Million-Dollar Wine Bottle Helps Boost Carnivale du Vin to a Record-Breaking $3.75 Million for Charity


It was a record-breaking weekend for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Carnivale du Vin charity event, which took place on Nov. 5 and 6 in New Orleans. The 17th annual culinary-inspired wine auction raised $3.75 million to support local children’s charities focusing on nutrition and arts education, $175,000 more than the 2019 live event. Last year’s Carnivale du Vin went virtual, raising $1 million.

“After missing our live event last year, we were happy to come back together in person and celebrate with an amazing lineup of chefs and auction items,” chef Emeril Lagasse said, in a statement with his wife, Alden Lagasse. “Alden and I remain ever grateful for the generosity of our donors, sponsors, participating chefs and the New Orleans community.”

Nearly 400 guests gathered for the main gala to bid on 24 live auction lots, which raised a total of $2.04 million. Half of that sum was raised by a 6-liter bottle of The Setting Glass Slipper Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019. The bottle was purchased by Don Steiner, president and CEO of consulting firm Profit Recovery Partners, for $1 million, the most ever paid for a single bottle of wine at a charity auction. Only 75 cases and one 6-liter bottle of the 100 percent Cabernet were made, in a collaboration with Napa vineyard owners Paul and Suzie Frank. (The record for most expensive wine sold at a commercial auction belongs to a 750ml bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti 1945, sold by Sotheby’s in 2018 for $558,000.)

“Knowing how many children’s lives will be changed for the better by this single bottle is a joyful reminder of why we founded The Setting Wines,” said co-founder and winemaker Jesse Katz. (Winery co-founder Noah McMahon and Paul and Suzie Frank are members of the Foundation’s leadership.)

Another top wine lot paid tribute to a Santa Barbara wine pioneer. Jim Clendenen‘s Legacy” offered 31 large-format bottles of Au Bon Climat Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays going back to 1988. Clendenen was a longtime Carnivale guest, and the wines were donated by some of his most loyal clients. It sold for $70,000. A getaway to Burgundy’s Château de la Crée sold twice for $100,000 each. The trip includes a five-night stay at the château, tours of the estate vineyards and the famed Hospices de Beaune, a mixed case of Château de la Crée wines and a private tasting of Domaine Serene wines, whose founders bought the Burgundy estate earlier this year.

Founded in 2002, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation has raised over $15.5 million for children’s charities such as Cafe Reconcile, Food for Thought and Covenant House New Orleans.

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