October 24, 2014 Experiencing What Our Buyers Experience
We sell a lot of consignment items at our benefit auctions, specifically wine country experiences. I just returned from a Sonoma Wine Country experience that a girlfriend (Hannes Combest) and I bought at the Benefit Auction Summit (for auctioneers). This Mitch-Stuart package included three nights at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa in Sonoma, a five hour chauffeured vehicle and a $35.00 breakfast credit per day for each of us. WOW! The hotel was top-notch, the spa was second to none and the wine, well, the wine was in abundance.
The day of our arrival, we enjoyed our free bottle of wine, homemade pizza and s‘mores by the fire pit. What a way to start a vacation!
We scheduled the five hour chauffeured vehicle the next day and stayed in the Sonoma area visiting wineries. We wanted to pack as many wineries in as possible. We visited Ravenswood (my favorite), Sebastiani, Gundlach Bundschu, Nicholson Ranch, Cline Cellars and Robledo Family Wineries. We toured big, better known wineries as well as small, lesser known ones, all with very good wines. We quickly learned to ask for their reserve wine list when tasting wines. These wines are not always offered to the public but are available to their wine club members and at tastings. You can purchase wines that you especially like and/or join their wine clubs. Due to state alcohol restrictions, be sure to check with each winery to see their shipping limitations.
Our second day was relaxation day at the spa. The Fairmont has a great spa facility where you can get a number of services. The facility also includes a sauna, steam room, indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis and a large pool area (actually two pools), all heated naturally. We spent the entire day there and enjoyed wine and lunch by the pool.
The third day we hired the chauffeur for an additional five hours to take us to the northern part of Sonoma. We toured St. Francis, Christopher Creek, Clos Du Bois, Francis Coppola, Silver Oak Alexander Valley, and Bacigalupi Wineries. Those were a treat but I especially liked Bacigalupi, recommended by my friend Tim Luke.
We chose to add an additional day to our trip and drove to Sausalito before staying at an airport hotel prior to flying home the next morning.
I am happy to have experienced what our buyers experience when buying these packages. I am very pleased and will continue to encourage nonprofits to offer these packages when they are in need of a big ticket item (see my To Sell or Not to Sell Consignment Items at Your Live Auction blog).
Next trip I will schedule more time in wine country and plan to visit Napa!
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