Premiere Wine Auction Generates Over $2 Million for the Children of the Gulf Coast Region
NEW ORLEANS, LA (November 9, 2007) – Carnivale du Vin, the premiere wine auction and fundraiser in New Orleans rated “Top 10” in the Nation by Wine Spectator magazine, raised over $2 million dollars for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, to benefit children’s education programs in the Gulf Coast region. To mark the occasion, Chef Emeril Lagasse welcomed an all-star cast of chefs and vintners to New Orleans for a weekend of incredible dining, music, art and wine.
Carnivale officially commenced as Fred and Carol Schrader of Schrader Cellars uncorked their Carnivale du Vin bottling, Vieux-Os Old Vine Zinfandel 2004, with Chef Emeril and his team of ten Chefs de Cuisine serving hors d’oeuvres during the “Bacchus” reception.
The evening continued with a four-course seated dinner, prepared by the world’s top chefs Mario Batali, Drew Nieporent, Eric Ripert, Aarón Sanchez, Nancy Silverton, and Rick Tramonto. Each course was paired with wine by leading vintners including Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, Suzie and Paul Frank of Gemstone Vineyard, Donald Patz and James Hall of Patz & Hall, and Suzanne Pride Bryan of Pride Mountain Vineyards. As guests, wearing the commemorative pin designed by Tiffany Adler, enjoyed the savory foods and incredible wines, Harry Shearer shared his signature satire as Master of Ceremonies. Spirits rose through the wine auction and gala, which featured a one-of-a-kind commemorative painting by featured artist Burton Morris, culinary, wine and lifestyle packages, the evening was topped off with entertainment by The Original Blues Brothers Band.
The bidding frenzy over extraordinary food and wine packages included top lots such as an entire barrel of private label wine made in Italy with an unveiling party at NYC’s Babbo with Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, and the Ultimate Birthday Celebration with Emeril and Sammy Hagar in Cabo San Lucas – bringing in over six figures each. Another popular lot included a Domaine Serene wine dinner at the home of Emeril and Alden Lagasse, which was doubled at the last minute, attracting two bids of $110,000 each.
Over 600 guests descended upon the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, the event’s presenting sponsor, for the gala. Over one third of the guests traveled to New Orleans from across the United States, with the support of commercial airline sponsor American Airlines. Event sponsors Wine Spectator and Republic National Beverage Company were honored Friday evening during a welcome reception, kicking off the festivities with wines poured by Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne Winery and Kistler Vineyards, as guests feasted on local cuisine by some of New Orleans hottest chefs including Frank Brigtsen, Joel Dondis, Tariq Hanna, Tory McPhail, Susan Spicer and Tom Wolfe.
“I am honored with the outpouring of support from my dear friends, sponsors and especially our generous guests who joined me in my hometown this weekend,” says Emeril Lagasse. “The food and wines served by our Krewe du Vin created a one-of-a-kind culinary experience, and our out of town guests walked away feeling inspired by the spirit of New Orleans. I am grateful for their enthusiasm and willingness to help the children of the Gulf Coast.”
Last week, Chef Emeril revealed plans for the Emeril Lagasse Culinary Learning Center at Café Reconcile, and awarded an additional $250,000 grant for the development of the Center, bringing the total contribution from the Foundation to $500,000. The Center will enhance Reconcile’s restaurant operations and social entrepreneurship programs, as well as create a permanent home for their advanced culinary training curriculum.