The theme was Endless Summer, and the hilarity of the annual Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction was indeed seemingly limitless. Still, you’d figure people would pay not to see the ‘Benziger Boys’ in bikini drag.
But in a skit that proved they really can’t all be California girls, the Beach Blanket Benziger lot sold for $51,500. Not to be outdone, the (actual) women of Magnum Force (pictured) performed a synchronized dance-off to the surf guitar anthem “Wipeout.”
Gidget, I don’t think we’re in Malibu anymore.
On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon at Cline Cellars, the 18th annual event drew more than $500,000 in total bids. The crowd, gorgeous in beachwear chic, looked like the casting call for “Baywatch.”
Auctioneer and lifeguard Fritz Hatton managed to keep the lot presenters in line while working the crowd.
The Magnum Force skit generated two $58,000 bids for 58 magnums from top vintners throughout the county. Riding the wave, Maureen Lamb Cottingham, executive director of the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers, doubled the lot. That made winners of Rick Miron, of Trilogy Glass & Packaging, and Bob and Chandra Friese, bringing the lot total to $116,000 – the highest single lot bid in the auction’s history.
Another winner was La Luz Center, the beneficiary of the event’s annual instant fund-a-need donation. When all the paddles were counted, more than $94,000 had been pledged to the center.
“This is the big event of the year for people to come out and support our local community,” said Cottingham. “We could not be happier with the generosity and cooperative sprit that has been on display this entire weekend.”