Salve Wine Tasting & Auction

Attended by over 250 friends of Salve Regina University alumnae, wine lovers and students, (more than in 2007), the third Wine Tasting & Auction Benefit Fundraiser, held at the glorious Ochre Court (see Architectural History) on Newport’s Cliff Walk, was a spring portent of Newport parties to come.  Exuberant decorations, marvelous hors d’oeuvres, free-spirited guests that savored the auction items and bid with abandon on the hundreds of silent auction items, and a baker’s dozen live auction lots made the party – and it was a party – a wild success.

A benefit for the Endowed Scholarship in Visual Art, the Wine Tasting raised over $10,000 more than its 2007 amount.  Does this signal an end to the recession-fears that have been holding back funds and donations to non-profit organizations?  NewportSeen hopes so.

Wine tasting sponsors included Chateau Ste. Michelle, Kendall-Jackson, Moet Hennesy USA, Newport Vieyards, J. Lohr Vineyards, and 10 other premier vineyards.

A highlight of the decoration of the exquisite rooms of the former Ogden Goelet  mansion (looking up at the ceilings is de rigeur) was color-coded balloons, as three rooms of silent auction items closed at staggered hours and elicited hundreds of bids.  Partygoers, who included Salve Regina President Sister Therese Antone,  Newport wine expert Len Panaggio, who serves on the committee, designers Carol Swift and Sharon Cameron Lawn, artist Peter Diepenbrock and jewelry designer Didi Suydam. Boutique owner Laura Jean and antiques dealer Jay Donella attended with Ken Boyer and Shannon Laiho.  University Director of Development Michael Semenza and Brian Kish welcomed guests, while representatives of the wineries poured their best and most interesting vintages and varieties. Committee members Mary Lou Riker and Cheryl Mrozowski encouraged bidders on the silent auction items

The Segway, ridden with expertise by a student, led the bidding in the live auction, conducted by Kathy Kingston, and was hammered down at $2700, a bargain over a $6000 list price.  A weekend in Paris brought spirited bidding, a private party for 24 in Ochre Court sold twice, at over twice its estimated value, and a late entry, a vacation in Tuscany sold well.  Among the Silent auction items were a beautiful oil painting by Richard Grosvenor , and a Picasso-esque serigraph of a painting by the late actor and artist Anthony Quinn.  Other items were a photograph by Salve Regina professor Barbara Shamblin, two cases of fine wine, and a box suite at a Boston Red Sox game, which was introduced by Mr. Kish and Sister Therese Antone by a spirited vocal rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”

Sister Therese Antone



Silent Auction table
in the blue room

Shannon Laiho Jay Donella,
Ken Boyer, Laura Jean

Michael Semenza, Robin Carreiro

Richard Grosvenor oil painting


Kelley Dow Coen, Kathy Kingston

George and Allen Antone


From the Vineyards

Contemplating the silent auction


Alison and Michael Anderson

Laz Pujol,Sharon Cameron Lawn


Silent auction and wine tasting

Len Panaggio, Daniel O’Connor


Photo of Christo’s “Gates”

Auctioning fine wine


Carol Swift, Mr. Kurdt, Stacie Mills

The Great Hall, Ochre Court


Dan Ludwig’s “Weeping Beech”

Suzanne and Stephen Ramponi


Didi Suydam.Peter Diepenbrock with friend

Mary Lou Riker and Cheryl Mrozowski


Tuscany vacation at auction

Ceiling detail, Ochre Court












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