2012 Cellar Classic Honorary Co-Chair Gabe Saglie was recognized with an etched crystal wine decanter honoring his contributions to the event as well as the entire wine industry in Santa Barbara County.

According to the Church’s Rector, The Rev. Dr. Randall Day, “The Cellar Classic affirms our connection to the wider community and is an enthusiastic ‘yes’ from many friends of St. Mark’s to our intention to be a public, hospitable church and community center. Our members and friends realize that St. Mark’s exists for many people and purposes not typically associated with churches. We have been entrusted with a great gift that includes not only the financial proceeds but all the work everyone did and the intentions of our donors. We will move to greater and greater openness to increasingly serve this Valley and region as a community center, a center for the arts and a place of welcome for all. St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley is grateful to be able to welcome more than 40 organizations annually, many for multiple meetings and events—such as providing a meeting place for the area’s Jewish congregation, Food Bank, recovery groups and offering art, music and educational programs including a professional Pre-School. We are also pleased to be able to provide ‘camperships’ for children at the nearby Circle V Ranch Camp operated by our ministry partner the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.”

Rev. Dr. Day continued, “An enormous number of people made the Cellar Classic possible, creating everything that became part of the event from gourmet hors d’oeuvres to folded napkins and including the gifts of wine to drink and to auction, publicizing, presenting it and assuring it was enjoyable. The financial outcome did not come cheaply but as a result of many people giving an incredible amount of creativity, intelligence, time, labor, financial and material resources. The generosity and success we have experienced with the Cellar Classic over the past three years is both humbling and challenging.”

Cellar Classic event highlights included gourmet hors d’oeuvres and desserts all created by St. Mark’s members and friends including salmon blinis, langostini pitas, mushroom croustades, pâté canapés, shrimp ceviche and caprese skewers; as well as an array of cheeses and fresh vegetable crudités, plus delectable desserts such as chocolate truffles, English toffee, lavender shortbread and an Italian trifle—all accompanied by wines donated from Santa Ynez Valley area vintners and live musical selections from wine country favorite “She’s My Band.”

The Silent Auction of 34 lots from 4:00-5:15 pm in Stacy Hall was followed by the Live Auction conducted by professional auctioneer John Glines of 30 lots of rare and fine wines and wine country-related lifestyle packages from 5:15-6:15 pm; and featured spirited and competitive bidding with St. Mark’s Choir saluting high bidders with rousing choruses of Hallelujah!

High bids included a one-of-its-kind 18-liter bottle of St. Mark’s 2010 Rhone Blend created by vintner Brooks Firestone—who encouraged area wineries including Andrew Murray, Beckman, Clos Pepe, Curtis, Coquelicot, Demetria, Fess Parker, Jorian Hill, Margerum and Saarloos & Sons to donate some of their 2010 vintages—that sold for $5,500.

The highest bid in this year’s live auction was $13,000 for a case of treasures from both California and France vintages that featured a 1996 Paul Pernot Batard Montrachet and a 2000 Stony Hill Chardonnay. Eight, 100-point rated wines were on offer and all sold for exceptional bids including a lot that featured a 1961 Chateau Latour Pauillac and a 1961 Chateau Haut Brion Pessac Leognan for $10,000.

The Cellar Classic features area wines and winemakers and adds to the growing distinguished reputation of this important wine-producing region. Steve Pepe remarked, “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. Once again, we have succeeded far beyond our goals and are looking forward to the 4th annual Cellar Classic on Saturday, June 29, 2013.”


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