Friday, July 25, 2008

Give wining a good name

Sun Valley Center throws a party, or two

Express Staff Writer

Express photo by Willy Cook Sampling wines at the Sun Valley Wine tasting are left to right, Liz and Rufus Brown, Laurie Christian and Carrie Neville. Photo by Willy Cook

The Sun Valley Wine Auction is a time for serious good humor, philanthropy and enjoyment. The latter involves excellent food and the quaffing of superior wines.

The Wine Auction is annually the zenith of the summer's fundraising events. The proceeds of the event help keep the majority of The Center's programs free. As the only fundraiser of the year for the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, the Wine Auction weekend is a time to support the Center's educational arts programming, community outreach, as well as scholarships for local students and teachers.

The Gala Auction will take place tonight, July 25, under the tent at River Run. In the past, the auction has raised more than a million dollars and been ranked among the top 10 in the country by Wine Spectator Magazine.

By Saturday, big spenders are congratulating each other on their trips, cars and wine lots and the tent is remade by a remarkable array of staff and volunteers into a tasting extravaganza to be held from 12:30 to 3 p.m.

A wine tasting such as this is for many people the only time they will ever be able to experience some of the fine wines made around the world. It's heady, spirited and festive. It's also an opportunity to meet vintners and vineyard owners and flatter them into submission.

After a well-deserved nap, the annual picnic at the Big Wood at Thunder Spring at 6 p.m. will wind up the four-day event. The picnic will be catered by Duane Runswick of Feast catering with organic produce from Wood River Organics in Bellevue.

Chairs, blankets, and all kinds of picnic set-ups are welcome. The picnic will be fully compostable: everything is biodegradable. Any remaining food will be donated to Souper Supper, at St. Charles Catholic Church in Hailey. No one under 21 is allowed to attend, but the Wood River Community YMCA will have babysitting for $12 per kid, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The great Tommy Castro and his band from San Francisco and beyond will entertain at the picnic. This is a true treat and worth the price of admission.

For more information and tickets go to, or call 726-9491.

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