Drinking for a Cause

Originally posted on Departures.com

Starting next week, I’m heading down South to pour, drink, and bid for good causes at great philanthropic wine auctions: the Triangle Wine Experience in Raleigh,Heart’s Delight Wine Tasting & Auction in D.C., and The High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction, one that is particularly dear to my heart (pictured below, my mom Louise Bray, left, and Sara Steinfeld, 2001 Auction co-chairs at last year’s event in Atlanta).


The 23rd annual Triangle Wine Experience takes place February 4-6 down in Raleigh, North Carolina and boasts a line-up of iconic domestic producers. The event supports the Frankie Lemmon Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the tuition-free Frankie Lemmon School and Developmental Center for special needs and autistic children. The 2016 iteration will feature over 50 wineries, both U.S. and international, 15 top chefs from the area, and hundreds of silent and live auction lots up for sale. Events include an opening event on Wednesday night ($500); intimate dinners (tickets from $165) on Thursday night at local Raleigh restaurants including Angus Barn, Piedmont, and Saint-Jacques with a variety of wine producers; and a series of great happenings on Saturday including a black-tie gala, taste-around, silent auction, and live auction finale that night ($250).

Washington D.C.-based Heart’s Delight Wine Tasting & Auction brings wineries together with political and business influencers as well as wine enthusiasts in order to raise awareness and funds for the American Heart Association. Over the past sixteen years, the organization has raised more than $14 million for the prevention of heart disease and stroke. The emphasis has been on Bordeaux, but the featured wines have expanded to include pours by producers from California, Italy, and beyond. This year, the main event takes place from March 9-12, featuring winemaker dinners in homes, restaurants, and embassies (from $400); a Unites States of Wine celebration ($200), showcasing the best of American wines; a tasting of the 2012 vintage in Bordeaux; and an exclusive Vintners Dinner (from $1000) and live auction ($250).

The High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction is the largest fundraising wine event for the arts in the U.S., bringing in upwards of $23 million over the past 23 years. Alongside its contributions to the High Museum’s exhibitions and educational programming, the auction also sponsors students—nearly 95,000 to date—enabling them to experience and learn about the museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions by bringing first-hand experience of the arts into school curriculums. This year’s auction week takes place from March 30–April 2, and features in-home, multi-course dinners with winemakers and both local and regional chefs, tasting seminars, a consumer tasting and silent auction, and a live auction event to end the week.