Silicon Valley Wine Auction Breaks Records and Raises $1 Million for Local Education
With a winning combination of 150 premium wines and an exclusive outdoor art venue, people showed up to “sip, sample and bid” in the beautiful outdoors for the 2017 Silicon Valley Wine Auction on May 20-21, despite summer-like temperatures approaching 90 degrees.Produced by the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association (SCMWA), and held at Runnymede Sculpture Farm in Woodside, California, the third annual event featured top winemakers and wineries of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was one for the record books; drawing 1,000 total attendees and raising $1 million to benefit the Silicon Valley Education Foundation’s Elevate (Math) and STEM Leadership Institute programs.
The 2017 auction far surpassed the previous two events, both held at Levi’s Stadium, which each drew 600 attendees and raised about $600,000. The SCMWA attributed this year’s jump in proceeds to greater awareness for the 3-year-old event and aggressive efforts to meet their $1 million goal. “This event is a culmination of 12 months of hard work and planning,” noted Megan Metz, executive director of SCMWA. “And, we had great representation from 50 of our 65 wineries (that comprise association membership) who loved the opportunity to connect with new faces.”
Among other changes this year, the event format was spread over two days: The Wine-Pairing Dinner and live auction (with more exclusive attendance of 300) on Saturday night; the Grand Wine Tasting along with a VIP Tasting and silent auction on Sunday afternoon.
The move to the grounds of Runnymede Farm, which is only open to the public during private events, spurred additional excitement and increased attendance. “The venue was spectacular, the wine wonderful, and the auction was great, with some pretty spectacular bidding!” said Bill Cooper, winemaker for Cooper-Garrod Vineyard.
Among the top live auction items were two winemaker’s dinners sponsored by House Family Vineyards, which fetched $27,000 each, for a total of $54,000.
Thérèse Martin of Martin Ranch Winery, who has participated every year, echoed the positive sentiments of participating wineries. ”We’ve always had great, positive residual. It’s a good event to give people exposure to new areas and a great appellation. And people get excited to see the smaller new wineries.”
“We still need to increase our awareness here in the Valley, where people still have Napa and Sonoma on their brains,” noted Bradley Brown, proprietor and winemaker of Big Basin Vineyards. “With this good cause, we are bringing more awareness to Santa Cruz Mountain wines.”