14th Annual High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction Reaches New Highs

Share Article

Record auction sales, single bid and total revenues recorded.

The 2006 High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction set amazing records last weekend when the five-day food and wine celebration culminated with the most successful Live Auction ever on Saturday, April 1. Live bidding began enthusiastically and continued for several hours bringing revenues of more than $1.3 million in the Live Auction alone and total event revenues of more than $2.6 million (a 16% increase over 2005’s record-breaking amount of $2.25 million). Silent auctions on Friday night and Saturday brought more than $150,000.

Billed as “Toast a New High, Ooh la la!,” this year’s Auction theme salutes the celebrated Renzo Piano-designed expansion of the High Museum of Art with a French twist and nod to the upcoming “Louvre Atlanta” partnership between the High Museum of Art and Musée du Louvre. The theme, designed by volunteer co-chairs, Lorri McClain and Suzanne Salmon, was creatively displayed with pink and orange streamers, and the phrase “Ooh la la” splashed vividly throughout the big-top tents in Atlantic Station.

Bidders were delighted with more than 250 live and silent auction lots offering exclusive opportunities to taste, tour and visit with winemakers from France, California, South Africa and Italy, as well as the chance to own cult wines, rare vintages and an unprecedented number of large format bottles. Veteran auctioneers Michael Davis of Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. of Chicago and Colorado-based Ursula Hermacinski wielded the gavel for the Live Auction on Saturday.

The highest auction bid of the day came before the halfway point with Susan and Julian LeCraw Jr.’s grand tasting in their Atlanta cellar. The 20 spaces for this event, auctioned off in pairs, sold for $91,000 total – a record high bid on a single lot for the Live Auction.

Midway through the Live Auction, auctioneers led the group in the 1st annual paddle raise in support of Art Access. Art Access, designed to eliminate the economic barriers that prevent educators from providing off-site learning opportunities for metro Atlanta students, is a comprehensive program that provides a high quality, dynamic learning experience by offering access to the visual arts at the High Museum. The paddle raise allowed bidders to contribute from $10,000 to $500 each to the fund with the total reaching $118,000. This amount will be matched with funds donated to the High by The Kendeda Fund.

The 14th annual festivities commenced on Tuesday, March 28, with more than 20 sold-out dinners, tastings and educational seminars leading up to the grand Vintners' Reception and Live Auction under the tents at the event’s new location, Atlantic Station, on Saturday, April 1. More than 100 distinguished wineries were represented at the Vintners' Reception along with 35 of Atlanta's finest chefs and a sold-out crowd of 1,000 food and wine lovers. At the Friday evening Gala, Special Guest Chefs of Honor Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s and Melody Pate of Alberta, both from New Orleans, Louisiana, along with Atlanta chefs Chris Wilson from Emeril’s and Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun’s wowed the 750 dinner guests with an impressive menu.

Highlights of the Live Auction included:

  • A trip for six to Paris, Champagne and Bordeaux, including a VIP visit to the Louvre, and stays with Auction Special Guests of Honor, Jean-Michel Cazes of Chateau Lynch-Bages and Cordeillan-Bages, and Alexandra de Nonancourt of Laurent-Perrier Champagne, sold for $50,000.
  • A trip for four to California Wine Country (Napa/Sonoma and the Central Coast) in a private jet flown by High Museum Board Chairman Terry Stent, escorted by Auction founder Dick Denny sold for $40,000.
  • A gourmet wine tour for six to Tuscany by La Dolce Vita Wine Tours also sold for $40,000.
  • Two weeks in Africa including a wine country adventure and one-week safari took $36,000.
  • A New York weekend for four including dinner in the famous wine cellar at “21” with wines from auctioneer Michael Davis, Barbour Vineyards and Oakville Ranch brought in $26,000.
  • An original Renzo Piano sketch from the Museum expansion project sold for $26,000.
  • A spectacular collection of French wines (1982 Chateau Leoville Las Cases, 1986 Chateau Lafite and 1990 Beausejour Duffau), all rated 100 by Robert Parker, sold for $28,000.
  • More California wine country – six nights for four in Napa Valley and Sonoma hosted by Steve Reynolds of Reynolds Family Winery, Andy Wilcox of Lambert Bridge and Clay Mauritson of Mauritson Wines sold for $27,000.
  • A big bottle bonanza of highly rated wines from the 2000 vintage from Special Guest Jean-Michel Cazes including a Jeroboam of Chateau Lynch-Bages and 3L bottles of Chateau Ormes de Pez, Chateau Haut-Bages Averons and Chateau Cordeillan-Bages sold for $22,000.
  • A day in the country for four, courtesy of Blue Eyed Daisy Bakery and Serenbe Farm Bed & Breakfast in Palmetto, Georgia, with bottles of cult wine for lunch and dinner from Kristie and Charles Abney’s personal wine cellar sold for $22,000.
  • 160 bottles of bubbly – one of each bottle in MidCity Cuisine’s extensive Champagne and sparkling wine collection – sold for $22,000.
  • Dinner for eight in Joel Knox and Joan Marmo’s cellar with winemaker Julianna Martinelli of Martinelli Vineyards and Atlanta chef Gerry Klaskala of Aria, which brought in $21,000.
  • A Jeroboam decanter and eight Sommelier Series Bordeaux Grand Cru glasses courtesy of Special Guest of Honor Maximilian Riedel, combined with a three-bottle collection of Colgin IX from cult wine leader and High Museum Board member Ann Colgin, sold for $19,000.

Sponsorship was also at an all time high this year. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. was Presenting Sponsor for the second year in a row. Cantor Fitzgerald was the inaugural Grand Cru sponsor. Premier Corporate sponsors included Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles magazine; Geographics; Holder Construction, Wachovia Wealth Management and Site Sponsor was Atlantic Station. Select Corporate sponsors included The Cliffs Communities; Delta Air Lines; Morgan Keegan-Chris Willett; Sherlock's Wine Merchant-Nancy and Doug Bryant; Skanska USA Building Inc. and Southern Accents and TwinEngines, Inc. Special Corporate Sponsors were 103 West-Buckhead Life Restaurant Group; A Legendary Event; The Atlantan;; The Coca-Cola Company in partnership with Evian; Four Seasons Hotel, Atlanta; Nestle Waters North America; PaperCity Magazine; Philips Electronics; and Twelve Hotels & Residences.

The Wine Auction is the single largest fund-raising event held annually for the High Museum of Art. One of the top charity fundraising events in Atlanta, 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, 2006 issue. Proceeds from the Auction are a vital part of the Museum’s acquisition, exhibition and education plans.

The dates for the 15th annual High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction are March 30-31, 2007. To be added to the invitation list, please visit http://www.atlanta-wineauction.org.

High Museum of Art

Founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, the High Museum of Art is the leading art museum in the Southeastern United States. With over 11,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American art; significant holdings of European paintings and decorative art; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. As the leading museum in the Southeastern United States, the High is dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists and is distinguished as the only major museum in North America to have a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of folk and self-taught art. The permanent collection has nearly tripled in size since 1983 with significant recent additions, many of which will be on view for the first time when the new buildings open on November 12, 2005.

The Woodruff Arts Center

The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. A not-for-profit center for performing and visual arts, its campus comprises the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta College of Art, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and the 14th Street Playhouse.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Elizabeth Mcdonald
Visit website