Cottonwood Inc. is using a "swirl, sniff and sip" strategy to raise money.
Next weekend, the third annual "Salute! A Festival of Wine and Food" offers area residents an opportunity to sample some of 250 wines from the world's leading vineyards, meet vintner Sean Sullivan, taste food from 10 Lawrence restaurants and participate in silent and live auctions.
Peggy Wallert, director of community relations and development for Cottonwood Inc., said the not-for-profit agency hopes to raise $45,000, or $2,000 more than last year's proceeds.
"The money raised for the foundation will be used to assist those with developmental disabilities," she said. The proceeds might be used to provide kitchen appliances, dental care or other items that can't be purchased with Medicaid or other public assistance, she said.
The fund-raiser kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Friday with a wine dinner at Pachamama's, 2161 Quail Creek Drive. Guest vintner is Sean Sullivan of Sullivan Vineyards in California's Napa Valley. The dinner will be prepared by Ken Baker, Pachamama's executive chef.
Tickets are $100 a person. Reservations are required.
"There's already 75 people on the list, and we can only go to 100," Wallert said.
A wine- and food-tasting party will be offered from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive. Gourmet cuisine from area restaurants and caterers and hundreds of wines will be available. Cooking-with-wine demonstrations will be provided by Teller's, PrairieFire and Hereford House restaurants.
Silent and live auctions will be held, with Kasey Wold and Teresa Ferguson as auctioneers. Items include bottles of 1970 Dom Perignon and Chauteau Haut Brion; use of a time-share condo in St. Maarten; and family packages that include passes to area attractions, such as golf courses or Science City at Union Station in Kansas City, Mo.
Tickets are $50 a person, which includes 20 sample tickets. Attendees must be 21.
"We're expecting 500 to 600 people for Saturday night," she said.
Wallert said "Salute!" was founded by Wichita-based Standard Beverage Corp. In addition to sponsoring the Lawrence event, the company helps with a hospice benefit in Manhattan, an American Heart Assn. fund-raiser in Kansas City and a benefit for the Guadalupe Clinic in Wichita.
"They wanted to find established and reputable nonprofit organizations that do work that is valued as part of the community," she said.
Tracie Youell, coordinator of community relations and development at Cottonwood, said Standard Beverage underwrote all costs for the first "Salute!" Over the years, the beverage company has cut its contributions to allow the Lawrence community to assume responsibility for raising the money needed.
"But they still underwrite the costs of all the wine," Youell said.