The 2000 edition of the Auction of Northwest Wines broke all records for the 13-year-old charity event Saturday night when bidders raised $1.6 million for the Seattle Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center. One item alone brought in $785,000 in pledges.

"Once again, lovers of fine wines opened their pocketbooks and raised a huge amount of money to help children in the Seattle area, especially those who cannot afford treatment," said Ted Baseler, Chief Operating Officer of Stimson Lane Vineyards & Estates, owner of Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, where the auction is held each year.

Allen Shoup, who is retiring as President and CEO of Stimson Lane, said he was gratified by the record amount of money raised in a charity auction he started in 1988 with the help of other winemakers and state businessmen. In the 13 years of its existence, the Auction of Northwest Wines has raised nearly $7 million for Children's Hospital. It is now the third largest charity wine auction in the United States.

"Some of the most generous people in our state are the owners of our more than 100 wineries," said Shoup. "I am always pleased to see them step up and do something each year for Children's Hospital."

The previous record for this auction was last year's $1.2 million. It was clear early on Saturday night that lively bidding would top that figure.

Auction items of premium wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, DeLille Cellars, Hogue Cellars, Apex, Leonetti, Columbia, Woodward Canyon, Caterina and many other top wineries in Washington State brought record prices at this year's auction.

A Woodward Canyon double salamanazar of wine from the 1998 vintage brought $11,000. A salamanazar is a special 9-liter bottle, the equivalent of a case (12 bottles) of 750-ml bottles.

A tour of Tuscany for two persons to celebrate Col Solare, the red wine made by Chateau Ste. Michelle and the Antinoi family, went for $35,000.

A Quilceda Creek collection of 26 rare bottles, coupled with a meal at the Salish Lodge, brought $17,000.

And a tour for two of the vineyards on Australia's southern coast with legendary winemaker Brian Croser brought a bid of $21,000. Croser's Petaluma Winery has begun making wine with Chateau Ste. Michelle. Croser was honorary chairman of this year's Auction of Northwest Wines.

Co-chairing the event this year were Steve Fleischmann, chairman and CEO of Fleischmann Officer Interiors and chairman of Photozone. com, and John Meisenbach, president of Meisenbach Capital Management.

The executive director of the auction was Cynthia Daste, and the 2000 Auction Vintner Chairman was Rick Small of Woodward Canyon Winery.

The biggest event of the auction night was the "Raise Your Paddle for Children's Hospital" segment, in which auctioneers Dick and Sharon Friel challenged the audience to make bids that would be matched by Steve Fleischmann and his wife, Patty, and by Rick and Kandy Holley, John and Ginny Meisenbach and the Schultz Family Foundation. Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks Coffee, is a major supporter of the wine auction and attended the event Saturday night.

The "Raise Your Paddles" item brought in a whopping $785,000 after saxophonist Kenny G enchanted the more than 700 in attendance with two performances and then urged them to break last year's record for this item.

Before the Grand Live Auction, a silent auction brought in $40,000 and a warmup "Premier Live Auction" hauled in $50,000, both contributing to the $1.6 million raised for the evening. Most of the items were special wines from Washington State, dinners at some of Seattle's finest restaurants and trips.

The evening meal was prepared by a number of top chefs from Seattle, including Jan. I. Birnbaum and Kevin Davis of Sazerac; Kaspar Donier of Kaspar's; Tom Douglas of the Dahlia Lounge, Etta's and the Palace Kitchen; Lisa Dupar of Lisa's Catering; Christine Keff of Fandango; Charles Ramseyer of Ray's Boathouse; Kerry Sear of Cascadia; and John Sarich, culinary director for Chateau Ste. Michelle.

The dinner menu included chipolte shrimp with corn cake; dungeness crab gnocchi; smoked black Angus tenderloin; and Oregon blue cheese and grape terrine, all matched with top vintages of Washington State wines.

Corporate underwriters for the 13th annual Auction of Northwest Wines were Stimson Lane; American Seafoods; Costco Wholesale; Fleischmann Officer Interiors; Goldman Sachs; Meisenbach Capital Management; Starbucks Coffee; Bank of America; Maveron; Jim and Jan Sinegal; and Baugh Construction.