President/CEO Holly Hearn Whaley to Retire in 2021

Nashville Wine Auction announces President/CEO Holly Hearn Whaley to Retire in 2021

NASHVILLE, TENN. – AUGUST 16, 2021 – The Nashville Wine Auction is announcing today that Holly Hearn Whaley will soon retire as the nonprofit’s President/CEO on Nov. 19, 2021. Whaley has served as the leader of the country’s longest-running charity wine auction for more than a decade.

“Holly has had a remarkable tenure as the head of the Nashville Wine Auction,” said Board Chair Lisa Maki. “Her passion for wine is only eclipsed by her passion for raising money for the cancer-fighting organizations that the Nashville Wine Auction supports. She has made many improvements to our events, partnerships, and structure, which has set us up for continued success for decades to come. While we are going to miss her extraordinary leadership, we know she will continue to be present in our organization in many ways. We raise a glass in her honor with deep admiration and respect for all the work she has done, and the hearts she has touched.”

The Nashville Wine Auction board of directors will immediately begin the search for Whaley’s replacement with the intention of filling the position before l’Eté du Vin in October.

Since joining the organization in March 2011, Whaley helped grow the organization’s annual revenue from $350,000 to more than $2 million; preserve the worldwide awareness and prestige of l’Eté du Vin; and continuously reimagine the organization’s events to appeal to those just starting their journey in the world of wine as well as top collectors.

When Whaley first joined the organization, the Nashville Wine Auction was known as l’Eté du Vin. The organization changed its name to the Nashville Wine Auction in April of 2011 with the introduction of spring and fall events that significantly increased revenues. Whaley was also instrumental in the creation of the Virtual Nashville Wine Auction in 2020 and Pairings@Home in 2021, both virtual events, that allowed the Nashville Wine Auction to continue raising funds and supporting beneficiaries during the pandemic.

“I truly love the Nashville Wine Auction and everything it represents,” said Whaley. “It’s impossible to put into words my gratitude for the great friendships I have made among the staff, the board, and those who have attended and give so much to Nashville Wine Auction events. My father, Billy Ray Hearn, first introduced me to l’Eté du Vin in 1993, and I have been supporting the organization ever since.  I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to lead the Nashville Wine Auction and help our beneficiaries advance life-saving treatments and world-class patient care. It will forever be in my heart.”

Whaley lost her mother and her brother to cancer.

Whaley’s knowledge of wine and accomplishments as a leader are widely recognized. She is a current member of the Commanderie de Bordeaux and serves as the Educatuer for the Nashville Chapter. Additionally, Whaley was named one of Nashville’s top nonprofit leaders in 2018, 2019 and in 2020. She was also honored as Gilda’s Club’s Inaugural Red Door Champion in 2018.

Whaley said she looks forward to retirement and enjoying time with her husband, Dr. Mark B. Whaley and her family. She has one son, Trevor Redding, a Major and pilot instructor in the US Air Force, a daughter-in-law, Lane Redding, and two (adorable) grandsons, Huck and Ben.


About the Nashville Wine Auction

Nashville Wine Auction’s mission is to unite the wine community to fund the fight against cancer. This year, Nashville Wine Auction presented Pairings@Home and will host l’Eté du Vin: The Country’s Longest-Running Charity Wine Auction in person on October 23, 2021. #LoveWineHateCancer is a new year-round online initiative. Established in 1980, the Nashville Wine Auction has raised more than $27 million for organizations whose purpose is directly related to cutting-edge research, innovative treatment, and family/caregiver support. For more details, go to