Pennsylvania’s premier charitable wine event, Trés Bonne Annèe honored Castello Banfi as its Winery of the Year 2003 and raised a record amount of contributions to benefit Harrisburg’s Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts.
Family proprietor Cristina Mariani-May hosted the event’s main weekend October 9-11, initiating the festivities with a component tasting of Castello Banfi’s Montalcino Super Tuscans, Cum Laude, SummuS and ExcelsuS, attended by 230 people. The following night at a more intimate winemaker dinner for 175 top patrons of the event, she presented the estate’s San Angelo Pinot Grigio, SummuS, Castello Banfi and Poggio alle Mura Brunellos, and FloruS Moscadello di Montalcino.
The grand finale for this year’s Trés Bonne Annèe season was the black-tie Gala Auction and Dinner on Saturday, October 11, beginning with live and silent auctions at the Whitaker Center and concluding at Harrisburg’s premier hotel, the Hilton Harrisburg & Towers. Over 500 guests bid on trips to exotic and romantic destinations around the globe, premier wines and grand-format bottlings of the world’s greatest wines. The auction raised over $250,000 and included a VIP visit to the Castello Banfi Vineyard Estate that sold for $25,000 and $7,500 for a Castello Banfi wine dinner in the high bidder’s home hosted by Castello Banfi wine guru Filippo di Belardino and prepared by the chefs of the Hilton Harrisburg & Towers. Castello Banfi proprietor James Mariani earlier hosted a patron’s party and pre-auction at a private residence in Harrisburg on September 7, where another VIP visit to Castello Banfi sold for $22,000. Castello Banfi wines were also featured among 75 wines by the glass offered at the “Harvest Festival” walk-around tasting that officially kicked off the Trés Bonne Annèe season on September 14.
Trés Bonne Annèe is patterned after Nashville’s “l’Ete du Vin” – one of the largest wine auctions in the country – and in the three years since its inception, Trés Bonne Annèe has raised more than $600,000 for the Whitaker Center.