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Foodie Fêtes:

March 10, 2012

Red, White and Sparkling!

HIgh Wine Auction Celebrates its 20th Anniversary with a Grape-Fueled, Four-Day Fête on March 28-31

By Nancy Staab

From secret wine cellar tours and expert tastings, to posh chef/wine pairings at private homes and a gala main auction, this grape crush has it all. Here’s some of the highlights.

Amanda Clare, Steven and Michelle Sullivan at HIgh Wine Auction 2011 Amanda Clare, Steven and Michelle Sullivan at HIgh Wine Auction 2011











The High Museum of Art’s Wine Auction, recognized as one of the best wine fests and fundraisers in the country by Wine Spectator magazine, is about to launch it’s 20th Anniversary with a major bash to devoted to “The Glorious Grape.”  High Wine Auction 2012 co-chairs Merry McCleary and Carmen Pope, and High Wine Auction Manager Cate Candler Singerman will play host this spring to a bevy of international and national winemakers, including Special Guests of Honor Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, Robert Bower from Fladgate Partnership, and Miguel Torres Jr. from the Torres vineyards in Chile. And what is wine without gourmet pairings provided by Special Guest Chefs Ken and Karen Barker of Magnolia Grill (Durham), Gerry Klaskala of Aria,Anne Quatrano  (Bacchanalia, Quinones, Abattoir) and Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar and Grill (Birmingham). Since its inception, the High Wine Auction has raised more than $19 million for exhibitions and educational programming at the museum.

For more details and tickets visit

California winemaker Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat California winemaker Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat



The Secret Cellars Tour

The 2012 High Wine Auction kicks off with a secret cellars tour of some of the most impressive and well-stocked wine cellars in the city. So hush, hush is the tour that the High won’t even divulge these local liquid assets, so you’ll have to contact for details and to register for this event. $225/person



Wine painting by Thomas Arvid Wine painting by Thomas Arvid

Artist Dinner with Wine Artist Thomas Arvid

Atlanta artist and wizard of oenophile imagery, Thomas Arvid and his wife Vanessa Arvid invite guests to his charming cabin/artist atelier for a unique evening of canvasses, wining and dining courtesy of Chef Joe Truex of Watershed, who will be cooking up a porcine feast, and pours by Kosta Browne. Cost per couple: $1,500


Dine Around Dinners

Atlanta’s best chefs pair up with amazing winemakers for a unique night of prix-fixe bites and quaffs. Think: Chef Bruce Logue at La Pietra Cucina paried with Antica Terra or Chef Riccardo Ullio of Sotto Sotto paired with Lachini. Visit the wine auction website for the full listing of participating restaurants and please contact the individual restaurants to make your reservation.



Trade Tastings

To-the-trade-only wine tastings will be offered at the big top at Atlantic Station for winemakers and wine professionals.


Private Home Winemaker Dinners

Blackbird Vineyards Blackbird Vineyards

A roster of Atlanta’s most gracious hosts will open up their private estates to guests for sumptuous wine tastings by noted guest winemakers and a gourmet meal by local and visiting top toques. Visit the wine auction website for details of all 16 dinners. Highlight dinners include:


Blackbird Vineyards and Bocado chef Todd Ginsburg at Mary and Neil Johnson’s house


Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat and Chef Ryan Smith of Empire State South at Jerilene and Nat Slaughter’s house


Peay Vineyards with Chef Steven Satterfield of Miller Union and Chef Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Downtown Diner (Raleigh) at Kristie and Charles Abney’s house


Braised pork belly dish from Blackberry Farm Braised pork belly dish from Blackberry Farm

Kosta Brownewines and Chef Kevin Rathbun of Rathbun’s at Amanda and Chris Clare’s house


Colgin winemakers Ann Colgin and Joe Wender and Chefs Sam Beall and Joseph Lenn of Blackberry Farm at Christine and Bill Ragland’s house



Alter Ego from Chateau Palmer, France Alter Ego from Chateau Palmer, France

Premier Tasting Seminars

Everything from the unique terroir of Oregon’s Willamette Valley wines, to Chilean wines from Miguel Torres are the subject of these elevated sipping seminars. Don’t miss the Chateau Palmer tasting, which represents the pinnacle of prize Bordeauxs. $100/person. The tastings will all take place at The St. Regis Atlanta at 11AM, 1PM and 2PM.  Visit the High Wine Auction website for more information. 


Friday Night Fête

A special evening under the Big Top at Atlantic Station for benefactors, sponsors and winemakers with the 2012 Guest Chefs Frank Stitts (Highlands Bar and Grill), Ben and Karen Barker (Magnolia Grill), Anne Quatrano and Gerry Klaskala preparing a multi-course menu with wine pairings, natch, and live music by the Class Act Band.



Vintners' Reception and Live Auction Gala

The four-day grape fest culminates with the main event, the live auction itself under the Big Top at Atlantic Station. Enjoy great pours from star vineyards while noshing on dishes from dozens of Atlanta’s best restaurants. Then raise your paddles for lots of rare and collectible wine lots, as well as exotic trips to lush vineyards, fine art and other covetable items.  Cost is $400 per person but the High Wine Auction has informed us that the event is already sold out


For more information and ticket reservations for all of the above events, please visit