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REVIEW High Museum Charity Wine Auction


One of the biggest charity events in Atlanta, the High Museum Charity Wine Auction is much appreciated and much criticized. This multi-day, multi-audience event brings oneophiles from across the Southeast out to play, bringing in millions in revenue for the High Museum. This year I had the chance to sneak into the trade tasting, one of the many pieces to this multi day extravaganza.  The tasting allows you to try unlimited wine for only $15, a wonderful day to waste an afternoon (and an evening as you will likely be incapacitated).  The catch- for this portion of the Wine Auction you must be an “industry” person, ie associated with a business that may or can purchase bulk wine.  But don’t worry, you can participate in one of the many other wine centric activities, as long as you have some cash.  With some of the dinners running around $140 per person, the golf tournament costing $575 per player and bottles of wine flying off the shelves at top dollar.


Here is a review of lessons learned from this event.


The Good

  • This event utilizes a readily available audience.  Although wine and art go well together, those in attendance don’t have to like the High to spend their money on great wine and great times.
  • This event capitalizes on a large cross section of folks.  While some dates are for the general public, one day is specifically geared towards people in the spirits industry- restaurant owners, wine distributors, bartenders and the like.  This event uses an already established practice, providing possible wine purchasers with sampling from wine distributors, by tacking on a $15 fee per person.  Since distributors would be giving their product samples free of charge anyways, sourcing samples and attendees is easy for the organizers.

The Bad:

  • Some of the event activities are very expensive, and some would say inefficient.  Large fancy dinners cost a lot of money to organize, especially when they require big tented spaces at Atlantic Station.
  • With a week of events that run from golf tournaments to wine auctions, the High Museum “event” could overextend key donors and sponsors in the already small Atlanta market.

All in all, this is a fun event for participants.  If you ever have the chance to sneak in to the trade tasting, I highly recommend it. If you have the cash to attend the soiree or to participate in the auction, you won’t soon forget it.

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