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Sonoma County Wine Auction Raises More Than $5.7 Million

It was a recording-breaking year for the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation, raising more than $5.7 million at the 2018 Sonoma County Wine Auction. The Fund-A-Need paddle raise, dedicated to rebuilding Sonoma County and focused on housing solutions, raised $2.5 million. “More than 5,000 Sonoma County homes were lost to the October fires last year, and we know recovery needs to be looked at through a longer-term lens,” said George Hamel, 2018 honorary chair, in a prepared statement. “Housing is a basic and fundamental necessity for everyone, and my family all feel strongly about supporting this effort.” Proceeds raised will benefit local nonprofits and fire relief efforts, focused specifically on post-fire housing solutions.

The auction, held at La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard, was the culmination of a three-day affair in Sonoma County that included a kickoff party, hosted at Paradise Ridge Winery and vintner dinners hosted throughout the county. Named one of the nation’s top charitable wine auctions by Wine Spectator, proceeds raised at the event will support more nonprofit organizations in Sonoma County than any other local fundraising event. Since its inception, the Sonoma County Wine Auction has raised nearly $35 million to help fund charitable organizations focusing on literacy, education, arts and culture, environment and health and human services.

If you’re interested in making a donation towards this year’s Fund-A-Need or community grants program, visit Or, you can send contributions to: Sonoma County Vintners Foundation, 400 Aviation Boulevard, Suite 500, Santa Rosa, Calif. 95403.

A SMART Way of Caring

Petaluma’s new SMART Train station has been renovated, thanks to Sonoma County Tourism Cares, the Petaluma Visitors Center and the City of Petaluma. More than 20 volunteers, 66 volunteer hours, and 20 cubic yards of mulch were all used to beatify and enhance the train platform that is visited frequently. “When a group of 22 volunteers shows up ready to dig in—literally—and move 20 cubic yards of mulch, you know that good things are going to happen,” said Colleen Rustad, communications manager of the Petaluma Visitors Program in a prepared statement.

The volunteers’ hard work and efforts welcomed a vibrant space to greet Petaluma visitors and locals alike—whether you’re passing through by train or strolling past.

“The City of Petaluma staff stepped up in a big way to help us prepare,” Rustad adds. “And on the day of the event, by showing that we were willing to share responsibility and do some heavy lifting, we have a stronger partnership with the City and a plan for continued improvements.” Check out the newly renovated depot next time you’re in Petaluma.


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