UM, TRY NOT TO BREAK THE CORK

Wineauction2

“We got it for twelve grand,” Ralph Marra shouted into his cellphone. “Just me and you!”

Marra, of Rumson, had a finger in one ear as he struggled to hear over the celebratory din within the Sickles Market greenhouse last Friday night. On the other end of the call was his pal, Greg Matzel, of Colts Neck.

What Marra and Matzel had just paid $12,000 for at auction was a night out with six guests in the wine cellar of Rumson’s Brian Pasch. On the menu: a dinner catered by Restaurant Nicholas and 13 bottles of Harlan Estate wine from Pasch’s collection. The wine alone had a retail value of close to $6,000.

Some 350 guests attended the event, which raised $86,000, including sums from three wine-crawl dinners that drew winning bids of between $2,500 and $4,750. Another $1,000 was raised the following day at a pie-baking contest.

The money, double the amount raised at the same event a year earlier, will go to Holiday Express, the traveling musical charity.

The group is slated to perform at the Red Bank Tree Lighting downtown on Friday, Nov. 24, and will put on shows Dec. 19 and Dec. 21 at the Count Basie Theatre.

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