,Los Olivos, California

St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church held its 5th Annual Cellar Classic’s Auction of Rare & Fine Wines on Saturday, June 28 in Los Olivos in the Santa Ynez Valley. The Classic was very successful, with fundraising surpassing that of previous years. Revenue from the Cellar Classic, allows the Church to continue to serve not only their Episcopal congregation but also to function as a meeting place for more than 60 local groups who come to access space, at no cost to them, including the area’s Jewish congregation, Food Bank, Valley Community Theatre and recovery groups, as well as to provide art, music and educational programs and to help fund other non-profits. Fifty percent of the winning bids goes to their Associates, including: Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital, Lompoc Hospital Foundation, Marian Regional Medical Center of Santa Marina, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, and St. Vincent de Paul’s Circle V Ranch Camp for inner city youth in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

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The Cellar Classic, which takes place on the lovely grounds of St. Mark’s features a live auction of fine and rare collectible wines, a silent auction of extraordinary wines, wine-related gifts and vacation packages, as well as gourmet hors d’oeuvres and local vintages accompanied by live entertainment.

This year was one for the record books, featuring famed wine expert and author, Steven Spurrier as honorary co-chair. Spurrier is the man who organized the 1976 tasting that became known as the Judgment of Paris where California wines bested French wines in blind tastings. Spurrier is featured in a live auction lot regarding the planned Judgment of Paris film, to be produced by Hollywood film writer and producer and vintner Robert Mark Kamen, offering an walk-on role in the film and tickets to its U.S. premiere.

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Silent auction lots numbered 39, which included for the first time, local art work. Exceptional local artists Chris Chapman and John Iwerks, produced two original vineyard paintings specially for the CC and world-renowned painter, wine connoisseur, neo-impressionist artist James Paul Brown produced an original art print which included Artiste Winery magnums. Another first was a selection of local wines, Kita Wines, produced by Santa Ynez Chumash Indians, with tribal descendant, Tara Gomez as winemaker.

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Auctioneer John Glines led the energetic, enthusiastic bidding on 31 live auction lots which included some unusual lifestyle experiences. The Ultimate NY Yankees Experience for Two, selling for $20,000, included VIP tickets to a baseball game at Yankee Stadium, field passes, a tour of the stadium and museum, dinner, a Broadway play, and Derek Jeter memorabilia, along with a three day stay in Manhattan.

Other lifestyle lots were a stay at luxurious Sunstone Estate Villa for five couples, with a vineyard tour and tasting and a dinner catered by Four Seasons Biltmore Santa Barbara, an evening at Rancho La Zaca (ranch and home built by James Garner) for 20 guests, dinner and jazz piano from grammy winning jazz pianist Jim Pugh, and a tour and tasting at Westerly Vineyards, with two helicopter rides touring Santa Ynez Valley.

The 6th Annual Cellar Classic will take place in Los Olivos in the Santa Ynez Valley in June 2015. For more information, contact Stephen Pepe, 805-735-7867 or steve@clospepe.com or The Rev. Dr. Randall Day, St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church at 805-688-4454, or randall@smitv.org, or visit -www.SMITV.org.

L’Ete du Vin, Nashville, Tennessee

The 35th Annual L’Ete du Vin (A Summer of Wine) was held in mid-July in Nashville, featuring the legendary First Growth, Chateau Margaux and Paul Pontallier, the Bordeaux estate’s Managing Director and Winemaker. The city’s premier wine event and America’s oldest charity wine auction united the wine community, raising $918,000 to fund the fight against cancer in Middle Tennessee. Events took place over four days with special tastings and dinners, attended by over 750 people.

The Vintners’ Tasting, held at Richland Country Club featured a tasting of the entire Chateau Margaux wine portfolio, led by Paul Pontallier and Ken Killion of Chateau Margaux and Tom Black, longtime Nashville Wine Auction supporter. Other events included the Grand Cru Evening held at local home and the Patrons’ Dinner that took place in the elegant lobby of the historic Hermitage Hotel.

