The iffy weather turned out to be perfect once the picnic started. Not too hot, not too cold. Chateau St. Michelle did a wonderful job transforming their grounds for the picnic. The layout worked well, I liked how the silent auction items were scattered throughout the various food tents. Speaking of food, the Tulalip Resort did a fantastic job providing some scrumptious food. The favorite among the crowd was definitely the star anise braised lamb with macadamia nut dried cherry rice. With good reason, this dish exploded with flavors and was extremely wine friendly. The desserts were all miniature versions of your retro bake sale favorites. Lemon whoopee pies, peanut butter chocolate bars and strawberry poptarts, I was like a kid in a candy store!
Each year the Auction honors two of its own for their outstanding contributions to the Washington wine industry. This year’s Honorary Grower is Dr. Wade Wolfe of Thurston Wolfe and the Honorary Vintner is Rob Griffin of Barnard Griffin.
The Barrel Auction was the main attraction at the picnic. 20 wineries donated a barrel of yet to be released wine. Each barrel contains 5 cases of wine. Some excellent wines were showcased in this year’s barrel auction. Most notably for me were the Fidelitas Red Mountain Red, Reynvaan “In the Rocks” Syrah and Adams Bench Red Willow Cabernet.
The Barrel Auction and Picnic was followed the next evening by 13 winemaker dinners at various private homes around Seattle. With the grand finale of the weekend being the Gala Auction that featured a six-course gourmet dinner and live auction.
The entire weekend was a resounding success. The Barrel Auction and Picnic alone raised $60,000 between the picnic games, silent auction and barrel auction.