LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Christmas for 18 nonprofit organizations, agencies and high schools came a little early this week, as the board of directors of the Lake County Wine Alliance distributed $65,000 to the groups from the proceeds of the 12th annual Lake County Wine Auction held in September at Ceago Vinegarden in Nice.

Gathering at the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro in Kelseyville on Wednesday, more than 50 representatives of the beneficiary organizations joined with major sponsors, Wine Alliance board members and Wine Auction committee members to celebrate receiving these funds which will augment budgets that have been severely impacted during the economic downturn.

With this latest distribution of funds, the all-volunteer Lake County Wine Alliance has contributed $896,765 in proceeds from the annual Wine Auction since its inception in 2000.

Proceeds annually include ticket sales, donations from sponsorships, live and silent auction income, additional funds raised at the event through sales of premium wines, and sales of a fine art commemorative poster by artist John R. Clarke.

The charter of the Wine Alliance directs its efforts to foster the arts, benefit health services and support the community, while promoting Lake County as a premier grape growing and fine wine region.

Each category of funding – the arts, health and community – was allocated a designated amount of funds to be shared amongst the recipients.

Arts ($21,500): Each of the five high schools in Lake County – Clear Lake, Kelseyville, Lower Lake, Middletown, and Upper Lake – received $4,300 for their fine arts and music programs.

Health ($22,000): Any Positive Change received $1,000; Catholic Charities’ Lake County Rural Food Program received $3,500; and the five senior centers that provide Meals on Wheels and nutrition programs throughout the county (Highlands Senior Center, Live Oak Senior Center, Lucerne Alpine Senior Center, Lakeport Senior Center and Middletown Senior Center) each received $3,500.

Community ($21,500): The Lake County Council of Church Women United received $1,500; the Northshore Fire Protection District received $1,000 for its Northshore Dive Team; the Military Funeral Honors Team received $1,000 and Operation Tango Mike received $1,500. The balance of funds in this category was shared by the Lake County Literacy Coalition and People Services Inc., each receiving $8,250.

The 13th annual Lake County Wine Auction will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012.

Applications for funding are available online at or from Judy Luchsinger, chair of the beneficiaries committee, at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Applications must be returned via email or postmarked by March 1, 2012.

Members of the Wine Alliance board of directors are Kaj Ahlmann, president; Judy Luchsinger, vice president; Sharron Zoller, secretary; Rob Roumiguiere, treasurer; Marie Beery and Wilda Shock.

The Lake County Wine Alliance may be contacted by phone, 866-279-WINE, or by mail to P.O. Box 530, Kelseyville 95451.