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About Wine Auction

The Lyric Opera of Chicago will again celebrate grand opera, fine wine and philanthropy to raise funds during the unforgettably glamorous Wine Auction 2015. This elaborate event will take place on Saturday, February 7, 2015 on the stage of the Ardis Krainik Theater. Wine Auction 2012 netted a record breaking $1.7 million in support of the Lyric Opera and was recognized in April 2013 by Wine Spectator as one of the "Top Ten Charity Wine Auctions of 2012."

Orchestrated by the remarkable Women’s Board, Wine Auction 2015 will make a profound impact on Lyric Opera’s ability to present grand opera of the highest quality to audiences in Chicago and beyond.

This formal affair features a champagne reception, extensive silent auction, elegant dinner and live auction. Michael Davis, Vice Chairman of Hart Davis Hart Wine Company, as lead auctioneer will wield the gavel with spirit and precision on behalf of Lyric Opera.

We invite you to be a part of this elegant evening in celebration of opera!


Presenting Sponsor


Ticket Inquiry

Be sure to reserve yours before it’s too late! Tickets sell out months before the auction. Call the Women’s Board office at (312) 795-5682 or

Wine Auction 2012

Marvel at the transformation of the opera stage for Wine Auction 2012 with this short video. You will not want to miss what is in store for Wine Auction 2015!




Don’t miss this exceptional event and reserve your tickets before it’s too late! Tickets sell out months before the auction. Contact the Women’s Board Office at the phone number or email below.



Are you a wine collector with a wine cellar overflowing with special bottles? Are you a vineyard looking for a charitable opportunity that will feature your wines alongside the best in the world? Please consider sharing your extraordinary taste for fine wine and donate bottles to benefit grand opera. Contact the Women’s Board Office at the phone number or email below. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.


Take a peek at our Wine Auction Brochure to learn more!  


Having trouble deciding between wines in your cellar? Click here to see what we consider to be Stellar Selections!  



This spectacular event would not be possible without the time, energy and dedication of amazing volunteers. It’s also a wonderful way to contribute to a cultural institution of Chicago. Contact the Women’s Board Office at the phone number or email below if you are interested in volunteering for Wine Auction 2015.


Contact the Women’s Board Office

Women’s Board Office
(312) 827-5682


Thank you for your interest in Lyric Opera’s Wine Auction 2015!


Committee & Wine Advisors


The Women’s Board of Lyric Opera of Chicago, founded in 1955, is a cultural phenomenon raising nearly $4 million annually for the company through personal gifts, events, and activities.


Lyric Opera of Chicago Women’s Board

Mrs. J. Christopher Reyes*

Wine Auction 2015 Committee

Mrs. James L. Sandner*

Marilynn Thoma*


Trish Rooney Alden

Suzette B. Bulley

Elizabeth O’Connor Cole*

Mrs. Richard W. Durkes *†

Lili Gaubin

Mrs. Rodney L. Goldstein

Karen Z. Gray *

Caroline T. Huebner

Mrs. Edgar D. Jannotta

Alison Wehman McNally

Mrs. Robert S. Morrison

Mrs. Paul W. Oliver, Jr.†

Mrs. William A. Osborn

Mrs. Susan B. Noyes

Mrs. J. Christopher Reyes*

Nancy S. Searle

Mrs. Patrick Wood-Prince


Honorary Chairmen

Mrs. Lester Crown†

Mrs. Richard W. Durkes*†

Jane Duboise Gargiulo†^

Mrs. Christopher C. Milliken

Mrs. Susan B. Noyes

Mrs. James J. O’Connor†

Mrs. Paul W. Oliver, Jr.†

Mrs. William A. Osborn

Mrs. James C. Pritchard

Mrs. Patrick G. Ryan†



*Executive Committee

Former President

^Life Member



Wine Advisors

Robert H. Bacon, Jr. ^

Daniel Baskes

Allan E. Bulley, Jr.^

Allan E. Bulley, III

Rebecca Courtright

William Courtright

James S. Crown

Michael Davis

Don Edwards

Ken Fredrickson

John Hart ^

Veronica Hastings

Barbara Hermann

Todd Hess

Steven E. Hirsch

John W. Jordan, II

Stephen A. Kaplan ^

Mary Beth Liccioni

Kevin Mohalley

Evan Noyes

John M. Richman ^

James L. Sandner

Joseph Spellman

Carl Stern

Larry Stone

Jim TenBroek

Carl D. Thoma

Jack Weiss



^ Advisor Emeritus




On February 7, 2015, Lyric Opera will welcome over 500 international wine collectors, civic leaders, wine and food enthusiasts, as well as members of the press for an intimate evening in the historic Civic Opera House. Press coverage for Wine Auction 2015 will be distributed worldwide through multiple websites, social media and international wine media.

With limited seating, the Wine Auction 2012 sold-out via table sponsorships months prior to the event. Don’t miss this chance to join a distinguished roster of sponsors. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of Wine Auction 2015, please contact Erin Koppel at
(312) 827-5674 or


Presenting Sponsor

Golden Grand Benefactors


Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Noyes

Mrs. Lisbeth Stiffel

Nancy S. Searle



Honored Guest


Lyric Opera of Chicago is pleased to welcome M. David Launay from the historical Château Gruaud Larose as Wine Auction 2015 Honored Guest. The previous two auctions celebrated the wines of Champagne and Burgundy; it’s quite exciting to showcase the significant wine region of Bordeaux and all its glorious renown!


