Wineries' efforts benefit kids in poor health

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More than 30 Walla Walla Valley wineries raised $237,000 in cash and funds to assist with uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

The fundraiser was part of the recent Auction of Washington Wines 25th anniversary celebration, an annual event that supports patients at one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals, according to a ranking from U.S. News & World Reports.

Auction organizers said 31 Walla Walla Valley wineries participated. The amount raised represents slightly more than the amount — $234,279 — of uncompensated care that was provided for 203 patient visits provided by Seattle Children’s in the Walla Walla Valley. Funds were raised through a variety of live and silent auction items, as well as special winemaker dinners.

“These figures continue to show the behind-the-scenes significant contributions made by our Valley’s winemaking community,” said Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance Executive Director Duane Wollmuth in an announcement.

For 2011, he said, officials estimated the Valley’s wineries contributed a total of over $1.9 million to charitable causes and nearly $850,000 in the Walla Walla Valley alone.

Wineries donate in a variety of ways, including cash, wine, winemaker dinners, special tours, private tastings, art, merchandise and other items and experiences.

For the Auction of Washington Wines, three of the community’s founding winery couples — Gary and Nancy Figgins of Leonetti Cellar, Rick and Darcey Small of Woodward Canyon, and Marty and Megan Clubb of L’Ecole No 41 — joined with Canlis Restaurant in Seattle to raise $29,600 from a special Walla Walla Founders Dinner.

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