The event was held at Charles Krug Winery's historic Carriage House in St. Helena. Despite the heat (temperatures topped 100 degrees!), guests were in festive and generous spirits, and bid with wild abandon at both the silent and live auctions, all the while enjoying food and wine from some of Napa Valley's acclaimed wineries and restaurants.
GDB alumna Vickie Kennedy, who has chaired the Wine Gala since its inception with her guides Freida and Angela by her side, was honored during the program for her seven years of leadership. This was Vickie's final year at the helm of the event, and received a standing ovation from the crowd as she was presented with a commemorative crystal statue, pictured above. (Vickie's two-time co-chair, Paula Kornell of Oakville Ranch Vineyards and the president of the Napa Valley Vintners Association takes over next year with a new co-chair, Board Member Joan Boyd).
Special guests of honor were Captain and Mrs. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who have been GDB volunteers for many years, both as puppy raisers and breeding stock custodians. Unbeknownst to them, they were presented with a new breeder dog that night - a yellow Lab named Fame (their last breeder dog, Twinkle, recently passed away). They were ecstatic, stunned and grateful at the surprise... see for yourself in this video:
In addition, guests were treated to a wonderful keynote address by GDB alumna Maile George, who was introduced by her father, longtime GDB campus volunteer, Fred George. We thought you'd like to see their presentation as well, so we've posted it to our YouTube Channel.
All in all, it was a successful and celebratory event. We have so many people to thank for helping to make the event such a phenomenal success - sponsors, donors, guests and volunteers - that it would be impossible to list them all here. But just know that it takes a community to put on what has become a premiere event in Napa Valley, and the generosity of many to raise the impressive funds to care for our dogs. We're grateful to you all.