The wine flowed freely but so did the generosity of those attending the American Riviera Wine Auction Weekend presented by the Santa Barbara Vintners’ Foundation. The organization raised more than $300,000 for Direct Relief International, with $160,000 alone coming from Saturday night’s auction and dinner at the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort. (Click here for the Noozhawk slideshow)

Foxen Winery’s Bill Wathen and Dick Doré, widely known as “The Foxen Boys,” were honored with the Humanitarian Award from the foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Santa Barbara County Vintner’s Association. The Wine Diplomat Award was presented to comedic actor John Cleese, who appeared on videotape to apologize for his absence and explain that he was filming a movie in Germany so he could be paid in euros. Andrew Firestone host the proceedings.

Since 2000, the biannual American Riviera Wine Auction has raised more than $1.25 million, all of which has been donated to Direct Relief International.

Bill Macfadyen

William M. Macfadyen, Noozhawk Publisher

Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at, and follow him on Instagram: @bill.macfadyen. The opinions expressed are his own.