Decanter raised £100,000 for charity last night at a dinner at the Royal Opera House, attracting a host of stars of wine and opera.
Some of the world’s most prestigious wine producers were at the Royal Opera House (pictured) in London’s Covent Garden for a gala dinner organised by Decanter in aid of the Vilar Young Artist’s programme.
Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel and Jancis Robinson MW OBE were among the guests sitting down to dinner. Wines served were Dom Perignon 1996, Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Pucelles 2000, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars SLV Cabernet Sauvignon 1996, Chateau Magdelaine 1990, Château Lafite 1978 en magnum and Graham’s Vintage Port 1970.
The Champagne was introduced by Richard Geoffroy, chef de cave at Dom Perignon, the Burgundy by Anne Claude Leflavie, the Stag’s Leap by Julia Winiarski, daughter of founder Warren Winiarski and the winemaker of the 1996, the Magdelaine by Edouard Moueix, the Lafite by Baron Eric de Rothschild and the Port by Johnny Symington.
Opera stars such as Dame Felicity Lott and Simon Keenlyside performed songs and arias, accompanied by the musical director of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano. Sir Thomas Allen, Britain’s greatest baritone, was Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
This was followed by an auction of rare wine and opera lots with Christie’s David Elswood at the gavel, which raised £100,000.
Some lots, such as a visit to Château Rieussec and dinner at Château Lafite, saw frenetic bidding which might have tested the Christie’s man, but Elswood – a consummate professional – wielded the hammer with verve. The package went for a stunning £8,900 and a rare bottle of Dom Perignon 1959 (one of only ten in the world) went for £3,000.
‘It was a thrilling evening with some of the world’s greatest wines and opera stars,’ said Sarah Kemp, publishing director of Decanter. ‘Everyone left floating on air.’
Decanter and the Royal Opera House are planning to host a similar event in two years’ time.
Written by Oliver Styles