Make A Wish - Uncork A Wish Wine Tasting and Auction Raises $500,000

Make-A-Wish gets athletes and celebrity guests to help spur on high bidders

Many Tables full of great items to auction

 LOS ANGELES (March 20, 2005) -   The 12th annual Wine Tasting and Auction, which was held on Saturday, March 19, 2005, once again hit the half-million dollar mark for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles.   Driven by a live auction that raised over $180,000 , the event featured guest appearances by University of Southern California quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart; Olympic gold medalist Mitch Gaylord; top NHL scorer Luc Robitaille; actor Chris Klein; The Bachelor contestant Andrew Firestone; the voice of Bart Simpson, Nancy Cartwright; and comedian Rick Overton.

Many adult beverage vendors

The 1,500 guests entering the Santa Monica Air Center's Barker Hangar were immediately ensconced in a space that featured gold and burgundy fabric hanging overhead and chenille covered tables displaying an array of incredible wines from 109 wineries and delicious food from over 25 of the best restaurants in Los Angeles. Fountains provided by The Chocolate Guy spouted white, pink, milk, and dark chocolate fondue for guests to enjoy and were the hit of the evening. Alongside the restaurant and winery tables were rows of exceptional silent auction items including guitars signed by rockers Sheryl Crow, Green Day and Slash, a Napa Valley getaway, as well as elegant pieces such as a Tiffany diamond necklace. 

A big screen kept eveyone informed

Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles President and CEO Kelli Seely summed up the evening by saying, "The scope of Uncork A Wish really demonstrates the wide ranging support that exists across Los Angeles for our mission.   The ongoing success of this event is due to the generosity of our volunteers, the wineries and restaurants who participate, and the event sponsors and donors.  Their combined efforts help us raise the funds necessary to continue our work of making wishes come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions."

Bread and Cheese

In a corner of the hangar, top NFL draft pick Shaun Cody posed for pictures next to a 2005 Pontiac GTO, which he donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation after having it customized for him during the upcoming reality series Super Agent on Spike TV. 


And more Deserts

The car added to an impressive array of one-of-a-kind live auction items that included lunch with "Westwood Wizard" John Wooden, a skating lesson from Luc Robitaille, a tour of Firestone Winery with Andrew Firestone himself, a chance to watch a table reading of The Simpsons, a cooking demonstration by Chef Rocco DiSpirito of the reality program The Restaurant, a ride in the Goodyear blimp, a trip to New York to see the finale of The Apprentice-Season 3, and a USC jersey personally autographed by Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart.

Great Ice Cream and Toppings

Five, Count Them, Five Flavors of Chocolate Fountains

Actor Chris Klein, who joined master of ceremonies Bob Goen to encourage the crowd to directly fund the cost of wishes during the "Fund-A-Wish" section, was so inspired by the event that he spontaneously offered a live auction item featuring a lunch with himself for the winning bidder; the lunch was quickly snapped up for almost $2000.

The Ribs had the longest line

Filet Sandwiches

Also on hand, celebrities such as Judy Reyes (Scrubs), Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Mark Valley (Boston Legal), Tony Rock (All of Us), Beverly Mitchell (7th Heaven), Christopher Rich (Reba), Roma Maffia (Nip/Tuck), John O'Hurley (Seinfeld), actor Jay Harrington, actor Matt Gallant, Elizabeth Jarosz and Kristen Kirchner (The Apprentice), Chris Masterson (Malcolm in the Middle), Catherine Bach (Dukes of Hazzard), Matt Gallant (Animal Planet), William Sanderson (Deadwood), Constance Marie (The George Lopez Show), Currie Graham (NYPD Blue), Arianne Zucker, Kyle Lowder, and Dan Wells (Days of Our Lives) all took turns assuming the role of bartender for guests at the Carving Ice martini bar.  In keeping with the wine theme of the evening, this year the bar was stocked with CÃroc Snap Frost Vodka, which is distilled using French grapes.

Kobi Burgers

Pinks Hot Dogs, always a hit


At the back of the hangar, the art gallery contained approximately 100 pieces of artwork, including a piece entitled "The Rose" by former wish recipient JJ Stevens. JJ went onstage during the live auction to recount the impact of receiving his own art exhibit in September 2000 after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor.  Today, he is a 20-year-old design student at Otis School of Design.

Strawberries, Chocolate, Cookies Oh My!

A sampling of the evening's fare included: seared albacore with crispy onions & ponzu by Sushi Roku; oysters on the half shell by Water Grille Restaurant; duck confit sandwiches by La Boheme; and chilli roasted dungeness crab with scallions & lemon grass by Boa Steakhouse. Wineries included Blackstone, Bonny Doon, Clos Du Val, Francis Coppola, Kendall Jackson and Silver Oak, among many others.

There were lots of paintings for auction

Event sponsors included Bread & Butter Catering, Inc., The Wine House, Los Angeles Magazine, Charter Communications, City Art, Cobblestone, Wells Fargo, TMC Enterprises, NBC-Universal, K-Mozart, GES Exposition and Santa Monica Daily Press.

Established in 1983, the Greater Los Angeles chapter has granted over 5,200 wishes for children throughout Los Angeles County battling life-threatening medical conditions.  Working out of an office in West Los Angeles, the chapter grants an average of 400 wishes per year.  For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, including how you can help donate airline miles, call 310-788-9474 or go to

 Photos by Lawrence Davis


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