Auction-packed week in Northwest raises over $4.6M

By |2023-08-14T09:20:15-07:00August 14th, 2023|

Photo copyright Carolyn Wells-Kramer

Top auction events return to Washington and Willamette Valley

Two of the Pacific Northwest’s premier auctions were held this past week. The Auction of Washington Wines, a consumer-centric series of events, took place in Woodinville, Washington. Willamette: The Pinot Noir Auction, a trade-focused barrel auction, took place in Yamhill, Oregon.

The Auction of Washington Wines raised $4M. (Full disclosure: My wife contracts with the Auction.) Money from the auction funds Seattle Children’s Hospital, Washington State University viticulture and enology research, and Vital, which is dedicated to ensuring vineyard and winery workers have access to healthcare and other resources.

Events took place August 10th through 12th on the grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle, which has hosted the auction for 36 years. This included an evening to recognize individuals in the industry, a winemaker picnic and barrel auction, and a gala.

The gala included 30 auction lots, ranging from prized wines to international trips to wine regions and beyond. The highest dollar amount raised was $120,000 for an eight-night African safari donated by Woodinville’s Betz Family Winery.

“We’re incredibly grateful to everyone who contributed to these events,” says Jamie Peha, executive director for the Auction of Washington Wines. “The community’s generosity is so crucial to supporting our beneficiaries and made these events a resounding success.”

Willamette: The Pinot Noir Auction had its seventh annual event August 10th at WillaKenzie Estate. The private barrel auction, which hosts distributors, restaurant buyers, and retailers, was coming off a one-year hiatus in addition to two pandemic-impacted years.

“It felt very rewarding to feel like the wine industry is getting back to its pre-pandemic ways, being able to host people in-person, hug, and know that we’re going to be able to go out into the market and do events,” says Morgen McLaughlin, executive director of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA). “It was actually quite emotional.”

The auction offered 75 lots of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, sold in 5, 10, and 20 case amounts. Bidding took place both in-person and via livestream, with the organization partnering with Zachys Wine Auction for the event. The auction raised $680,900.

The Bergström 2021 Pinot Noir ‘La Voluptueuse’ commanded the highest bid at $35,000 for five cases. This is an average bottle price of $583. Overall, 10 lots sold for in excess of $10,000. The auctioned wines will subsequently be available for resale to the public via their purchasers.

Money raised will fund marketing and educational initiatives at WVWA, a non-profit association whose goal is to promote Willamette Valley and its wines. The 2022 Willamette event did not take place due to the impacts of 2020’s wildfires in the valley.

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