In its 16th year, the 2008 High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction reached a Live Auction total of more than $1.5 million. Silent auctions on Friday and Saturday and a Paddle Raise during the live auction brought the total to over $1.76 million in auction sales. The auction total along with event ticket sales brought the net profit for the 2008 Wine Auction to $2.1million, marking only the second time in its history to have raised over $2 million. Proceeds from the auction are a vital part of the Museum’s acquisition, exhibition and educational programming funds. The dates for the 17th annual High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction are March 26–28, 2009.
The High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction celebrated its anniversary in 2008 with the theme “The Sensational Sixteenth High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction: How Sweet It Is!” Organized by volunteer co-chairs Liz Lazarus and Joan Marmo, the auction events were held in Atlantic Station under festive big-top tents decorated with the colors of lipstick red and chocolate brown.
More than 250 live- and silent-auction lots offered exclusive opportunities to taste, tour and visit with more than 85 vintners from the world’s premier wine regions, including California, Oregon, Washington, France, Australia, Argentina and South Africa, as well as the chance to purchase cult wines, rare vintages and large-format bottles. Celebrated Burgundy vintner Alex Gambal and California Central Coast winemaker Joseph Davis were the auction’s Special Guests of Honor. Teaming up to wield the gavel for Saturday’s live auction were esteemed wine auctioneers Michael Davis and Leah Hammer of Hart Davis Hart Wine Co., Chicago.
The 3rd annual Paddle Raise was held in support of youth education at the High, including programs such as the “I See Literacy/I See History” project, Summer Teacher Institute and the Atlanta Public Schools After-School Project. This year’s Paddle Raise allowed bidders to contribute to the fund from $500 to $10,000 each, with the total reaching $100,000.
The highest single auction bid of the day was $85,000 for a Girls’ Trip to Napa Valley including private jet travel and a stay at the Meadowood resort. Another record-breaking sale came when a “Puttin’ on the Hog” party for 30 people with Linton Hopkins, of both Restaurant Eugene and Holeman and Finch Public House, and a special cuvée by Tuck Beckstoffer, of 75 Wine Co., sold three times for a total of $92,000. In the most moving bid of the day, an extraordinary collection of 50 bottles of wine sold for $65,000 in memory of longtime auction supporter Taylor Stuckey.
Other Live Auction Highlights
$70,000 for events hosted by auction co-chair Joan Marmo and husband Joel Knox in their home
$40,000 for dinner with Julie Martinelli and her wines, plus Hugh Acheson of Athens’s Five & Ten in the kitchen, and $30,000 for a rare Beaux Frères tasting of 16 vintages with owner/winemaker Michael Etzel and Kevin Rathbun as chef
$60,000 (sold twice at $30,000 each) for a wine dinner hosted by Louise Sams with Gerry Klaskala of Aria and Carvel Gould of Canoe in the kitchen
$58,000 (sold twice at $30,000 and $28,000) for a “Cellar Raid” at West and Katie Johnson’s house, with food by chefs from Atlanta’s Les Dames d’Escoffier
$45,000 for a 9L of D. R. Stephens Estate’s 2005 Moose Valley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, plus a poolside evening barbecue in Napa Valley
$45,000 for a customized trip to China to view the Terracotta Warriors with business-class airfare from Delta Air Lines
$40,000 for a California-Bordeaux Gourmet Extravaganza with Shari and Garen Staglin of Staglin Vineyards, Greg Gregory and Jeff Murray and the chefs from Blackberry Farm
$38,000 for an Insiders’ Trip to Burgundy with Special Guests of Honor Alex Gambal of Maison Alex Gambal and Joe Davis of Arcadian Winery
$35,000 for an African Safari by Singita Grumeti Reserves
$30,000 for dinner at Tiffany & Co. in Phipps Plaza with Chef Tom Catherall and wines by Iron Horse Vineyards
$30,000 for a collection of Kosta Browne wines and a tour and tasting at the winery
$24,000 for a Sweet 16 collection of Colgin Cellars wines and a painting by Suzanne Hughes Sullivan
$24,000 for Sixteen Sensational Bottles from Paul Hobbs wines
The 16th annual festivities commenced on Wednesday, March 26, with the Artist’s Dinner, and continued on Thursday with the sold-out Winemaker Dinners and a Trade Tasting. Friday featured premiere Tasting Seminars and the Gala Dinner leading up to the grand Vintners’ Reception and the Live Auction on Saturday, March 29. More than 85 distinguished wineries and 37 of Atlanta’s finest chefs were represented at the Vintners’ Reception to the sold-out crowd of 900 food- and wine-lovers. On Friday evening, Gala Dinner guests dined on a menu from Southern Foodways Alliance star chefs Gerry Klaskala and Kathryn King of Atlanta’s Aria; Hugh Acheson of Five & Ten and The National in Athens, Georgia; Mike Lata of FIG in Charleston, South Carolina; and Todd Richards of The Oakroom in Louisville, Kentucky, with dinner presented by A Legendary Event. Austin Hope, winemaker for his family’s Treana Winery and for his own Austin Hope Winery, served as the Special Guest for The Big Finish on Saturday evening.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. was Presenting Sponsor for the fourth year. Premier Sponsors included “Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles” magazine, Geographics, Wachovia Wealth Management, KPMG, Montaluce and The Streets of Buckhead/Ben Carter Properties. Delta Air Lines was the Official Airline Sponsor, and Atlanta Area Lexus Dealers were the Official Automotive Sponsor. Atlantic Station was Site Sponsor for the third year, and other sponsors included A Legendary Event, Arnall Golden Gregory Private Wealth Group, Callaway Gardens, The Coca-Cola Company and Evian, Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, Holder Construction Company, Novare Group-The Atlantic, Philips Consumer Lifestyle, Sherlock’s Wine Merchant, TwinEngines and Wilmington Trust. The Big Finish was sponsored by “Skirt!” magazine. Media partners included “Flavors” and “Restaurant Forum” magazines.
The Wine Auction is the single largest fundraising event held annually for the High Museum of Art. One of the top charity fundraising events in Atlanta and the largest charity wine auction in the U.S. benefiting the arts, it was named number five in a national ranking of the Top 10 charity wine auctions in the United States by “Wine Spectator” magazine in their March 31, 2008, issue. Proceeds from the Auction are a vital part of the Museum’s acquisition, exhibition and education plans.