2012 Live Auction Auctioneer and Emcees

Meet our 2012 Live Auction Auctioneer, Ron Kirby, and our Emcees! Tristan Kinsley, Damian Serong and Michelle Hilton are donating their time and expertise to emcee this year’s l’Eté du Vin Gone Country. We are thrilled to have each of them.

Ron Kirby, Jr., CAI, AARE is a professional Licensed Broker & Auctioneer with the Kentucky Auctioneers Association. Ron has a true passion for fundraising. He makes each event a priority, dedicating time to learn as much as possible about the cause. His commitment to success and enthusiasm for whatever he is selling makes his auction style successful for nonprofits around the country.

Ron is a second-generation auctioneer, whose family’s established business in Kentucky offers a weekly auto auction for dealers and the public, while Ron specializes in Commercial Residential and Agricultural Properties selling, “Only at Auction.”

Tristan Kinsley, Owner of The Wine Shoppe at Green Hills, is one of the younger figures in the Nashville wine community, and a proud member of the next generation helping to bring wine and philanthropy together with the Nashville Wine Auction.

A life-long entrepreneur, Tristan has been self-employed since before he could drive. While still a teenager, he was a professional musician and spent eight years touring and recording with a variety of artists, including Shirley King, daughter of blues legend B.B. King and the critically-acclaimed folk-rock band, The Princes of Hollywood. He was also the owner of a recording studio and music production company that he sold in 2007, as well as the co-author of a book about the music industry, Making It: How To Go From Wanting A Career As A Musician To Having One.

Tristan’s move to Nashville in 2008 coincided, ironically, with a shift from the business of music to that of wine. After learning the ropes as the manager of The Wine Shoppe at Green Hills, Tristan and his wife Carrie orchestrated the purchase of the store from its former owner. They continue to hone their vision for the store as a trusted source for fine and unique wine and spirits and look forward to the future of wine in Nashville.

Damian Serong, Manager of Restaurant Sales for Best Brands Inc., entered the wine industry back in 1999 in Sydney, Australia with Southcorp Wines, who at the time was Australia’s largest wine company with brands like Penfolds, Lindeman’s and a host of boutique wineries. In 2004, Damian established a small consulting business to help vineyards in his home state of Victoria develop export sales around the world with a primary focus on the UK, Scandinavia, Canada and the US.

In 2007, Damian came across to the US to focus on establishing an import operation for Australian wineries, based here in Nashville. With the downturn in the US economy, Damian switched his focus to running a specialist wine wholesale operation in Nashville with a strong focus on French, Italian and Spanish wines. Over the past four years, Damian has brought a range of prestigious French wineries to Nashville including Château Palmer, Château Reignac, Domaine Parent and Domaine Servin. In 2010, Damian brought renowned Bordeaux negociant Jeffrey Davies to Nashville to host a barrel tasting of 2009 Bordeaux wines; Nashville was one of only two cities in the US to host such an event. One of the challenges of working in Nashville is that his sales team often struggle with his southern accent. It has been suggested by one member of his sales team that he actually speaks Urdu rather than English.

Michelle Hilton is a wine professional in Nashville, Tennessee at Omni Beverage Co., where she specializes in fine wines and smaller production, craft wines. She has studied with the Court of Master Sommeliers, completing her first level, and is now preparing for the certificate level. She is also a member of the Guild of Master Sommeliers. Michelle enjoys working with both retail and restaurants accounts, planning wine dinners, organizing tastings and events. She brings enthusiasm and passion to everything she does.

Michelle is a graduate of Belmont University, and also a proud mother of Jack, 9 years old, and Sarah, 7 years old.