LAKE COUNTY—Five senior centers, five high schools, seven nonprofit organizations and one fire district have been selected as beneficiaries of this year’s Lake County Wine Auction, announced Margaret Walker, president of the sponsoring Lake County Wine Alliance.

The Wine Alliance, a nonprofit organization of wineries, wine grape growers, vineyard owners, related businesses and community supporters founded in 2000, has contributed over $831,765 to foster the arts, benefit health services, and support the community while promoting Lake County as a premier growing region for fine wine grapes. An all-volunteer board of directors and auction committee plan and direct the annual charity event.

This year’s Wine Auction, the twelfth annual, will take place at Ceago Vinegarden in Nice on Saturday, Sept. 17. This special venue is an ideal setting to showcase the fine foods and wine from Lake County restaurants, caterers, and over 25 wineries. The event is open to guests 21 years and older.

The Wine Alliance and Ceago management are encouraging greater attendance at the event by offering two ticket prices. The Grand Tasting ticket will include an afternoon of wine and food tasting in the gardens, a commemorative wineglass and tasting plate, and participation in the silent auction for $75 per person. This portion of the event will start at 3 p.m. and end at 6 p.m. with the closing of the silent auction.

The Grand Tasting and Auction Reserve ticket of $150 per person will include the afternoon of wine and food tasting in the gardens, a commemorative wineglass and tasting plate, a beautiful gift tote, reserved seating for the served dinner, the live auction, and dancing. Music for the evening will be presented by Twice as Good. The evening activities will start at 6 p.m. and conclude at 9 p.m.

All proceeds from the Wine Auction activities will benefit the selected beneficiaries. Over 40 organizations, agencies, and programs submitted their funding requests to the Wine Alliance, demonstrating the number of worthy programs in Lake County seeking financial assistance. The recipient organizations will use their grants for these projects:

The Arts: The fine arts and performing arts programs at the five Lake County high schools (Clear Lake High, Kelseyville High, Lower Lake High, Middletown High, and Upper Lake High) will share the funds in this category.

Health: Any Positive Change will use funds to purchase a mobile unit to expand their outreach services; Catholic Charities’ grant will benefit the Lake County Rural Food Program; and five senior centers will support their nutrition programs for delivered meals to homebound seniors (Meals on Wheels).

Community: Funds in this category will be shared by the Lake County Council of Church Women United to buy shoes and socks for needy children; the Lake County Literacy Coalition for a continuation of their tutoring programs; the Military Funeral Honors Team for their services to all veterans; the Northshore Fire Protection District for the purchase of dive gear used for public safety by the Northshore Dive Team; Operation Tango Mike for shipping fees and package contents for troops deployed to combat zones; and People Services, Inc., for continued support services for the developmentally disabled.

Tickets for the Wine Auction will be available in April through the Wine Alliance website,, or by calling1-866-279-WINE to make reservations. Information about sponsorship opportunities is available at 707-278-0129.

Honorary chair for the 2011 Wine Auction is Bill Brunetti, Lakeport businessman and property manager. Live auction excitement will be generated by auctioneers Shaun Hornby of Lakeport and Stephanie Green of Kelseyville. Hornby is an experienced auctioneer with a lively and engaging personality, and Green is a certified sommelier and wine expert.

Members of the Wine Alliance board are Margaret Walker, president; Marie Beery, vice president; Rob Roumiguiere, treasurer; and Kaj Ahlmann, Judy Luchsinger, Wilda Shock, and Janet Thompson. Luchsinger chaired the beneficiaries committee and helped the board review the record number of applications.

A large committee of volunteers from throughout Lake County is meeting monthly to plan this major charity event.