The Saatchi Gallery opened its doors to the wine world last weekend, playing host to The London Wine Experience and The Grape Foundation’s inaugural children’s charity wine auction. Hitting the capital for the second year in a row, and continuing what we hope will become an annual occurrence, The London Wine Experience drew in wine-lovers and wine professionals alike.
The main event was The Grape Foundation’s Charity Auction, in association with multi-award-winning magazine The World of Fine Wine, which raised over £55,000 for underprivileged children. The charity, founded by Paul Anthony Gidley and Johanna Wilson, pledged to donate the first £10,000 to Children with Cancer UK. Head of Campaigns for the charity, Caroline Hampden-White, commented that it “was just thrilling to come in to work and find such a wonderful email. Huge thanks for your hard work and generosity – £10,000 is a fantastic donation.”
The contributions from the wine industry were generous, and Hugh Johnson, the world’s most widely read wine writer, described it as “the starriest charity wine line-up ever.” The highest prize was the Primum Familiae Vini’s Collector’s Case and Passport, donated by the 11 highly prestigious family owned member estates. The bespoke wooden case contained 12 of the PFV’s finest wines, including 2002 Château Mouton Rothschild and 2005 Sassicaia.
An even greater enticement, however, was the rare PFV passport, entitling the owner to visit each of the member estates for a private tour and tasting to be followed by an intimate dinner with a family member. Won by an anonymous bidder, this invaluable prize went for an amount far exceeding the reserve price.
Following the auction there was another exceptional display of generosity by Dominique Demarville, Veuve Clicquot’s chef de caves. He discovered that the buyer of the 1990 Veuve Clicquot Grande Dame Jeroboam, together with a night at the house’s private hotel, Hotel du Marc, had given them to good friends as a wedding present. Demarville was so touched by the gesture that he offered the same reward to the generous bidder.
The Grape Foundation is dedicated to raising funds to help neglected or impoverished children around the world. “We have been overwhelmed by the support for The Grape Foundation from so many people across the wine world,” said Wilson. “It is a real reflection of the industry’s sense of community and compassion.”
“This is just the beginning,” claimed co-founder Gidley. “Now our objectives are understood and our initial goal has been achieved, we are able to move on, with the support of the wine world, to create other outstanding events for the good of underprivileged and unwell children in every winemaking region.” With plans in the pipeline for bigger and even more lucrative events, The Grape Foundation is well launched on its hugely worthwhile mission. We look forward to seeing what they do next.
A selection of fine bottles were held back and are available for online bidding at www.grapepip.com
(Pictured: Members of Primum Familiae Vini)
Image courtesy of Primum Familiae Vini