Nashville Wine Auction Raises $918,000 at 35th Annual l’Eté du Vin Featuring Château Margaux and Paul Pontallier

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (August 11, 2014) – The Nashville Wine Auction is pleased to announce the 35th Annual l’Eté du Vin, which featured the legendary first growth, Château Margaux and Paul Pontallier, the Bordeaux estate’s Managing Director and Winemaker, raised $918,000 to fund the fight against cancer.

 “We were honored to bring the elegant wines of Château Margaux and their revered winemaker, Paul Pontallier, to Nashville,” says Nashville Wine Auction’s Executive Director, Holly Whaley.  “The 35th Anniversary of l’Eté du Vin was a huge success, in every way. I have such gratitude for our attendees, donors, sponsors, board members, committee members and volunteers for all of their hard work and support to fulfill our mission. Combined with Pairings, Nashville Wine Auction has established itself as an organization that offers premier wine and food experiences unlike any other festival in town.”

The total amount of money raised during l’Eté du Vin in 2014 is a $214,000 increase from the 2013 number of $704,000. With the inclusion of Pairings, where Nashville Wine Auction raised $200,000 in February, the total amount raised this year is $1,118,000! Champagne and Chardonnay, the ladies only event hosted on October 1, will continue to add to the total.

The total attendance for four days of events was over 750 people, which increased from last year, despite having one less event. There were over 85 volunteers that helped with the planning and production of l’Eté du Vin throughout the course of the weekend.

The Grand Cru Evening, chaired by Nancy and Billy Ray Hearn, kicked off l’Eté du Vin with a cocktail party at the home of Barbara and Kix Brooks on June 26, 2014. Robert Lipman presented the 2014 Norman M. Lipman Award to Keith and Deby Pitts for their longtime commitment to Nashville Wine Auction. Guests were able to preview the upcoming auction and this year’s beneficiaries.

On July 31, 2014, Paul Pontallier and Château Margaux arrived in Nashville for the Vintners’ Tasting, chaired by Elise and Harvey Crouch at Richland Country Club. Pontallier, along with Ken Killion, US Business Development Manager for Château Margaux and Tom Black, moderator and long-time Nashville Wine Auction supporter, led guests through a tasting of the entire Château Margaux wine portfolio, including Pavillon Blanc 2011, Margaux du Château Margaux 2009, Pavillon Rouge 2004, Château Margaux 2004 and Château Margaux 1989. Pontallier commented that “it was a dream come true to visit Nashville,” a place he long admired because of its reputation as “Music City.” While Pontallier was in town, he also visited Gibson’s Custom Shop and United Record Pressing.

On the following night, guests gathered in the elegant lobby of The Hermitage Hotel for the Patrons’ Dinner, co-chaired by Ann and Glenn Eaden and Barbara and Greg Burns. After indulging in Dom Pérignon 2004 during the Champagne Reception, patrons sat down for dinner in the ballroom. A five course dinner was prepared by Chef Ken Frank, of La Toque in Napa, CA and Chef Tyler Brown of The Capitol Grille. Pontallier poured Pavillon Blanc 2009, Pavillon Rouge 2003, Château Margaux 1999 and Château Margaux 1985 for what was a spectacular dinner showcasing how food and wine elevate each other to create memorable meals.

At l’Eté du Vin, chaired by Clint Higham and Matt Donahoe, on Saturday, August 2, bidding began at noon, as Nashville Wine Auction introduced mobile bidding for over 150 lots in the Silent Auction. When guests arrived, they were greeted by a mural of Château Margaux and boxwoods, in order to replicate the feeling of walking up to the grand Château. Before registering, guests passed by red wine stained barrels, which were inspired by the Château Margaux cellar.  The wine reception in the silent auction served Veuve Clicquot Rosé and Margaux du Château Margaux 2009.

As guests sat down for a beautiful three-course meal, Clint Higham introduced Special Musical Guest, Martina McBride. From the moment Martina hit the stage, the energy in the room was electric. Martina closed by singing, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” a song written about a breast cancer survivor.

After Martina finished and sat down for dinner, Auctioneer Fritz Hatton came on stage to start the bidding. The lively room raised their paddles through 63 Live Auction lots to raise money for cancer research. Top lots from the night included:

  • Dinner with Martina McBride sold for $86,000. Lucky winners will be able to enjoy dinner for eight at Martina’s home with First Growth French Bordeaux provided by Clint Higham and dinner prepared by Chef Andy Hayes of Moto.
  • The Finer Things in Life sold for $60,000. Eliza Kraft Olander and Brian McHenry donated Château Margaux vintages from 1982, 1983, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2003 and more to be paired with dinner at the Hermitage Hotel prepared by Chefs Tyler Brown and Ashley Christensen.
  • The Best of Rhône and Richland Avenue sold for $36,000. Pam and Steve Taylor opened up their home to host a fabulous dinner featuring wines of the Rhône, including Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Chapelle (1998, 2000, 2001, 2003), E. Guigal Château d’Ampuis Côte-Rôtie (2000, 2001, 2003, 2004) and Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Reserve (1998, 2000, 2003, 2004), paired with the cuisine of Chef Hal M. Holden-Bache of Lockeland Table.
  • Easy Come, Easy Margaux sold for $13,500. Château Margaux generously donated a private visit and tasting at the estate with either Corinne Mentzelopoulos and/or Paul Pontallier – a truly unique and special experience for the lucky bidders.
  • Terrific Terroir: Burgundy Trip for 4 sold for $11,000. Thanks to the generosity of The Partners of Hillsboro & Vine, the winners of this lot will be able to travel to Burgundy for four nights for 3 full days of wine tasting and memorable meals in this destination for wine lovers.
  • Arietta H Block Imperial and Tasting sold twice for $9,000 each. This lot was so popular that we doubled it! A 6L bottle of Arietta’s flagship wine was offered well before release because the owner of the estate was also this year’s auctioneer!
  • 1986 Château Margaux Double Magnum sold for $7,500. There’s nothing better than large format bottles of Château Margaux and one lucky winner took this 3L bottle from a great vintage home to their collection.

This year’s sponsors include Higham Management, Academy of Country Music, Beaman Automotive, Tennessee Oncology, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, Stites & Harbison, Gold Skin Care Center, Audi Nashville, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, Gary Musick Productions, Bill Hearn and Nfocus Magazine. In-Kind Sponsors included Saint Thomas Health, M Group, Ward-Potts Jewelers, Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, The Hermitage Hotel, My Emma, ImageQuest, Music City Tents and Events and City Winery.

ABOUT NASHVILLE WINE AUCTION: Established in 1980, the Nashville Wine Auction is the oldest charity wine auction in the country. It has raised over $19 million for organizations whose purpose is directly related to treatment, patient care, and eradication of cancer here in Middle Tennessee. The 2014 list of beneficiaries includes: American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, Gilda’s Club Nashville, Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Middle Tennessee, PearlPoint Cancer Support, Saint Thomas Cancer Network, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and Williamson Medical Center Foundation.