Château Gruaud Larose

Château Gruaud Larose has the special distinction of being a single, contiguous vineyard whose boundaries have not changed since the 18th century. It is named after the two people who were responsible for creating the estate. In 1725, an abbot, Father Gruaud, bought 50 hectares of land and planted vines there. His nephew, Chevalier de Larose, inherited the property in 1781 and the vineyard grew to 80 hectares under his ownership. Seeing as he had no heirs, Gruaud Larose was jointly purchased by two families at an auction in 1812. However, their relations soured, and the vineyard was divided into two parts in 1865. In 1934, the Cordier family reunited the estate.

It has belonged to the Merlaut family since 1997. They have introduced sustainable development and organic farming methods in the vineyard. The land consists of rises of deep Garonne gravel from the Quaternary Period (about 700,000 years ago) where the Cabernet Sauvignon is the king – as befits a wine whose motto is “The Wine of Kings, The King of Wines”.

Château Gruaud Larose is one of the most historic estates in the Médoc region of France. Its size has hardly changed through the centuries and it deserves its second growth status in the 1855 classification more than ever.


David Launay

Representing Château Gruaud Larose is David Launay. He travels all over the world promoting the wines of the Château. Mr. Launay has a degree in Viticulture and Oenology (BTS) and worked for 4 years as a wine broker and importer in Hong Kong before moving back to Bordeaux to work for the Château.

Born in Cholet in the Maine-et-Loire region of France, David Launay has a real passion for gastronomy, as well as wine.

David loves physical fitness and pushing himself to the limit. He has successfully finished five marathons, including the New York marathon and two 62 mile hikes in Hong Kong. 


Area under vine    82 hectares (202.54 acres)
Production 180 000 bottles per year
Soil Garonne gravel from the 1st and 2nd Mindel glacial stages
Grape varieties   61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 5%Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc 
Barrel Ageing 18 months – New barrels : 65%
Second wine Larose de Gruaud / Sarget de Gruaud




Auction Lots 


Wine Auction 2015 will entice 500 guests from around the world to bid on a dazzling array of carefully selected wines, renowned restaurants and luxury items, all unique and of the highest caliber. With stunning auction displays, an unsurpassed list of wine advisors and a proud history of distinguished Honored Guests, Lyric Opera’s Wine Auction is the premiere Midwest wine auction.

The silent auction will take place in the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer of the Civic Opera House during the Champagne Reception followed by a spirited live auction will take place on the main stage of the Ardis Krainik Theatre.

Take a peak at the Wine Auction 2012 interactive catalog to get a glimpse of the delights in store for Wine Auction 2015!

Amazing auction lots for 2015 will be featured on this page soon.


Past Wine Auctions



In early 1987, the leadership of the Women’s Board set out to achieve four important goals:

Engage the entire Women’s Board in a project where they could work together and form lasting relationships and deep connection to Lyric Opera

Bring favorable, new, global media attention to the company, and its world-class productions

Create new audiences, donors, and friends of Lyric Opera

And, by the request of Ardis Krainik, net $100,000 for the project (remember, this is 1987!)

All of the members plunged into the world of wine. One connection led to another, to another, and voila! Robert Mondavi was the first honored guest. The high standard was set in style and substance (an astonishing $218,000 was raised). The ladies never looked back. Twenty-five years after the Wine Auction was born by these creative geniuses, their tradition of innovation and commitment to keeping it fresh and vital remains.


Click here to view Lyric's "Celebrating 10 Auctions" brochure.





Honored Guest:
Richard Geoffroy,
Dom Pérignon

Mrs. Susan Blankenbaker Noyes





Honored Guest:
Pierre-Henry Gagey,
Maison Louis Jadot

Mrs. William A. Osborn,
Nancy S. Searle




Honored Guest:
Prince and Princess Robert of Luxembourg, Châteaux Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion, Domaine Clarence Dillon

Mrs. Christopher C. Milliken



Honored Guest:
Marchese Piero Antinori, Marchesi Antinori S.r.l.

Mrs. James C. Pritchard,
Mrs. T. Kimball Brooker



Honored Guest:
Madame May-Eliane de Lencquesaing, Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
Zelma Long, Long Vineyards
Teresa Severini Lungarotti, Cantine Lungarotti

Mrs. James J. O’Connor



Honored Guest:
Count and Countess Paolo Marzotto,
Santa Margherita Estate S.P.A.

Nancy S. Searle



Honored Guest:
Monsieur et Madame Jean-Michel Cazes,Château Lynch-Bages

Mrs. Lester Crown,
Mrs. R. Robert Funderburg


Die Fledermaus - Juliane Banse


Honored Guest:
Monsieur et Madame Jean-Claude Rouzaud, House of Champagne Louis Roederer

Mrs. Paul W. Oliver, Jr.



Honored Guest:
Comte Alexandre De Lur Saluces,
Château de Fargues Sauternes, France

Mrs. Jane Duboise Gargiulo



Honored Guest:
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Mondavi, Robert Mondavi Winery

Mrs. R. Robert Funderburg



News & Media



Press Releases

"Named in the Top 10 Wine Charities of 2012" by Wine Spectator 

Wine Auction 2012 nets a record $1.8 million 



Video Gallery

Time Lapse Video from 2012 Wine Auction

Contact Us


For tickets

Be sure to reserve yours before it’s too late! Tickets sell out months before the auction. Call the Women’s Board office at the information below.


For wine collectors considering a donation

Have you come to the realization that you have more wine than it is ever possible to drink in a lifetime? Perhaps your tastes have evolved beyond the special bottles that are currently in your cellar? Please consider working with Lyric Opera to find wonderful new homes for your bottles.

*Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.



For more information about donations or ticket inquiries, 
please contact 
the Women’s Board office at (312) 827-5682 or