Taste of Vail reports record proceeds from wine auctions | VailDaily.com

Taste of Vail reports record proceeds from wine auctions

Daily Staff Report
Auctions chairman, Mickey Werner, right, and Tom DiNardo, auctioneer, teamed up at this year’s Taste of Vail festival, grossing more than $43,000 in proceeds for Vail Valley charities.

VAIL – Taste of Vail, a wine and food festival hel April 5-April 8, grossed more than $43,000 in proceeds from its four live auctions alone. That’s a 62 percent increase over last year, and nearly 50 percent more than the previous high set in 2004.”Taste of Vail is all about benefiting Vail Valley charities and getting people to reach into their pockets to do so,” said Mickey Werner, Taste of Vail’s auctions chairman and general manager of Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail. “I’m thrilled about his year’s results. We raised more money for charity than ever before.”A charitable, nonprofit organization, Taste of Vail has contributed more than $300,000 to Vail Valley charities over the years. This year’s proceeds will be evenly distributed among the newly created Taste of Vail Educational Scholarship, a joint effort with ProStart and Eagle County; the Vail Valley Youth Foundation’s soccer program; and other local charitable programs that otherwise would not be able to continue without additional funding. Final donation amounts will be announced later this year.Werner, known as the “wine wizard” in local circles for his 28 years in the wine and spirits business, said wine auctions at Taste of Vail typically have been of the silent variety “with great – but not outstanding – results.” Last year, raising the bar, he tried a live auction, working as auctioneer himself. This year, reaching higher, Werner decided to bring in a professional auctioneer Tom DiNardo of the nationally recognized DiNardo & Lord Auctioneers, based in Lynden, Wash.

“I’ve been on a crusade for eight years for a real live auction, with a real auctioneer, to generate the interest Vail Valley Charities deserve. Now, I believe this is the right venue, with the right means,” said Werner. “These record proceeds validate our decision to go with live auctions. It’s proven to be the way to raise more money.”At his first Taste of Vail, DiNardo conducted live auctions at the festival’s three Chefs Showcase Dinners, as well as at the Grand Tasting, Auction and Dance. The top five winning bids for prizes at the Grand Tasting included:- $2,600 – Four VIP passes to the 2007 Hospice du Rhone wine festival in May, donated by Garretson Wine Company.- $2,200 -6-liter etched bottles of both 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and 2003 Pinot Noir, donated by Amici Cellars, of Napa Valley, Calif.

– $2,200 – A signed magnum bottle of 2002 Chardonnay, along with a winery tour, tasting and lunch for four people, donated by Chalk Hill Estate, in Sonoma County, Calif.- $2,000 – A 6-liter etched bottle of 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon, a winery tour, tasting and lunch for four people, donated by Napa Valley’s Far Niente Winery.- $1,800 – A 5-liter etched bottle of 1999 Pinot Noir Barrel Select, a winery tour, tasting and two nights accommodations, donated by Van Duzer Vineyards, in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.DiNardo, who already owned five world records for proceeds generated at charity wine auctions, calls such events “the hottest thing going in the auction business.” Now he’s boosted Taste of Vail’s proceeds to a new record, too, half again more than the previous high in 2004 of $29,000.”It was a tremendous honor and privilege to play a role,” DiNardo said. “Working amid the sheer beauty of Vail and selling rare wines and lifestyle experiences to some of the world’s top bidders – people who truly appreciate the finer things in life – was an amazing experience.”

Susan Fritz, president of the Taste of Vail organization and owner of Sapphire Restaurant & Oyster Bar, says the record proceeds are “terrific.” Giving credit not only to DiNardo and the more than 150 local volunteers. Taste of Vail also thanks Vail Resorts for donating on-mountain restaurants and facilities, as well as thousands of man-hours by mountain operations and food and beverage employees, she said.”This festival would never happen without Vail Resorts,” Fritz says.For more information about Taste of Vail, visit http://www.tasteofvail.com.Vail, Colorado

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