High-end $2,500 tickets to the exclusive Auction Napa Valley have long been sold out. So have tickets at the $1,500 and $1,000 levels. There’s a waiting list to attend any of the events that begin Thursday, May 30, and continue through Sunday, June 2.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t participate in the four-day fundraising event. At noon on Sunday, bidding for the 173 lots that make up the E-Auction begins. The first lot is possibly the most important. It is a Fund-A-Need lot to help all the children throughout Napa County. “Marvels to Miracles” will address the needs of children in three vital ways: Taking care of children’s mental and physical needs; supporting parents so they can provide nurturing lives at home; and helping children achieve a good education.

The theme of Auction Napa Valley, which is presented by the 440 members of the Napa Valley Vintners, is always the “Great American Wine Classic.” The sub-theme chosen by the host family, Garen, Shari, Shannon and Brandon Staglin, is “Marvels to Miracles.”

It’s well known that the Staglin family has focused on raising money for research in mental health issues. Shannon Staglin, who spoke to the editorial board last week, explained the “Marvels to Miracles” theme. “Marvels are the parties, experiences and auction lots the guests get to experience,” she said. “Miracles are the result of money raised at the auction that changes lives in the community.”

Make no mistake about it. Auction Napa Valley is a grand party, mostly for well-heeled bidders. In the last few years, though, the E-Auction has allowed the rest of us to bid on lots that feature Napa Valley wines and experiences.

For the first time, we all can — and should — raise our paddles for the “Marvels to Miracles” Fund-A-Need lot as it is both part of the E-Auction and is the last live auction lot on Saturday afternoon. Whether you can pledge $5, $20, $100 or $1,000, your contribution is respectfully requested and will be gratefully received. To pledge what you can, visit AuctionNapaValley.org after noon on Sunday and click on the E-Auction link. Register as a bidder, select lot 301, make a pledge and then view the rest of the 172 E-Auction lots. There just might be something you can’t live without.

On Friday, Staglin spoke about the Fund-A-Need lot. “I received a phone call from a friend, Ted Ward, a psychology teacher at Vintage High. He said their funds are getting cut and the school may not be able to pay their school counselors. There are a lot of kids, both at Vintage and throughout Napa County, who need help.”

The “Marvels to Miracles” lot will raise money to establish an early detection program for kids at risk throughout all the Napa County primary, elementary, middle and high schools. It will train teachers, counselors, nurses and even emergency responders to detect early onset of mental illness in children. UC Davis will be a partner in the program and will examine a child’s genetic background to identify risks. Those who need the help will get it.

The program, which is patterned after one used in Los Angeles County and throughout the nation, is “incredibly successful,” Staglin said. Becky Peterson, Member and Community Relations Director for the Napa Valley Vintners, said a local nonprofit agency has already indicated it can implement the program in the schools. She added, “It’s a small number of kids but the difference it will make for those kids to get treatment will make a huge difference in their lives.”

After this year’s auction, it will take a year for the program to get funded and training to begin, Peterson estimates.

That’s the other thing about Auction Napa Valley. In its 30-year history, the Napa Valley Vintners has donated $110 million to the hundreds of local nonprofit agencies that provide basic services to those in need throughout this idyllic valley. Can you imagine another fundraising effort that’s been so successful?

By the numbers, the Auction Napa Valley is huge. Two thousand people will attend Friday’s Napa Valley Barrel Auction, to be held this year at Raymond Vineyards, and 900 people will attend the formal auction on Saturday afternoon at Meadowood Napa Valley Resort. Those bidders will spend millions of dollars to buy Napa Valley wines and experiences they can get nowhere else. Those experiences will include trips around the world: the Staglins’ lot includes a trip to Scotland to play golf there and then an equally luxurious trip to the Napa Valley to play golf here — and eat lunches, dinners and drink fantastic Staglin cabernets.

The four-day extravaganza includes dozens of vintner-hosted parties on Thursday and Friday nights throughout the Napa Valley. We want our guests to feel welcome, to come spend their money and leave it here to provide for our neediest residents, through the valley’s hundreds of nonprofits.

The event ends with a Sunday morning “thank you” brunch, also held at Meadowood. To the bidders, we say thank you for coming to the Napa Valley, for enjoying our hospitality and wines. We hope to see you back next year.


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