Board member Athena Kennedy & I took a road trip to bring you the chance to win a spectacular wine tasting experience. By Wendy Peloquin, Board President
If you have been to a DAHLIA auction in the past several years, you know that our wine grab has been sponsored by Kiona Vineyards, but you probably don’t know the history behind how that came to be.
Kiona is special to our family. Back in the day, before they built their beautiful tasting room, the tasting room was in the basement of the Williams’ house. I remember Matt, Athena and I showing up as they were closing up for the day. I think the door was even locked, because I remember we were headed back to the car when someone said, “come on in – we’ll pour you some wine.” It's always a good time for wine.
First, without an in-person auction event, we didn’t need wine for a wine grab. We were looking for items we could sell and we were also placing an emphasis on more “experience” type items. I decided it would be fun to try to put together a Red Mountain experience featuring Kiona and several of the other amazing wineries that we had grown to love.
Of course, I reached out to JJ first and of course he came through in spades, not only donating wine flights at the winery, but a special 9-year vertical of their signature Lemberger wine (get your bidding fingers ready!). Another favorite, Hightower Cellars, stepped in with flights and a tour of the winery with Tim & Kelly Hightower – the owners and winemakers. (They are amazing people. One time we received a shipment from them and it wasn’t right. Tim called and said, “hey we’re going to be over on your side and can bring you the correct bottles…” They delivered them to my house personally! And threw in an extra bottle for the inconvenience… now that's service!)
With the package complete, we needed to get the donated wine over to the westside. But, with pandemic this year, none of our remaining family was making the trip west. But, it didn’t take much arm twisting to convince Athena that she and I needed to take a road trip.
Short on time, we had to pack a lot in with little time to spare. We beelined over on a beautiful Saturday morning and our first stop was Kiona. It was like coming home. We sat with our wine flights on the terrace overlooking the vineyards. It's our happy place and it was tough to leave. Running slightly behind schedule, we high-tailed it down the road to Hightower. Kelly, herself, was handling the tastings, so we were able to thank her in person for the donation. “Air” hugs all around and we flew down the road to Fidelitas where we enjoyed their fabulous wines and a charcuterie plate on the patio. Our last stop of the day was at a new favorite, Frichette. Shae popped by to welcome us and we thoroughly enjoyed her Sassy Syrah and Carmenere.
While we loved the wine tasting, the highlight of the day was visiting our old homestead. We were so behind schedule, we missed seeing owner, Jason, but his cousin Kasey gave us the run of the place. We visited every nook and cranny – got a little misty eyed – and regaled her with the storied history of the unique house that Matt’s parents built more than 40 years ago (it has its own fallout shelter with a 1 foot thick cement & steel door - no lie).
And so that is the history of Kiona's sponsorship and the story of our road trip. This crazy year of COVID has created so many challenges, including many for DAHLIA. For one, with so many businesses struggling, we had no idea what auction procurement would look like this year. And, in fact, sadly several of our long-time donors are unable to donate. Our hearts go out to them, and it makes us especially appreciative of those who have donated.
I don’t know if you are like me, but when I get down and feeling blue, I try to remember the good people/places/things in my life. This trip was a joy and just what the doctor ordered because as I said before, it was like coming home. Home is what DAHLIA is all about. Creating a home for all of our residents. Celebrating all their abilities and a place where they can thrive. Our amazing staff has done a phenomenal job throughout the whole COVID-19 pandemic. Tireless. Committed. Caring. I could go on and on. My hope with this virtual auction is that, even from a distance, we can keep our tradition of raising funds to continue providing the highest quality care.
I hope you are planning to join us for the auction event on October 18th. I hope I’ve intrigued you about bidding on our Red Mountain package so you can go experience this special place. If you go once, you’ll go back. Oh, and you’ll probably buy way more wine than you intend to, so make sure you bring a car that can haul some cases!