The Roots Fund and Zachys wrapped up their first annual charity auction in support of The Roots Fund’s mission to address the lack of diversity in the wine industry. The gala raised over $400,000 from auction lots both available in-person and online and will help to create more education, mentorship and job placement opportunities for communities of color in the wine industry. As the first charity auction of this magnitude, the evening unveiled a large sommelier team of color, showcasing the essence of leading with change in wine.
Top selling auction lots featured distinctive wine experiences, including tours through a range of premier wine regions all around the world from Saint-Tropez and Burgundy in France to Napa, Paso Robles and Lodi in California. Additionally, a collection of rare wines were sold from producers Heitz Cellar, Inglenook, Domaine Dujac, and Ruinart.
During the live event on Wednesday, April 27th, Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Kenyon Dixon serenaded the crowd with several hits from his own catalog with Hard Way, Love & Happiness, and Toxic while guests enjoyed a curated menu by world-renowned Chef Matthew Tiscornia, Executive Chef at Pier Sixty; Executive Chef Joseph Paire of Fairmont Hotels, Limewood Restaurant and Bar; and Chef/Owner Daniel Eddy from critically-acclaimed Winner New York City. Erik Elliot, Estate Director & Carlton McCoy Jr. of the upcoming CNN show NOMAD and The Roots Fund co-founder, led the crowd through a VIP tasting of Heitz Cellar.
“We’re thrilled to be able to provide a quality education to our scholars, creating a level of support that will only lead to growth in the industry,” said The Roots Fund Executive Director Ikimi Dubose-Woodson. “This fundraiser has gone a long way in making that change possible. We look forward to this continued partnership with Zachys to raise awareness and funds for this incredibly important mission.”
Julia Murray, Managing Director of Zachys Auction, added, “Zachys is honored to partner with The Roots Fund in support of its mission to create opportunities for its scholars. We are thrilled at the outcome of the first annual auction, and deeply appreciative of the contributions by donors, sponsors and auction participants. We are also proud to announce that we will debut two internships created exclusively for The Roots Fund scholars, to introduce candidates to the world of Zachys Auctions and Zachys Wine & Liquor. Zachys looks forward to partnering with The Roots Fund on this terrific event and building to even greater heights in the future.”
During the evening, The Roots Fund awarded honors to outstanding scholars and supporters. The following three awards were announced:
- Rooted in France Scholarship: Kamlynne Fontan
- Make an Impact Award: Madeline Puckett for her significant contribution to the organization
- Outstanding Scholar: Desiree Harrison-Brown, CEO of Winoshop
The Rooted in France scholarship highlights the significant contribution that top Burgundian businesses have shown to bring about change in the industry. This coveted scholarship opportunity is a one-of-kind experience that will allow Fontan to learn from masters for over a year in France.
Images from the gala can be found here.
Wine Spectator was the presenting sponsor for the event. Thanks to all the sponsors: Armand de Brignac Champagne, Bokish Vineyards, The Sorting Table, Heitz Cellar, Hotel Indigo, Louis Roederer Champagne, Ink Grade, Made In, Racines, Coravin, Triennes Rosé, VB Vineyard Brands, S. Pellegrino/Acqua Panna, Lobos 1707 Tequila, and Parcelle.