Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Sun Valley Wine Auction Taps Around-the-World Adventures to Bolster Arts at Home
Christina Kropp serves Carter Hedberg from a bottle of wine that she says must have weighed 50 pounds when she started pouring.
Sunday, July 21, 2019


A cruise with Chappellet Winery on a 62-guest super yacht through Greece, Croatia and Montenegro brought in $50,000. A swing through Tuscany went for $32,000.

 An apres-ski dinner featuring prepared by Chef Stuart Brioza went for $22,000, as did an Apres Ski  party for 30 at Averell’s with Phifer Pavitt Wine.

And those were just four of 31 lots up for grabs at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts Wine Auction Friday night.

Emma Pulleiro, Peter Burke, Anik Zarkos and Annabel Webster cheer as Auctioneer Greg Quiroga lassos some $50,000 and $25,000 pledges during the Raise a Paddle for Arts Education segment of the evening.

“The arts have the power to change human beings…who might change the world,” The Center’s Director Christine Davis-Jeffers told a few hundred enthusiastic supporters gathered under a big tent on Dollar Mountain. “Tonight, you’re surrounded by people who seek to change the world.”

Patron Marshall Meyer agreed as he watched the proceedings;

“What this valley needs is a high-level culture, a high intellectual culture--things like the Sun Valley Writers Conference. It’s not just skiing and golf that bring people here. It’s things for the mind. The more culture, the more attention to the intellectual, the more people help one another, the better off we will all be.”

Katelyn Foley, The Center’s education director, said The Center was able to reach 4,000 kids in the Wood River Valley last year because of the support from the Wine Auction Weekend. Many of those were involved in two or more programs so The Center counted 8,000 student visits all told.

Trina Peters and her mother Kathy Hardiman of Baltimore, were among those posing for photos against the Wine Auction backdrop.

The new Wine Auction Director Peter Burke, himself a recipient of an arts scholarship in 2015, trotted  out six young people who have benefitted from The Center’s offerings as proof of what arts education can do.

Annabel Webster, Anik Zarkos and Emma Pulleiro sang a song that they had co-written with musicians Luke Verst Beck Vontver and Bronwyn Reagen, who played a little known instrument called a Merlin—a  four-string acoustic instrument that she described as a cross between a dulcimer and a mandolin.

The song, “Found My Way Home,” began: “Anything I compose it’s all composed of you. Each summer home we chase the sky, that cold and milky byway. Where sagebrush blooms along the hills, where cotton falls like snowflakes…Oh, I know I’ve found my way home…”

Pierson Carlsen, a Sun Valley Community School alum now studying film at the University of Southern California said told how The Center helped him realize that art was more than paintings on walls.

Lava Lake Lamb Rancher Brian Bean brought a few sheep to greet patrons at the request of Wine Auction Chairperson Carol Swig who wanted to show off the area’s uniqueness to attendees from out of state.

“The study of art is the study of creation,” he said. “The Center provides a voice for young people. And you never known when you might change someone’s life.”

Sun Valley Culinary Institute’s Chris Koetke—excited about the institute’s decision to establish itself in the former Cornerstone Bar—was a newbie to the event, offering a six-person cooking class in the intimacy of one’s own home to support the arts.

Cyril Chappellet of Chappellet Wines in the Napa Valley, was among those who have been supporting the event for 38 years.

“We’ve been here since the beginning. My mother and Glenn Janss, who started the wine auction, were best friends,” he said.

Christine Davis-Jeffers told how proceeds from the Wine Auction make the arts accessible to students and adults alike.

Many of those attending were still flush with excitement over Thursday’s Vintner Dinners.

Judith Meyer described how Cynthia and Blair Hull had greeted their dinner guests at their home near the Big Wood River with four bagpipers from Boise before giving each guests a Pendleton blanket with the words Sun Valley Wine Auction emblazoned on them. The five-course dinner even included tongue, she noted.

And Mary and Alan hogg found it fitting that Wells Fargo helped sponsor their dinner since Alan used to work for Wells Fargo.

The Ketchum Grill’s Scott Mason served up elk and salmon he’d smoked himself, as well as his own cured prosciutto, said Mary Hogg: “It was a perfect, magical night.”

R.L. Rowsey, music director for the Company of Fools, said the event has never ceased to amaze him.

“I continue to be amazed that all our friends support our work in the community and they ask their friends to support us, as well. And, because of that, great things happen.”


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