Telluride Wine Festival Focuses on Charity Wine Auctions Benefit

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On a continuing mission to help worthy causes, organizers of the 25th annual Telluride Wine Festival, June 22-25, are raising the bar in this year’s charity wine auction. This year, the longest-running festival of its kind in the Rocky Mountains welcomes the return of one of the nation’s preeminent celebrity charity wine auctioneers, Tom DiNardo of DiNardo & Lord Auctioneers, to work wine collectors into a record-setting frenzy, with proceeds going to local charities.

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I’ve been doing benefit auctions since the beginning

On a continuing mission to help worthy causes, organizers of the 25th annual Telluride Wine Festival, June 22-25, are raising the bar in this year’s charity wine auction.

This year, the longest-running festival of its kind in the Rocky Mountains is counting on one of the nation’s preeminent celebrity charity wine auctioneers, Tom DiNardo of DiNardo & Lord Auctioneers, to work wine collectors into a record-setting frenzy, with proceeds going to local charities.

“It’s a tremendous honor and privilege to be involved with Colorado’s most scenic and revered wine and culinary event,” says DiNardo, who boasts of five world records for proceeds generated at charity wine auctions. “I look forward to working amid the sheer beauty of Telluride and selling rare wines and lifestyle experiences to some of the world’s top bidders — people who truly appreciate the finer things in life.”

The Telluride Wine Festival, known for its refined educational opportunities, is a unique experience. Held in the historic town of Telluride, high in the San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado amid stunning views of snowcapped peaks soaring to more than 14,000 feet above sea level, the four-day event features more than six dozen wineries from around the world pouring their finest at venues throughout town, as well as in Mountain Village, just a gondola ride away.

The list of wines, culinary items and travel packages to be auctioned during this year’s Telluride Wine Festival and benefit auctions includes:

  • The 2004 Estate Cuvee Staircase — a bottle, a magnum and a double-magnum of Stephan Asseo’s signature Syrah /Cabernet Sauvignon “Paso blend” — from L’Aventure Winery.
  • A 6 -liter bottle of 2002 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, from Raymond Vineyards, signed by the winemaker.
  • A 5-liter bottle of Baron de Ley Reserva 2000 from Frederick Wildman and Sons.
  • A 3-liter bottle of 2002 Kenwood Vineyards 'Jack London Vineyard' Cabernet Sauvignon, donated by Heck Estates.
  • Two nights’ stay at Long Meadow Ranch, in the Mayacamas Mountains of California, high above the Napa Valley.

Bidding begins on Thursday evening, June 22, with a live benefit auction during the Opening Night Celebration for Winemakers and Patrons; a silent auction follows on Friday afternoon, June 23, at the festival’s Grand Tasting.

Then comes the grand finale, Saturday evening, June 24, during the Patron’s Dinner Gala and Annual Benefit Auction — the event’s signature benefit auction with dozens of items, including the festival’s official artwork this year, a painting created by Sally Strand, a native Coloradoan.

Based in Washington, DiNardo is a true entrepreneur and veteran benefit auctioneer. He founded DiNardo & Lord Auctioneers in 1993, and since then he’s been recognized as one of the pioneers of the charity wine auctions niche — a phenomenon he calls “the hottest thing going in the benefit auction business.” His work for benefit auctions, on average, has resulted in average gross revenue increases of at least 50 percent, he says.

DiNardo says he’s hotter than ever this year:

  • In January, DiNardo set a new record at the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers’ annual Winemaker’s Dinner in San Francisco.
  • In February, at the 2006 Culinary, Wine & Ski Classic in Park City, Utah, where organizers were hoping to earn as much as $35,000, DiNardo drummed up more than $140,000.
  • In April, DiNardo helped another charitable event in Colorado, the Taste of Vail wine and culinary festival, raise its gross auctions proceeds more than 62 percent over last year and nearly 50 percent more than that festival’s previous high, set in 2004.
  • And in May, DiNardo helped raise more than $1.4 million for cystic fibrosis research and treatment during the 17th annual California Winemasters event, held at Hollywood's Paramount Studios.

“I’ve been doing benefit auctions since the beginning,” says DiNardo, who helped the Telluride Wine Festival generate $30,000 in net profit through the wine auction in 2004. DiNardo & Lord Auctioneers is ranked among the top four benefit auction firms in the country. “I’ve firmly established myself as an expert in charity wine auctions through selling some of the rarest vintages and most impressive-tasting wines from around the world. This year,” DiNardo says, “we’re going to take the Telluride Wine Festival to a whole new level.”

Before entering into his chosen craft of auctioneering, DiNardo worked in the wine industry of California and Washington, gaining tremendous expertise in wine and developing what he calls a heartfelt “reverence for the grape.” He’s a sommelier candidate with the International Sommeliers Guild; a freelance writer for Wine Adventure and Wine Enthusiast magazines; a regular contributor to WineSquire.com, AuctionZip.com, and GlobalAuctionGuide.com; a featured contract auctioneer for Chicago-based ERI wine auction gallery; and a certified appraiser.

The Telluride Wine Festival, a non-profit 501 (c) 4 corporation, is funded, in part, by a grant from Town of Telluride Commission on Arts and Special Events and the Town of Mountain Village. Proceeds from the festival go to the Telluride Medical Capitol Fund and other local charities. For more information or to purchase tickets to the 25th annual Telluride Wine Festival, visit http://www.telluridewinefestival.com or call (970) 728-3178.

For more information on DiNardo & Lord Auctioneers, visit http://www.DiNardoandLordAuctioneers.com, or call (888) 503-0828.

Media contact:

Stephen Lloyd Wood, media liaison

(970) 949-9774

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