19th Annual High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction Nets $1.7 Million

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19th Annual High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction Nets $1.7 Million
Michael Browne, Michelle Sullivan, Dick Denny, Louise Sams, Joy Sterling. Photo: Ross Henderson Photography.

ATLANTA, GA.- In its 19th year, the 2011 High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction reached a Live Auction total of more than $1.125 million and a Silent Auction total $158,100. Silent auctions under the tents on Saturday, March 26, coupled with a Paddle Raise during the Live Auction and event ticket sales brought the net profit for the 2011 Wine Auction to $1.7 million. Proceeds from the auction are a vital part of the Museum’s exhibition and educational programming funds. The dates for the 20th annual High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction are March 28–31, 2012.

The 2011 Wine Auction celebrated with the theme “The Ultimate Collection: A Sumptuous Blend of Wine, Art, Food and Friends.” Organized by volunteer co-chairs Louise Sams and Michelle Sullivan, the Live Auction events were held in Atlantic Station under festive big-top tents.

More than 71 live and 169 silent auction lots offered exclusive opportunities to taste, tour and visit with more than 100 vintners from the world’s premier wine regions as well as the chance to purchase cult wines, rare vintages and large-format bottles. The Special Guest of Honor was Michael Browne of Kosta Browne Winery and the Special Friend-in-Wine was Joy Sterling of Iron Horse Vineyards. Teaming up to wield the gavel for the Live Auction were esteemed wine auctioneers Michael Davis and Ben Ferdinand of Hart Davis Hart Wine Co., Chicago.

The 6th annual Paddle Raise was held in support of youth education at the High, including programs such as the I See Literacy and I See History tours, the Summer Teacher Institute and the Atlanta Public Schools After-School Project. This year’s Paddle Raise, held in memory of longtime auction supporter Taylor Stuckey, allowed bidders to contribute between $250 and $10,000 each to the fund, with the total reaching over $159,000.

The highest single auction bid of the day was $86,000 for a “Napa Valley Insider Weekend,” including luxury lodging and private tours of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars and first class roundtrip airfare from Delta Air Lines. Selling for $65,000 was a dinner party for twenty guests with 2011 Special Guest of Honor Michael Browne of Kosta Browne, an acoustic performance by Ed Roland of Collective Soul and brothers Kevin and Kent Rathbun preparing a meal. The third highest-selling auction lot at $60,000 includes a day with Chef Mario Batali and Au Bon Climat, owner Jim Clendenen in New York City and airfare provided by Delta Private Jets. Other highlights included Museum-grade artwork featured in the Live Auction with pieces from Robert Weingarten, Wynn Bullock, Jean-Jacques Grandville, Chip Simone, Richard Misrach, Lucinda Bunnen, and Alex Katz.

The 19th annual Wine Auction commenced with 2nd annual Dine Around Dinners on Wednesday, March 23, and the Trade Tasting and in-home Winemaker Dinners on Thursday, March 24. Events on Friday, March 25, included the 2nd annual Vintners’ Cup golf tournament at East Lake Golf Club and the Friday Night Fête under the tents in Atlantic Station. Saturday, March 26, featured the Vintners’ Reception and Live Auction. More than 100 distinguished wineries and 35 of Atlanta’s finest chefs were represented at the Vintners’ Reception to the crowd of more than 900 food and wine enthusiasts.

The 2011 High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction was made possible through the generous support of the exclusive Grand Cru Sponsor Wells Fargo Private Bank and Wells Fargo Insurance Services. Premier Corporate Sponsors include Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles magazine, Geographics, Unisource and Turner Broadcasting Company. Delta Air Lines was the Official Airline Sponsor. The Friday Night Fête Sponsor was Wilmington Trust. Atlantic Station was the Site Sponsor. Bidding Paddle Sponsor was KPMG. Automotive Sponsor was Mercedes-Benz USA. Select Corporate Sponsors include A Legendary Event, Four Seasons Hotel, Atlanta, Sherlock’s Wine Merchant, The St. Regis Atlanta, The Coca-Cola Company and smartwater.

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