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MBEF Wine Auction Raises Over $1.4 Million

Jun 15, 2015 10:42PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Manhattan Wine Auction auctioneer Greg Quiroga. Photo credit: Jeanne Fratello for DigMB

Editor's Note: DigMB was happy to be included in this wonderful fundraising event that does so much to shape the education of our students in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District. It's a fun and festive gala that takes countless individuals and dedicated teamwork to stage. Here's a look at this year's wine auction: MBEF Wine Auction Photo Gallery.

The 21st annual Manhattan Wine Auction, held this past Saturday, once again galvanized the community and raised over $1.4 million to benefit the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation (MBEF). The amount raised at the wine auction represents 20% of MBEF’s total funding.

“Our community has come together to transform an underfunded district into something extraordinary — a model for what public education can be. This effort truly takes the entire village working together. To successfully implement the Wine Auction, we engage more than 250 volunteers, 500 businesses, and 1600 individuals, who come ready to invest in this shared vision”, said Farnaz G. Flechner, MBEF Executive Director.

At the wine auction, hosted by the Manhattan Country Club, participants enjoyed menu items from over 40 local restaurants and tasted beverages from more than 75 wineries, distilleries, and breweries.

With fences and tennis nets removed, guests strolled through the grounds sampling food and wine and browsing the silent auction tables. The live auction and program occurred on Center Court, where a stage was surrounded by sponsored tables.

The event also featured an exclusive "Reserve Room," giving guests an early opportunity to taste exclusive cult and unattainable wines from Napa Valley and beyond, many of which were on the auction block.

Over 98% of the wine donations for the Manhattan Wine Auction came from members of the Wine Advisory Board.

“Our Wine Advisory Board is made up entirely of community members who donate wine from their own collections. This year the donations were to the tune of over $170,000. Without these families, we wouldn’t have any wine, and we wouldn’t have a wine auction. We are truly grateful that they are willing to share their treasures with us,” said Ken Bush, wine auction chair.

Lead sponsors included Chevron, Delta Air Lines, Belkin, Wells Fargo, Manhattan Country Club, SKECHERS, Rolling Hills Flower Mart and Choura. “Chevron has been the founding sponsor of this event since our very first wine auction, 21 years ago," added Bush.

One auction lot that drew a great deal of attention was Live Lot 23, assembled specifically to support the implementation of STEM and Project Lead the Way, which MBUSD has selected to strengthen their science curriculum throughout K-12. Founding sponsor Chevron provided a $75K matching gift to get the ball rolling on the raise, and business sponsor Northrop Grumman stepped in with a $35K donation. The Paddle Raise received overwhelming support from attendees and ended with over 70 donors contributing to this important initiative, generating $230,000.

In addition to wines from Harlan, Screaming Eagle, Scarecrow, Sine Qua Non, and Memento Mori, auction highlights included trips to Australia & China donated by Delta; Bourbon and a Guy’s Night Out, donated by longtime board member and community leader Rich Weiss and Wine Advisory Board Member Michael Kaplan; an LA Kings luxury box; a ski week in Whistler; a  $20,000 diamond ring provided by 23rd St. Jewelers; and a Masters package in Augusta from Rod Spackman of Chevron. As bidding exceeded $21,000, Spackman stepped in to offer an additional package.

Other top items included a studio visit with Linkin Park, which went for more than $30,000; two packages from restaurateur Mike Simms featuring Chef David LaFevre, which garnered almost $60,000; and a brand new silver Mustang Convertible donated by Gary Premeaux of South Bay Ford, which raised $31,000. All told, the live auction brought in just under $410,000.

The Manhattan Wine Auction is the largest charity wine auction in Southern California. The funding raised through this event is critical for the seven public schools of Manhattan Beach Unified School District, with MBEF funding representing 9% of MBUSD’s overall budget. The event's proceeds support 71 educators who bring music, hands-on science, physical education, smaller classes, reading fundamentals, libraries, electives, STEM classes, counseling and Writer’s Workshop programs to the schools.

Related: MBEF Wine Auction Photo Gallery

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