VeritageMiami continued on March 3 with the Bubbly Brunch at The Ritz-Carlton on the Key, a meal that also included an auction to raise funds for United Way of Miami-Dade. There are many kinds of wine auctions – commercial ventures, informal auctions and charity auctions – where generous wine lovers donate bottles and the proceeds of the auction go to support charitable causes. I’m all for the charity aspect, but I think we should also recognize how fun these auctions can be, and how useful for relative novices in wine.
With one auction behind us and another coming up on March 15 as part of the VeritageMiami Interactive Dinner at the InterContinental Miami, I think a little pep talk is in order. A good auction is actually comprised of several parts, each focusing on lots, or groups of items, at a different price point. For the upcoming auction at the InterContinental, we will have a silent auction, a live auction and an “almost live” auction. The live auction is for big ticket items – cruises, dinners with winemakers and selections of rare wines that command astronomical prices. The “almost live” auction is for lots that are big enough (and pricey enough) for the live auction, but due to space and time limitations, there was no room in the live auction. Take a sneak peek at these one-of-a-kind live and “almost live” lots.
Then, there is the silent auction, which is “silent” only because no auctioneer is offering the auction lots at the podium. Instead, bottles of wine, trips, dinners and luxury goods are on display on long tables, the status of each item reflected on a clipboard where bidders register their votes. In practice, as prospective purchasers walk around and write down their bids, there can be a good deal of well-intentioned bickering among competing bidders making the silent auction surprisingly raucous. I love these silent auctions, because there are wines at very reasonable opening prices, many of them donated by collectors. These wines are no longer on the open market, they are often mature and ready to drink without needing years in a cellar (the collector did that for us) and often provide an opportunity to discover wines you didn’t even know existed. At last Sunday’s Bubbly Brunch auction, I bought a three-liter bottle (the equivalent of four regular bottles) of a hard-to-find rosé that I could share with the entire staff. We had quite a party built around that one big bottle that I’ve never seen in a retail store.
So, the next time you have an opportunity to join us at VeritageMiami or attend another charity event with a wine auction, keep in mind that auctions aren’t limited to expensive items. You may find an opportunity to create a party and at the same time serve a good cause. Hope to see you Sunday, March 15 at the InterContinental and I’ll help you make that happen!