Charity Aucitions in Corn Country Vs. Wine Country

I’ve always wondered what kind of charity auction parents who live in corn or cotton or soy bean country have to raise money for their local schools. The dinner and charity auction is the preferred method of raising funds, particularly for private schools, but also for public schools more and more.

In Wine Country we have a standard event: The Wine Dinner and Charity Auction. We parents pay $70 to $150 to go. We get a great meal, usually created by a local chef, then we bid on auction lots, primarily wine-related auction lots.

I’ve helped organize these events. I’ve called winery after winery and procured a number of very cool big bottles, vertical collections, special tasting certificates and such. All over wine country this sort of event occurs.

What do they do in Corn Country?

I bring this up because I got notice of the granddaddy of this kind of Wine Country event: The Justin Siena Wine Auction of Napa-Sonona. This school has raised more than $1 Million over the past six years alone through their annual auction and dinner. This year’s event happens on March 24 at Justin Siena High School in Napa.

Justin-Siena High School was founded forty years ago by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and the Christian Brothers of the San Francisco District. A number of "wine kids" attend the school. The upshot is a collection of KILLER wine-related auction lots. They even bring in the great wine auctioneer David Reynolds to get the bids going and going and gone. 

While you want to have big bidders at these kind of events, I’ve always found that the key is to have lots (usually the silent type) that anyone attending can afford to bid on. No matter their means, folks like to walk away from these kind of events having won a lot, even if it’s not a vertical collection of Screaming Eagle magnums.
Still, I’m wondering how they do it in Corn Country and Soy Bean Country. Does there exist a very special plot of land in Corn Country from which extraordinarily high quality bushels of corn emerge and that have specific terroir-based characteristics that would lead a number of parents would bid on them?

Posted In: Culture and Wine


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