The signature event, the Grand Auction, was held in Loew’s Vanderbilt Hotel. Special Musical Guest, Martina McBride took to the stage during the dinner that followed the silent auction. Auctioneer Fritz Hatton then started the bidding for 63 lots to raise money for cancer research. The top lot, Dinner with Martina McBride, sold for $86,000. The Finer Things in Life, multiple Chateau Margaux vintages to be paired with dinner at the Hermitage Hotel, brought $60,000.
Established in 1980, the Nashville Wine Auction, the oldest charity wine auction in the country, has raised over $19 Million for organizations whose purpose is directly related to treatment, patient care, and eradication of cancer in Middle Tennessee.

Please contact L’Ete du Vin for further information and registration for the 36th Annual L’Ete du Vin, email: info@nashvillewineauction.com; Telephone: 615-329-1760; Fax: 615-329-1704; L’Ete du Vin website: www.nashvillewineauction.com.

Detroit International Wine Auction, College for Creative Studies,Detroit, Michigan

The 33rd Annual Detroit International Wine Auction, which took place in General Motors Vehicle Engineering Center in Warren, Michigan October 18, 2014, transformed into a shimmering dinner setting. Over 700 people delighted in the luxurious evening of world-class wines, gourmet cuisine, fashion and art to benefit Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. “The Art of Wine”, chaired by Mary and Tony Barra of General Motors, raised over $2.4 Million to fund scholarships at CCS and provide free art classes for at-risk youth.

CCS will provide free art programs to more than 4,000 children in Detroit this year, and support talented but financially needy undergraduate students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. These students will go on to be the design leaders and inspired artists of tomorrow, as strengthen Detroit as a center for creativity and innovation.

Featured Vintner, Michael Martini, returned to the event, 30 years after his father Louis Martini was the event’s third Featured Vintner in 1984. Since then, the Detroit International Wine Auction has grown to be the largest wine auction in the region, and one of the biggest auctions in the country. CCS has been an anchor in the Detroit community since its founding in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts. Named on e of the “Top Design Schools in the World” in Business Week, CCS today is one of Detroit’s most dynamic institutions.

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The evening began with the Vintner’s Private Reception, offering seven live lots, including a very rare lot of 11 vintages of Louis Martini wines ranging from 1947 to 1987. Silent auctions offered 52 lots of rare wine and lifestyle packages and 28 art lots. Famed auctioneer Fritz Hatton led the bidding on 49 live lots that included trips to Walt Disney World and Epcot, six days in Italy, seven days in Paris, a trip for two couples to New York City and Austria and a trip to Rome with Nicola Bulgari. The Featured Vintner’s Grand Lot is a three day trip to Napa with a visit to Martini Winery’s acclaimed Monte Rosso Vineyard for eight guests. Other lots include a special visit to General Motors Design Center with driving experience in an historic vehicle and a VIP experience at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Please contact the College for Creative Studies for further information and registration for the 34th Annual Detroit International Wine Auction; email: diwa@collegeforcreativestudies.edu; Telephone: 313-664-7464; CCS website: www.collegeforcreativestudies.edu/news-and-events/diwa.

The 23rd Annual Rusty Staub Foundation Raised Over $1 Million For Its Emergency Food Program

Baseball great Rusty Staub and his namesake auction is a perennial top performer and the 23rd Annual Rusty Staub Foundation Emergency Food Program in 2014 generated well over $1 Million for food pantries in the five boroughs of New York City.  The Program consists of two events each year, the Celebrity Chefs and Friends Golf Tournament that takes place in June and the Wine Auction and Dinner on October 22.

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For more information on Rusty Staub’s charity events, contact www.rustystaub.com, telephone 646-794-2483 or email rsfoundation@archny.org.

 The 24th Annual Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Raised $1.3 Million For Educational Charities For Youth Of Virginia Beach

The 24th Annual Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic, November 6 to 8 in 2014, raised $1.3 Million to provide support for local children’s educational charities.  The Classic also includes a Wine Women Fishing event to fund breast cancer research.  The main event, a live auction, was held at a private home overlooking Lynnhaven River in Virginia Beach.  Renowned auctioneer Fritz Hatton gaveled 73 lots before an audience of 700 people.

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For more information, visit cbwc.org, telephone 757-200-9463, or email wineclassic@cox.net.

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