Want to rub elbows with Washington's top winemakers and chefs? Get ready for the Auction of Washington Wines in August. This annual event benefits uncompensated care at Seattle Children's Hospital and the Washington Wine Education Foundation. Last year the event raised a whopping $2.25 million dollars. Clearly, people attending the auction have a little bigger wine budget than the average wine drinker.
Events are spread over three days, with most taking place at Chateau Ste. Michelle. The Picnic & Barrel Auction on Thursday, August 18 includes picnic fare, carnival games, and wine poured by winemakers mingling with the crowd. For the $150 ticket price, it'd be easy for some people to eat and drink their money's worth. Plus, attendees can experience the auction. Participating wineries donate five cases of future unreleased wines, and the five winning bidders each get one case which will be shipped to them following production. The person with the top bid gets to take home a custom-engraved barrel head with the winery's logo.
On Friday, August 19, 15 different winemaker dinners take place at private estates, wineries, and local restaurants. For $250, you can dine with Efeste winemaker Brennon Leighton at Il Corvo, or with winemakers from Leonetti and Figgins wineries at a private home, catered by a guest chef.
The Wine Gala on Saturday, August 20 is the priciest event, with tickets costing $500. For that price you get a six-course dinner cooked by top area chefs like Jason Stratton from Spinasse and Peter Birk from Ray's Boathouse. Winemakers from over 60 of the state's top wineries will be seated at tables and pouring from their collection. Guests can also bid on luxury items such as dinner for 12 with chef Michael Mina and Quilceda Creek, or 10 rare Cayuse wines. Last year, a collection of bottles from DeLille sold for $70,000.
What if you want to support the beneficiaries, but have more athletic ability than money? The Covey Run is a 5K or 10K fun run through Woodinville wine country at 8 a.m. on Saturday, August 20. And after the race, you can visit one of the dozens of wineries in Woodinville for a tasting that will only set you back about $5.