The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 15, 2014

Wine auction will uncork bounty of bouquets

Grape expectations

JOHNSTOWN — Fine wine and a good time will benefit two nonprofits.

The sixth annual wine auction sponsored by United Way of the Laurel Highlands and Community Foundation for the Alleghenies will begin at 6:30 p.m. April 4 at Harrigan’s Cafe & Wine Deck at the Holiday Inn Johnstown-Downtown, 250 Market St.

“The wine auction has grown slightly over the years, averaging around 100 in attendance, but this year should be a banner year,” said Bill McKinney, United Way of the Laurel Highlands president. “We now have more than 125, and we’re excited.”

McKinney added that the Holiday Inn venue has a capacity of 140, and the auction may have to be moved to Pasquerilla Conference Center, but no one will be turned away.

“The sooner you get your tickets, the better, but walk-ins are welcome,” he said. “We get a few every year. The end result is great programming.”

All proceeds from the wine auction equally benefit the local United Way’s early childhood development programs and the youth mentor program at Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.

“This event is a collaborative effort,” McKinney said. “We’re a partnership, a team. This is a nice community event.”

A new event this year will be a prize package valued at $2,500. The Manhattan 100 Point Evening will feature dining at Daniel, Chef Daniel Boulud’s renowned French restaurant, a night’s stay with a park view at the Four Seasons Hotel and transportation costs to New York City.

The dream evening will be chanced off at $100 a ticket, and only 100 tickets will be sold.

Another feature new to this year’s wine auction will be table hosts who will assure their guests an enjoyable evening.

“They will decorate their tables with different themes, and there will be voting for nicest table or most well decorated,” Mc­Kinney said.

The evening will begin with a social time featuring wine tastings at several stations and a wide array of tapas.

The live wine auction begins at 7:45 and will feature unique wines from California’s Napa Valley, France, Italy and Australia.

“Mark Pasquerilla is something of a wine expert and has put together a nice mix of wines,” McKinney said.

A premium wine tasting, which was well received last year, will return.

“There will be some high-end wines which are very expensive and will be sold by the glass for $10 to $20,” McKinney said.

A silent auction held throughout the night will offer items such as gift cards and hotel stays.

“Every year we try to improve,” McKinney said.

“It’s a fun, enjoyable evening that’s not really done in our area. You can get some nice deals on some interesting wines. It’s a time to mingle and have some great wine and great food.”

Fine selection

What: Sixth annual wine auction.

When: 6:30 p.m. April 4.

Where: Harrigan’s Cafe & Wine Deck

at the Holiday Inn Johnstown-Downtown, 250 Market St.

Tickets: $100.

Information: 535-2563.

Ruth Rice covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at

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