The Auction of Northwest Wines raised a record-breaking $1.6 million to become the second largest charity wine auction in the U.S. at the gala event held August 26 at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, Wash. Proceeds benefit Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle. The funds raised go to the hospital's uncompensated care fund, which provides medical care for children of the Pacific Northwest whose families cannot afford treatment. Renowned Australian winemaker Brian Croser served as Honorary Chairman for the event and Woodward Canyon owner and winemaker Rick Small was recognized as the local Vintner Chairman. The top lot for the evening was a "Raise Your Paddle" item which raised an incredible $785,000 after Kenny G -- recording artist, surprised the audience of 700 with two performances followed by an appeal to the audience to break last year's record for this item. Unique lots that caught the attention of generous bidders included a helicopter tour of Washington's vineyards donated by The Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers, which raised $10,000, a set of hand-painted dishes by Children's Hospital patients went for $20,000. A cruise for two on a Carnival Cruise Lines "Fun Ship" with a special "wine valise" collection of DeLille Cellars wines brought $17,000. The decor, designed by Robinson Designs & Events, featured a theme that celebrated Washington wines; it included oversized, beautiful hand-painted wine labels representing over 50 Washington wineries. The stage was adorned with an intricate filigree backdrop of grapes and vines, which changed colors as the night progressed. The 2001 Auction of Northwest Wines will be held on August 25, 2001 at Chateau Ste. Michelle. For more information on tickets for next year's event call Cynthia Daste at 206/667-9463 ext. 204.