Four encrusted wine bottles, co-designed by Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry and Gemstone Vineyard, auctioned for $300,000 during Virtual V Foundation Wine Celebration

Unprecedented demand  for single lot of ruby bottle, private dinner, and jewelry design experience prompts design partners to quadruple the auction lot in real time, selling four identical lots for $75,000 each.

A dramatic bidding war erupted during the V Foundation Virtual Wine Celebration this weekend, as bidders vied to own the world’s only ruby-encrusted Jeroboam bottle, co-designed by longtime Foundation supporters Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry and Gemstone Vineyard. The ruby-encrusted Jeroboam Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2019 future of Gemstone’s Ruby Barrel Selection bottled by premier winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown, was just one part of an experiential auction package (lot 4) that also included a private dinner for 6 and the opportunity to later remove and reset the bottle’s rubies into a custom piece designed by Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry. Interest in the lot was so high, even down to the final moments of the virtual auction, that Wine Celebration Board members Amy Dornbusch and Jared Silver volunteered to produce another 3 identical bottles and offer identical auction lots to the three other competing bidders. The four total lots sold for $75,000 each. Silver, Dornbusch, select fellow Wine Celebration board members, and a small group of friends watched the digital action unfold at a socially distanced gathering at Adam and Amy Dornbusch’s private home, raising a toast to a successful collaboration and quadrupled bids, which together contributed $300,000 towards the auction’s total proceeds of over $3.6 million raised for cancer research.

The virtual auction was hosted by NCAA basketball coaching legend Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, ESPN’s SportsCenter Anchor, Sage Steele, and featured surprise celebrity guests and entertainers including Katie Couric. Amy and Adam Dornbusch and Jared Silver were joined at the intimate Napa Valley watch party by fellow Wine Celebration Board Members Marc Rollins (with Whitney Michiels) and Barry Chandler Williams, as well as special guests Caitlin and Stuart Landesberg, Douglas Cortina, Kristen Winzent, Clinton Yara, Brett Geist, James Herbert, Adrienne Lin, and Sara Wortman. The guests toasted the surprise turn of events, as one auction lot turned into four Ruby Jeroboam Futures packages, far exceeding expectations. The winning bidders included Nan and Wayne Kocourek, Cindy and Evan Goldberg, and two additional anonymous bidders.

Virtual V Foundation Wine Celebration

Clockwise, left to right: Caitlin and Stuart Landesberg, Douglas Cortina and Kristen Winzent, Jared Silver and James Herbert, Clinton Yara and Brett Geist, Marc Rollins and Whitney Michiels, Adam and Amy Dornbusch

The winning bidders included Nan and Wayne Kocourek, Cindy and Evan Goldberg, and two additional anonymous bidders. Each will receive a 2019 Future of Gemstone Vineyard’s exclusive Ruby Barrel selection. Once aged to perfection and artfully blended by Thomas Rivers Brown (2018 Wine Spectator: “Napa’s Top Gun”), the exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon will be poured into each 3L Jeroboam bottle, etched, waxed, expertly set with rubies hand-selected by Jared Silver, and presented in a custom ‘jewelry’ box. These special auction lots mark the first time the waitlist only Ruby Barrel Selection has ever been offered in a large format 3L edition, and they are certainly the first to be so elaborately etched and adorned with gems.

The auction packages also included a private dining and wine-tasting experience for six with the Silver and the Dornbusch families, and a future chance to collaborate with Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry on a custom ruby design, extracting the gemstones after the wine has been consumed to reset into a custom jewelry piece created by the Silvers’ team of designers and artisans.

The Silvers and the Dornbuschs have long been friendly, sharing a love for local philanthropy and having found common ground as producers and purveyors of rare, collectible commodities that require the right conditions, passion, and expertise to create. Their friendship continued to flourish once Jared Silver joined Gemstone Vineyards Proprietor Amy Marks Dornbusch on the V Foundation Wine Celebration Board in 2019. This bottle collaboration for the Wine Celebration was the fruit of their close collaboration, as the Board sought to make this year’s auction lots more exclusive than ever before.



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