Friday, July 27, 2012

Wine auction eclipses million-dollar mark

Events attracted more than 2,000 participants


The annual Sun Valley Center for the Arts Wine Auction, held in Sun Valley and Ketchum July 19-21, raised more than $1 million for the nonprofit organization's arts and humanities programs, the organization announced this week.

Events during the auction weekend attracted more than 2,000 participants, The Center said in a news release. The main event, the auction on Friday, July 20, brought in $1,004,000. An exact figure for the net proceeds will not be known until all expenses are in, but the organization said it anticipates the results will be better than expected.

The live auction, held in a tent at Dollar Mountain in Sun Valley, was attended by some 350 arts patrons. Christl Holzl, who runs the Wine Auction for The Center, said "things got really crazy when a lot from Napa's newest exclusive winery, Tusk Estates, went off the charts at $42,000. This lot included flight time from Avantair, two 1.5 liter bottles of Tusk, exclusive tastings, dinners and a stay at the House of Tusk."

A tradition of the Wine Auction is the Atkinsons' Market Lot, organized by Tom and Sharon Pyle and now in its 18th year. This year's lot, which included seven 6-liter bottles of wine from Col Solare, Côte Bonneville, L'Ecole No. 41, Leonetti Cellar, Quilceda Creek, Va Piano and Woodward Canyon, sold for $30,000. Local artist Kerrin McCall designed the artwork on the bottles: a view of Bald Mountain with hot air balloons aloft. Over the past 18 years, this lot has raised well over $500,000, The Center said.


The Wine Auction, now in its 31st year, is The Center's primary fundraiser and accounts for almost half its operating budget. The Center's annual scholarship awards and its many education programs for K-12 students are offered free of charge, primarily through funding from the auction.

Trina Peters—chair of the 2012 auction with her husband, Jake, and a past president of the Sun Valley Center board of directors—said she was pleased with the auction's success.

"From the format of the auction, to the décor, to the great music and food at both the gala and picnic, our goal was to make sure that guests from a broad spectrum of the community had a really good experience that will bring them back again next year," she said.

The 32nd annual Sun Valley Center Wine Auction is scheduled for July 18-20, 2013.

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