Finest wines and great opportunities in 11 September benefit auction

Have you ever wanted a walk-on part in 'Frasier,' a tasting with Robert M Parker Jr, dinner at Margaux, or a helicopter ride with Gina Gallo? All are to be auctioned in a major New York sale to benefit the survivors of World Trade Center victims.

Grapes of Grief and Gratitude, a fund-raising auction, will offer 1,407 lots whose value exceeds US$1 million (£666,667). Itself a collector’s item, the catalogue features 11 pages of photos of firefighters and policemen killed in the 11 September attack.

The auction, sponsored mainly by Morrell & Company, a Manhattan wine retailer and auction house, will benefit the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, founded by Daniel J. (Rusty) Staub, the former New York Mets baseball player.

The 8 December sale will be held at Manhattan’s Union League Club. To maximize the amount raised, no buyers’ premium and sales tax will be levied.

The list of major benefactors includes Banfi Vintners Foundation, Christie’s, Decanter magazine, Domaine Clarence Dillon, the Robert Mondavi family, Sotheby’s and Wine Spectator, among others. Donations came from private individuals, wine producers and various institutions.

The Royal Scotsman train in Edinburgh donated a four-night tour of Scotland, worth US$8,700 (£5,800). Champagne Deutz donated a jeroboam of 1995 Amour de Deutz, worth US$650 (£433). Angelo Gaja donated a five-liter bottle of 1988 Barolo Sperss, worth US$5,000 (£3,333).

Paramount Pictures donated a nonspeaking part in the comedy ‘Frasier’; Gallo of Sonoma, a helicopter ride with Gina Gallo and lunch; Executive Wine Seminars of New York, a seat at a 1982 Bordeaux tasting with Parker; and a variety of other well-known names, tickets, wines and other unique gifts.

Union des Grands Crus donated 100 signed magnums of 2000 classified Bordeaux, worth US$50,000 (£33,333). The Andrew Will Winery of Washington gave a six-liter bottle of 1999 Ciel du Cheval cabernet sauvignon, worth US$800 (£533). Inniskillin Wines of Canada donated a magnum of 1997 Niagara Peninsula ice wine, worth US$1,100 (£733).

Auction diary dates and contact information

Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York28 November 2001