The rare wines, live and silent auction items and foods served during the event were largely donated by St. Mark’s members, community leaders and friends, ensuring that the monies raised directly support the church’s community service work.
According to the Church’s rector, The Rev. Dr. Randall Day, “The Cellar Classic allows St. Mark’s to carry out its role as a public institution that serves the Santa Ynez Valley very broadly as a no-fee community center. We will continue to offer a meeting place for the area’s Jewish congregation, Food Bank, Valley Community Theatre, recovery and other groups, and to provide art, music and educational programs. St. Mark’s assisted 40 non-profit organizations and programs in 2010-11.”
New this year is a donation to fund ‘camperships’ for children at the nearby Circle V Ranch Camp operated by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul who partnered with St. Mark’s with wine donations including a First Growth Bordeaux and a Grand Cru Burgundy.
Cellar Classic event highlights included a silent auction of 28 lots as well as a live auction conducted by professional auctioneer John Glines of 30 lots of rare and fine wines and wine country related gifts. High bids included a three-bottle group of classic Burgundian wines–1995 and 2007 vintage Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache and Grands Echezeaux and the 1985 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret that sold for $9,500. Brooks Firestone (owner of Curtis Winery) and co-chair of the event assembled an 18-liter beautifully etched bottle filled with a cuvee of syrahs from 12 Santa Barbara County vintners including Andrew Murray, Curtis, Melville, Zaca Mesa and Foxen, a one-and-only creation that sold for $9,000. A double-etched magnum bottle of Rusack Vineyards’ world premiere 2009 zinfandel; made from grapes grown on the legendary Wrigley estate on Santa Catalina Island, went to the highest bidder for $1,200.
From 4:00-5:15pm during the silent auction in Stacy Hall, guests enjoyed gourmet hors d’oeuvres and cheeses, wines donated from Santa Ynez Valley area vintners, musical selections from “She’s My Band” and St. Mark’s Choir (who also saluted high bidders with rousing choruses of Hallelujah during the live auction.)
The live auction had spirited and competitive bidding; followed by a relaxing hour enjoying wine, hors d’oeuvres and camaraderie in the Church’s charming courtyard for the 120 guests in attendance.
Brooks Firestone remarked, “This incredibly generous outpouring of financial support was a result of many people giving an amazing amount of creativity, intelligence, time, labor, financial and material resources. The generosity and success we had is humbling. St. Mark’s is a positive and vital Santa Ynez Valley resource and we rejoice in our broad connection with and support from the wider community.”
Steve Pepe stated, “Our all-volunteer Cellar Classic committee had a vision that a special auction of donated rare and fine wines would attract collectors and wine enthusiasts to St. Mark’s and they would lend their support to our community service mission. We succeeded far beyond our goals and are looking forward to the next Cellar Classic on Saturday, July 28, 2012.”