Things are starting to get a little crazy at the museum, particularly in the development department. We’re about to head into what we call “wine season.” Each spring we throw several wine-related fundraising events – The Fleming’s Wine Dinner, Brooks Uncorked, Patrons Dinner, and the Grand Auction. Starting in January we collect wine and other items from donors across the region to auction off at these events.
Lindsey Hedgepeth is the one who coordinates all of these events and life becomes very interesting for her about now. Her office starts to fill up with wine bottles, invitations, donation forms, and artwork. She’s the one who keeps track of the thousands of bottles of wine it takes to get through wine season at the Brooks.
We’ve been doing wine events here to raise money for 19 years. That’s a whole lot of wine coming and going through the museum. All in all we’ve raised nearly $3.5 million dollars since we started. Pretty impressive, huh?
So why wine? Why throw wine-centered events to raise money for the museum? Well, it all started 20 years ago with some very dedicated wine enthusiasts who wanted to share their passion for wine while also doing some good for the community. The Brooks was very fortunate to be the beneficiary of their knowledge and generosity. These talented individuals created the first significant wine auction in Memphis with all proceeds benefitting the Brooks. How lucky are we? Some of these guys are still involved, though not to the extent they once were. They have given so much of their time and talent over the years and we are incredibly grateful.
Over the years we have also cultivated new wine enthusiasts. Some of our events are targeted specifically to young people who are new to the world of wine. Brooks Uncorked in particular was created specifically as an introductory event. We have a host committee of young people, the ticket prices are as low as $90 for unlimited wine and food, and DJ Raiford closes out the night with a dance party on the terrace. Not bad for $90.
We also have “Warm Up to Wine” classes for small groups of 30 or so people. For as little as $25 per person, you can taste several different wines alongside cheese, bread, and fruit while hearing about the different wines in a fun, casual setting by a host who guides you through the tasting.
Wine is an interesting and multi-faceted pursuit. Whether you’re a newbie who’s not even sure if you like wine or a passionate collector who can discern berry, licorice, and tobacco just by smelling a glass of wine, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and explore. Like art, different wine appeals to different tastes. There are no right answers – you like what you like.
If you’re at all interested in wine you should check out the Brooks’ Memphis Wine + Food Series. There’s bound to be an event you would enjoy. Call a friend or two and get your tickets early. The Fleming’s Wine Dinner on February 27 is already sold out so don’t delay. Click here to learn more about all of the events in this year’s wine season http://www.theartofgoodtaste.org.
This blog is written by the hard-working and ever-inspiring Development Director Diane Jalfon.