Fashionistas and Wine Lovers converged at the Westin tonight for the 4th Annual Bags and Bottles to raise funds for Gilda’s Club of Seattle, a support center for people living with cancer and their families.

Gilda Radner

FACT: Gilda’s Club Worldwide and the local Clubhouse raise approximately 75% of their operating funds from individuals who believe in our mission. Only 25% comes from corporations and foundations.


Hand bags ranged from “nearly-new”, to new basic to new designer to one-of a kind to celebrity bags. There was a hand bag for every budget and style. Participants could purchase handbags from one of the event’s sponsors:

Silent Auction Bags and Bottles

Winning bidder

The silent auction allowed participants to bid on hundreds of handbags.  Handbags in the silent auction ranged from basic to flirty to funky to elegant.  Some handbags were obtained at bargain prices, I overheard women ecstatic about the deals they scored for $10. Other bags inspired women to bid aggressively to ensure that they would win the prize. This woman wanted this feather bag that she immediately bid $100 to ensure that she would win.

Rebecca Wells bag

During the live celebrity auction, the bidding was often spirited. Firefighters from the WSCFF Calendar helped display the bags in creative ways from headstands and swaggers. Some of the bags also came with other items from the celebrities like autographed pictures and books. Dale Chihuly designed a handbag AND donated a beautiful glass bowl that lead to a fierce bidding war.

Winning Bidder

After the handbag auctions, the firefighters from the WSCFF calendar auctioned the “shirts off their backs”.  The winning bidders got to remove the shirts off the firemen themselves and one lucky bidder won a “fireman carry” as well!


Thirty two wineries, most of them Washington wineries, donated their wines to make this fundraiser for Gilda’s Club a success. There were wines to match almost any palate. Wines ranged from light and white to bold reds to sweet dessert wines. Many of my favorite Washington wineries were pouring at this event, but I directed most of my attention to wineries and wines that I wasn’t as familiar with. Here are some of the wines that I thought were interesting and I look forward to trying again.

Lazy River Vineyard – This Oregon winery was pouring several Pinot Noirs. The 2006 Pinot Noir was exceptional, exhibiting beautiful balance and body.

Learning about Melon de Bourgogne

Perennial VintnersMelon de Bourgogne. There is only 1/2 acre of this grape grown in Washington state and it is grown by Mike Lempriere.   It is the grape used to make Muscadet, the classic wine to pair with oysters.  Look for this wine at the Perennial Vintners winery or at your favorite seafood restaurant! The Ichigo Strawberry Dessert Wine is made in a port style so it is 19% ABV but it is not overly sweet. The fruit not the sugar shines in this dessert wine.

Plaza Winery – Ed loved their Pinot Gris at the Grape Cup but I didn’t get a chance to try it. Plaza Winery didn’t have a white tonight but they will be releasing a Pinot Gris – Pinot Blanc blend at Taste Washington. I enjoyed their 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine, like many 2007 reds, is still pretty tight but it shows potential. It has  big body and structure but could use a little bit more time to open up and smooth out the edges.

Robert Ramsay Cellars

Robert Ramsay Cellars2006 Syrah had excellent balance between fruit, wood and acid. The mouth feel was luxurious and the silky smooth finish went on into next week.  They were also pouring a 2007 Syrah that still had some sharp contrasts in the palate and the 2006 matched my personal preference. In talking with the winemaker, he said some people preferred the 2007 and others the 2006. I could see that and we talked how I describe some wines are more like water colors with softer edges and gradations that can be hard to decipher and other wines are like acrylics with bold color, contrast and texture. The 2007 Syrah is like a bold acrylic painting and the 2006 Syrah is more like a dreamy watercolor.

Sojen Cellars – I have been trying to get out to Sojen Cellars ever since their opening and something always comes up. I was delighted to try their 2006 Syrah. Fruit forward but not jammy, this Syrah had some velvety tannins. Definitely a wine that I want to try again!

Sipping and Shopping at Bags and Bottles

These are just a few of the wines that I tried during the event. I hope that others will chime in on the comments and share some of their wine favorites!

We took a lot of photos during Bags and Bottles. Check out the album on our Facebook page to see more of the event.

David LeClaire

Sommelier David LeClaire, of Wine Events & Promotions and Seattle Uncorked, produced this fundraiser that was massive in terms of scope and appeal.  A big shout out to David’s hard work in bringing wine lovers together with wine makers, to support worthy non-profits like Gilda’s Club.