I had a great experience in the wine world recently. I was invited to help out with the Belfry Theater Wine Gala in Victoria. This is the second year they have had a Live Wine Auction as the main attraction and way to raise money. It was a very fun event and I was more than happy to help out. Kathy and her team did a super job and I have been told it was a very successful fundraiser exceeding previous years totals.
Happily, I was given the easy job, I did the speaking on the wine. I told what the item was all about and why it would have a prized value, then I passed the mic to the auctioneer to do his magic.
I mean really, how fun! I got to rave about how and why all the great wines would be a good choice!
Now back to wine. The reason I bring this up is to point out wine auctions are more than just exciting to be a part of. Most importantly they are probably the best way to grow you cellar without having to wait years to see your treasures mature, and the only opportunity to find some of the very rare items that get put up for grabs.
Now it would have been easy, if your pocket allows, to go for the big guns like the 1998 Mouton Rothschild, the 1990 Palmer, and the 2000 Sassicaia at this show. Fabulous wines that just don’t show up day to day for sure.
But besides those, some items that really had particular interest for me were items like 20 year old Bordeaux from 5th growth houses that were going for very reasonable prices. This is where the savvy collector can find some great trophies. The risk is there of course. Is it still good? Was it stored properly? But to find a Bordeaux at 20 years to enjoy this weekend for dinner?? Brilliant!
Other great finds at auctions are Verticals. A group of wines from the same producer in successive vintages (2000, 2001, 2002 etc for example). Again, it’s a lot of work to do on you own, but if you get your hands on them and you get the chance to taste a vertical of wine, it really shows you how a wine changes over time. A great idea for a dinner party is to give everyone 3 glasses and put three vintages out at the same time. Compare and discuss. You are sure to create some great conversation.
And lastly for great auction finds, there are the big bottles. First off, big bottles mean more wine to share with more people, and that’s a great start to any event. But above that, the fact is wine ages better in large formats. Essentially it’s about the ratios. More wine to interact with itself and do that funky bottle magic thing while ageing. As well, a small amount of air in the neck (the ullage) to a larger amount of wine makes for a slower reaction to oxygen and makes maturing more gradual. Then of course it could be all ego. Bigger is just better!
Anyways, I had a blast talking about the great list of wines they had for offer this year, and was very happy to be involved. I truly think the group that raised their hands to buy, left with some terrific gems. To the rest of you, I strongly encourage you get involved the next time you are at a charity auction. It’s fun, it’s for a good cause, and you can bring home some great booty for your cellar.
Win win wine! I like it!
About The Author
Not satisfied with the traditional approach, Keith is trying to tackle the wine industry from all sides. A suave Sommelier at tableside, a passionate instructor, a purveyor of fine grape juice, and even a keen cellar hand… but really, he is just a wine guy.
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