There was no shortage of wine — nor of the funds to purchase it for charity.
At New York’s Gattopardo restaurant, linked by video with Grinzane Castle in Piedmont, businessmen, entrepreneurs and merchants participated in the “Barolo en Primeur” auction, 24 lots including bottles and projects to be funded.
Led by Antonio Galloni, world-renowned wine critic and founder of Vinous, the initiative involved more than 70 producers from the Consorzio di Tutela Barolo Barbaresco Alba Langhe e Dogliani, who were kind enough to donate more than 1,200 bottles to the project.
The event was also held thanks to the collaboration of “Colangelo&Partners,” the communications agency specializing in food, wine and spirits with offices in New York and San Francisco, which over the past 14 years has expanded its clientele from small entrepreneurial brands to national institutions and sought-after luxury labels.
And there certainly was no shortage of excitement. For Christie’s auction house, banging the gavel and awarding the purchase was not always easy. Lot number 23, for example, was very much in demand. Associated with barrel number 13, it started from a base of $15,000, but for more than a minute hands never stopped rising.
“Twenty-five thousand!” the auction host shouted with satisfaction, before realizing that, between Grinzane and New York, others were ready to raise the bid. “Thirty! Thirty-five! Forty!” On the fateful “Forty-five thousand!” no one had the courage to ante the stakes. “Sold!” was the call, followed by a roar of applause.
Acclamation also for the buyer of Lot 18, who with $24,000, took home a large stash of Serralunga d’Alba wines, a haul of 108 0.75-liter bottles, 28 one-and-a-half-liter magnums, and 12 3-liter Jeroboams.
The proceeds, nearly $770,000 total, will be donated to the Alba School of Enology, where students, the new dynamos of Italian enology, learn and practice the art of winemaking each year at the Gustava vineyard.
“Barolo en Primeur,” is a way to attract the attention not only of philanthropists, collectors, investors and wine connoisseurs, but also of art lovers. After the involvement in 2021 of sculptor Giuseppe Penone, the label of “Barolo en Primeur 2022” will in fact be designed by Michelangelo Pistoletto — the leading artist of Arte Povera — winner of numerous awards and creator of the great collective work, “Il Terzo Paradiso”.
The wine purchased, being “en Primeur” and therefore still in the barrel, will need a few years of aging before it can be drunk. In 2025, the approximately 300 bottles obtained from each barrel, in addition to those offered by the producers, will finally be delivered to the winners, numbered and labeled with Pistoletto’s work, “Rosa del Terzo Paradiso”.