More Than $4.7 Million Raised For Cancer Research At 16Th Annual V Wine Celebration

Proceeds to Benefit Cancer Research and Awareness Programs

NAPA VALLEY, CA, AUGUST 18, 2014 – The V Foundation for Cancer Research’s annual fundraiser, The V Wine Celebration, garnered more than $4.7 million over the weekend of August 7-9 for cancer research. The total included more than $1 million in “fund-a-need” donations in memory of former V Wine Celebration board member David Kane, who lost his 17-year battle with bladder cancer in 2011.KR7_6397

The V Foundation’s three-day signature fundraising event attracted attendees from all over the U.S. to the Napa Valley for a gala weekend of events and activities with a serious underlying purpose — to benefit the foundation’s efforts to support significant cancer research at major institutions and research centers nationwide.

The 16th annual V Wine Celebration kicked off on Thursday, August 7 with several intimate winery dinners. Jean-Charles Boisset and Gina Gallo hosted diners at Raymond Vineyards. The winemaking team at Silver Oak welcomed another group to Silver Oak Cellars, and Launny and Weezie Steffens hosted those dining at Vineyard 7 & 8. Also on Thursday, Suzanne Pride Bryan and Stuart Bryan hosted members of The V Foundation Giving Club at the Humanitarian and Founders Dinner at Pride Mountain Vineyards. All dinner guests were then invited to gather at Raymond Vineyards for an after party hosted by Boisset and Gallo. A new event this year, “Club Red,” featured a wine lounge and late-night dancing.


On Friday, members of the Giving Club attended the Presidents Club & Vintner Grant Honoree Luncheon sponsored by Bentley Motors at the Napa Valley Reserve. The 2014 Vintner Grant honoree Naoko Dalla Valle, founder and proprietor of Dalla Valle Vineyards, was introduced and recognized. Dalla Valle has had several brushes with cancer: she lost her father to lung cancer and her husband to prostate cancer, and in January of this year, her 11-year-old nephew succumbed to Diffused Pontine Intrinsic Glioma (DPIG). Dalla Valle has personally raised $350,000 to fight this horrible pediatric brain cancer. The V Wine Celebration is pleased to honor the vintner community and give back to passionate supporters, like Dalla Valle, through its Vintner’s Grant program. The V Foundation announced that it will make a grant in Dalla Valle’s name to Dr. Sabine Mueller, a pediatric neuro-oncologist at UCSF, to help launch a DPIG clinical trial.

Friday evening’s popular “Let’s Get it Started” party at The Pavilion at The Vintage Estates in Yountville featured offerings from Napa Valley’s renowned restaurateurs and preeminent vintners, as well as a custom barrel auctions where guests had the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind cases of custom-created wine blends from celebrated winemakers. The evening ended with guests dancing to Grooveline.


Saturday morning the foundation presented a free, public cancer research symposium, where prominent physicians and research scientists from around the nation gathered to present the most current advances and discoveries in clinical applications, new diagnostics and alternative treatments for cancer. The standing room-only crowd of several hundred then had the rare opportunity to pose questions to these leading researchers during a lively Q&A session. The V Foundation’s 2011 V Scholar, William Redmond, Ph.D., from the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center, Providence Portland Medical Center, presented on the hot topic of immunotherapy, the treatment that uses certain parts of a person’s immune system to fight diseases such as cancer. The Scientific Advisory Committee also announced that they had reviewed more than 60 cancer research grant applications and selected nine to fund this year.

The weekend’s activities culminated with a gala dinner, live auction, and exclusive performance by The Midtown Men, the four stars from the original cast of Broadway’s Jersey Boys. The dinner took place at Nickel & Nickel Winery, which has served as home of The V Wine Celebration for the last 10 years.

Teri and Ron Kuhn, proprietors of Pillar Rock Vineyard, kicked off the evening with an announcement that they were making a $1 million pledge to The V Foundation. A leukemia survivor herself, Teri Kuhn was the fund-a-need honoree at the 2010 V Wine Celebration. The Kuhns also took home several auction lots.

Also participating in the events this year was Steve Bornstein, V Foundation’s new board chair. Bornstein was instrumental in helping to create the foundation in 1993 when he was president of ESPN. Bornstein lost his brother, mother and father to cancer over a 14-month period 20 years ago. During that time, he read an article in Sports Illustrated about Jim Valvano, his friend and colleague, and Jim’s own battle with cancer. Bornstein suggested to Valvano that they start a charity to fight cancer.

Formerly the president and CEO of the NFL Network, earlier this year Bornstein succeeded Robert Lloyd as board chair. Lloyd served as The V Foundation chair from 1994 to 2014, in memory of his best friend, Jimmy Valvano. Now chair emeritus, Lloyd will remain an active member of the board of directors and continue to play a leadership role in The V Wine Celebration. Lloyd and his wife Kay were honored throughout the weekend’s festivities, including a special presentation by Bornstein and Julie Allegro, V Foundation board member and co-chair of The V Wine Celebration. Together, they presented Lloyd with two jerseys—one with the number 14, his number when he played basketball at Rutgers University, and one with the number 21, the number of years Lloyd served as V Foundation chair. They then officially retired the numbers, an honor a team bestows upon a standout player after he leaves a team or retires from a sport.

Allegro also paid tribute to the late David Reynolds, who served as auctioneer for The V Wine Celebration for the last 13 years. “David was much more than an auctioneer,” she said. “David was part of the V Foundation family. He had a passion and commitment for charities and causes like no one I’ve ever, ever seen.” After showing a brief video tribute, Allegro announce that a V Scholar grant was being made to the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center in honor of Reynolds and his widow, Coleen Buckley. Allegro’s comments ended on a lighter note, sharing one of Reynolds’ favorite quotes,, “If you can’t figure out a way to open a great bottle of champagne every week of your life, then you need to make some changes.”

