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L’Eté du Vin: America’s Longest Running Wine Auction

Established as a trading post and haven for settlers at the end of the 1700’s, Nashville has become one of America's top destinations complete with hundreds of live entertainment venues and attractions for all ages. Also known as the Athens of the South, the city features a variety of architectural styles and beautiful monuments including a replica of the Greek Parthenon. Travelers should make sure to plan a stop at the Grand Ole Opry which features tours of the facility by day and concerts by some of country music's top acts by night.


L’Eté du Vin has been one of the leading wine events in the region since it began in 1980, and it will take place July 20-22 at multiple locations in Nashville. It gives attendees the chance to meet some of the finest winemakers on the planet as well as sample and buy some of the most sought after wines on the market. The festivities begin with the Vintners' Tasting, which is a structured tasting that features only wines from California. Attendees can also speak with the winemakers and learn unique information about each vintage. The Patrons' Dinner is a food and wine pairing event that features award winning cuisine prepared by Levon Wallace, Executive Chef at Gray & Dudley and wines by Schramsberg Vineyards, PlumpJack Estate Winery, and more. Last but not least is l’Eté du Vin (Nashville Wine Auction) which begins with a tasting and silent auction, then transitions into a dinner and spirited live auction, where patrons can bid on fine wines, trips, tastings, and more. We got the opportunity to interview Holly Whaley, President/CEO of the event, to learn about this celebration of wine.


RAL: How long has the event been running?

HW: This year marks the 38th l’Eté du Vin. Over our 37-year history and tradition, l’Eté du Vin has been honored to host the world’s leading and most respected wine professionals. Acclaimed châteaux and winery owners, winemakers, wine educators, celebrities, and entertainers have all participated in our notable wine events and become part of l’Eté du Vin and our Nashville family.


RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?

HW: The demographic is mostly couples (and some singles). The event attracts wine collectors and people who love great food and wine. However, you don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to enjoy l’Eté du Vin. Wine enthusiasts and wine explorers also find this annual event to be a highlight of their year.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

HW: We are not just serving wine at l’Eté du Vin. The event is all about consistently providing a high-quality experience to match the quality of wine and food served.


RAL: Take me through a day at the event.

HW: If attending the l’Eté du Vin auction on Saturday night (7/22) at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, you will experience a “California Collectibles,” theme featuring six California wineries including Schramsberg Vineyards, Davies Vineyards, Hirsch Vineyards, PlumpJack Estate Winery, CADE Estate Winery and Odette Estate Winery. This one-of-a-kind evening celebrates “everything wine” with a wine tasting and silent auction reception beginning at 5:30 pm, then everyone is seated at 7:00 pm for a gourmet dinner and spirited live auction for wine, trips and luxury items. Fritz Hatton of Zachys will return as auctioneer for the fifth year in a row. The Nashville Wine Auction offers its supporters the unbeatable combination of a first-class wine experience and raising millions of dollars to support cancer-fighting organizations in the Middle Tennessee area.


Here is a quick look at the schedule:

Grand Cru Evening, Thursday, June 22, 2017 - $250 per person

Vintners’ Tasting, Thursday, July 20, 2017, at Richland Country Club - $175 per person

Patrons’ Dinners, Friday, July 21, 2017, at the 21c Museum Hotel- $1,000 per person  

38th Annual l’Eté du Vin, Saturday, July 22, 2017, at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel - $335 per person


RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?

HW: Yes, representatives from the six featured wineries will attend.  Plus, many members of Nashville’s music, business, and entertainment community have attended this event over the years.


RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?

HW: Great wines call for great food, and l’Eté du Vin does not disappoint. The Patrons’ Dinner and l’Eté du Vin feature sophisticated menus that pair well with the featured wines.


RAL: Tell me about the atmosphere of the event.

HW: The evenings take place in elegant but relaxed settings, including two high-end hotels, one beautiful country club and the Grand Cru evening takes place in a private home in Belle Meade.


RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?

HW: While l’Eté du Vin continues to contribute to the important work of the American Cancer Society, its horizons have expanded in support of the fight against cancer. To that end, l’Eté du Vin now offers grants of financial aid to other local cancer related non-profit organizations. All of the money raised stays in middle Tennessee.


For more information about the Nashville Wine Auction, please visit the event website.

Photography Credit: SheHeWe Photography