Lisa Hogle and Maura Mazzoni, right, cheer guests entering the main tent at the Sonoma County Wine Auction held at La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard in Windsor on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.  (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Saturday’s spiraling bids raised a record-breaking $5.2 million in a single afternoon. To capture the color – the fashion, the humor, the bidding mentality – peruse this list of “bests,” from best television personality, to best setting, to best treats. For those who went to the auction and for the curious who didn’t, here are some snapshots.

Best television personality: Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank fame flew in for an afternoon of bidding from Los Angeles where he was filming episodes with his fellow entrepreneurs. O’Leary offered $34,000 for a lot, but was out-bid for a 25-bottle collection of wines chosen by members of the Sonoma County Vintners. “I really liked the large-format bottles,” he said. “I have five cellars, two commercial cellars and three in my homes. I thought my bid was pretty good.” O’Leary, a Boston resident, comes to Sonoma County every few months because he partners with Vintage Wine Estates on his namesake brand.

Pamela Hamel, left, and George Hamel Jr. of Hamel Family Wines celebrate after their winning bid on the Kentucky Derby live auction item at the Sonoma County Wine Auction. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

Best treat: Black Mission Fig Pizza. It was delectable. That said, the entire afternoon roll out was impressive, not to mention caloric. Among the highlights — Meatloaf Sliders, Calamari and Carrot Lox Crostini.

Best Promoter: Marcy Smothers. The writer and broadcaster, coined herself a “perpetual professional volunteer” who is passionate about the brand of Sonoma County and wants to elevate it. “I agree with Luther Burbank that we are the chosen place on earth,” she said. “And Sonoma County has the best wines.”

Best new setting: The auction was at the picturesque La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard in Richard’s Grove, the beloved former Windsor property of the late Saralee Kunde and her husband Richard. The change of venue marked a pivotal year for the organizers, the Sonoma County Vintners and the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance. This year, for the first time in a decade the auction and the annual Taste of Sonoma were held on separate weekends at new locations.

Best Quote: Nine-year old Azule, who goes to school in the Roseland District, said learning to read well “makes me feel so happy about myself.” Azule was among two dozen students at the auction to make a sentimental pitch to bidders for the Fund-the-Future lot, which focuses on children’s literacy. Azule and her tribe were successful; the lot raised $1.8 million.

To see the full story about this year’s Sonoma County Wine Auction, click here.

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