Buckley accepted the tribute and thanked everyone for their outpouring of support. “There is no group of people more generous to charities nationwide and more unsung than the wine community,” she said. And they proved her right with the first auction lot. Suzanne Pride and Joe Harbison rallied fellow vintners to donate magnums for a surprise lot in honor of Reynolds. At the spur of the moment, vintners in the room agreed to add a second lot. The two lots were purchased by vintners Chuck and Anne McMinn and Launny and Weezie Steffens, generating $130,000 for The V Foundation.

Olympic gold medalist, World Figure Skating Champion and U.S. Olympic Hall of Famer Scott Hamilton served as host of The V Wine Celebration gala dinner. After taking the stage, Hamilton quipped at the number of titles used to introduce him and said, “the one I’m most proud of is cancer survivor.” In 1997, Scott was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which he battled and overcame. Years later, he also faced brain tumor diagnoses—twice—finally recovering in 2010
Hamilton credited his mother for providing him strength, both in his career as a professional skater and when he was diagnosed with cancer—which came 20 years after losing her to cancer. He said she gave him a sense of power, purpose, clarity and courage. He took ownership of his battle and was determined to fight—and win. “We’re all here to give hope, to give money, to give the resources for brilliant minds to find a cure for this insidious disease,” Hamilton said. “My heart is so full looking out at all of you who are holding hands, linking arms and looking forward to a cure for cancer in our lifetime.”

Auctioneers Ursula Hermacinski and Fritz Hatton kept the bidding lively through all 32 lots, including travel experiences in Tuscany and Umbria, Barbados, Aspen, Punta de Mita, New York, Nashville, Costa Rica, Finland and Hong Kong. Befitting the foundation’s origins, sports enthusiasts found a variety of enticing lots, among them the opportunity to attend the Rose Bowl, the Masters in Augusta, the U.S. Open, Wimbledon, the ESPYs, the Jimmy V Classic, Super Bowl XLIX and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Bob Lloyd introduced the fund-a-need, sharing that it was very personal as both he and his wife Kay had lost their fathers to bladder cancer. The fund-a-need raised more than $1 million in support of bladder cancer research, in memory of Dave Kane. Kane, an active V Wine Celebration board member for many years, Every year in the U.S. there are approximately 75,000 new diagnoses of bladder cancer and about 15,000 people die from their disease, making bladder cancer the sixth most common cancer.

Newcomers to The V Wine Celebration, Matt and Amy Follet, were top bidders of the evening, taking home Lot #9, Diamonds are Forever, organized by Steve and Judy Padis. The lot included a 10-carat canary yellow rough Forevermark diamond and trips to New York and London, culminating with a party at Padis Vineyards in Napa Valley. Linda and Mike Markkula are headed to New York and also Italy. Michael and Carole Marks and Cindy and Evan Goldberg are each heading to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Robert Schmidt is going to enjoy world-class racing (and, of course, food and wine) with Jeff Gordon Cellars, Alpha Omega Winery, Silver Oak Cellars and Staglin Family Vineyard. At the dinner, Jeff Gordon addressed the audience via video and spoke about meeting hundreds of kids battling cancer through the work of his foundation, which supports pediatric cancer research. Next year’s fund-a-need will benefit pediatric cancer research.

In its 21 years, The V Foundation has awarded more than $115 million in cancer research grants nationwide. The V Foundation distributes research grants for all types of cancer to the most promising scientists nationwide through a competitive process vetted by its Scientific Advisory Committee. Over the last 15 years, The V Wine Celebration has raised more than $53 million with this annual event. Funds have helped provide 539 cancer research grants nationwide, including grants in the San Francisco Bay Area to the Martin O’Neil Cancer Center at St. Helena Hospital, Napa’s Queen of the Valley Medical Center, Stanford University School of Medicine and UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“The V Foundation Wine Celebration is an amazing event that brings together the best of Napa, the best of donors and the best of cancer research,” said Susan Braun, CEO of The V Foundation. “We are so grateful to the vintners, sponsors, donors and scientists who made this a successful weekend. Together, we are changing the course of cancer and saving lives.”

For more information about this year’s event, call 707-963-0611 or visit The 17th anniversary V Foundation Wine Celebration will be held August 6-9, 2015.

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, the foundation has funded more than $115 million in cancer research grants nationwide. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from events support all the work of The V Foundation. Due to generous donors, the foundation has an endowment that covers administrative expenses. The foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive awards process vetted by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit

The V Wine Celebration is a world-class wine event and auction benefiting The V Foundation for Cancer Research. Set in Napa Valley, the heart of California Wine Country, this annual special event brings together 500 prominent members of the sports broadcasting, entertainment, media, lifestyle, technology, investment, medical and winemaking worlds to raise money to fund vital research in the fight against all types of cancer. The V Wine Celebration has helped fund 539 research programs at medical and research facilities across the country. Dedicated to giving back to the generous Napa Valley and surrounding communities that have so enthusiastically embraced it, the foundation has included many Bay Area institutions among its grantees, including St. Helena Hospital, Napa’s Queen of the Valley Medical Center, Stanford University and UC San Francisco. Co-founded by Julie Allegro and Robert Lloyd, The V Wine Celebration has grown to be to one of the top-rated charitable wine auctions in the country.
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CONTACT: Holly Krassner Dawson