Lyric Opera announces Wine Auction 2021

Erica L. Sandner, Wine Auction Chair
Suzanne Mulshine and Eileen Murphy, Wine Auction Vice-Chairs

CHICAGO (1/6/20)Wine Auction 2021, the highly regarded triennial event organized by The Women’s Board of Lyric Opera of Chicago, will return in the spring of 2021 with the diverse wines of Maison Joseph Drouhin as the centerpiece.

Since its 1988 inception, Wine Auction has raised over $13 million in support of Lyric and its learning and engagement programs. The 13th Wine Auction will take place on Saturday, May 8, 2021, following the regular opera season and preceding the company’s annual musical theater production.

Dedicated to the diversity of Burgundy, Maison Joseph Drouhin will be the Honored Guest of Wine Auction 2021. Joseph Drouhin has been in the hands of the Drouhin family for the last 140 years, and with the fourth generation at the helm, they lead with the same passion that inspired the founder of the company. Kirkland & Ellis is the Presenting Sponsor of Wine Auction 2021. Liz Stiffel is the Catalogue Sponsor.

The Honored Guest is traditionally the focal point of Lyric’s Wine Auction, with many special lots available for auction. Other wineries that will be featured at the 2021 Wine Auction include: Blackbird Vineyards (Napa, Cal.), Château d’Esclans (La Motte en Provence, France), Cheval des Andes (Mendoza Province, Argentina), Futo Wines (Oakville, Cal.), Kistler Vineyards (Forestville, Cal.), Résonance Vineyards (Willamette Valley, Ore.), Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery (St. Helena, Cal.), and Willamette Valley Vineyards (Turner, Ore.).

This formal affair draws 400 guests and is held in Lyric’s historic Lyric Opera House, built in 1929 and renowned for its beautiful Art Deco/Art Nouveau décor. Wine Auction 2021 will commence with a reception in the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Grand Foyer, followed by an elegant dinner and live auction on The Ken Pigott Stage of the Ardis Krainik Theatre, specially expanded and decorated for the occasion. Named as one of the Top 10 US Charity Wine Auctions, this evening supports the productions and community-engagement programs of this internationally acclaimed opera company.

Following tradition, a dazzling array of curated wines, luxury items, unique dining experiences, and exquisite travel packages will be featured in the live auction. Auction items will be announced closer to the event date, but one secured highlight item will be a Magnum of 1999 Musigny, donated by Lyric’s Women’s Board in honor of the Honored Guest, Laurent Drouhin.

To add enhanced value to sponsors, the 2021 Wine Auction weekend will feature a new pre-event on Thursday, May 7. Thursday Dinners will allow Wine Auction donors to attend dinners around the city of Chicago, hosted at lavish homes with celebrity chefs and private access to one of the featured vintners, as a benefit of sponsorship.

Erica L. Sandner (Chicago) is the Wine Auction 2021 Chair, after co-chairing Wine Auction 2015 and Opening Night Opera Ball 2018. Sandner has been on Lyric’s Women’s Board since 2010 and has chaired the Women’s Board Graham Room Committee since 2016. She works as an Underwriting Manager for Brokers’ Risk, an insurance company specializing in alternative risk financing. Suzanne Mulshine (Chicago) and Eileen Murphy (Chicago) are the Wine Auction 2021 Vice Chairs. Mulshine joined Lyric’s Women’s Board in 2018 and before that, she served as President and General Counsel of Welsh, Inc. from 1993-2001 and as President of Welsh Holdings from 2001-2018. Murphy has been a Lyric Woman’s Board member since 2009 and a Lyric subscriber since 1999. During her tenure Murphy has chaired Lyric’s Annual Meeting in 2012, co-chaired the Spring Musical Celebration (Carousel) in 2015, co-chaired Opening Night Opera Ball in 2016, and served as Women’s Board Vice President of Board Activities in the 2016|17 and 2017|18 seasons.

Over the coming months, the Wine Auction 2021 committee of Lyric’s Women’s Board will solicit additional fine-wine and other luxury donations. To learn more about Wine Auction, please visit For donation or sponsorship information, please contact the Boards Office at 312-827-5676 or

About Maison Joseph Drouhin

Founded in Beaune in 1880, Maison Joseph Drouhin's cellars have spread from the historical Cellars of the Dukes of Burgundy and the Kings of France in Beaune (12th-18th centuries) to the Moulin de Vaudon, an 18th Century watermill in Chablis. A rigorous attention to detail, self-imposed discipline, a desire to learn, a rigorous sense of values, passion and daring, are the qualities that have been handed down through the generations, together with the art of winemaking and a never ending search for quality. Today, the fourth generation is at the helm. Each has his role to play in imposing the Family "Charter of Excellence".

The Joseph Drouhin Domaine was assembled parcel by parcel over the years and comprises today 73 hectares (182.5 acres) of vineyards in Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and Chablis. It is one of the most important domains in Burgundy, with more than two thirds of the vineyards classified as Premier and Grand Crus. With close to 90 different appellations, Joseph Drouhin offers a fascinating array of Burgundy terroirs in all their authenticity and subtle variations.

About Lyric

About Lyric

Lyric Opera of Chicago is committed to redefining what it means to experience great opera. The company is driven to deliver consistently excellent artistry through innovative, relevant, celebratory programming that engages and energizes new and traditional audiences.

Under the leadership of General Director, President & CEO Anthony Freud, Music Director Sir Andrew Davis, Music Director Designate Enrique Mazzola, and Special Project Advisor Renée Fleming, Lyric is dedicated to reflecting, and drawing strength from, the diversity of Chicago. Lyric offers, through innovation, collaboration, and evolving learning opportunities, ever-more exciting, accessible, and thought-provoking audience and community experiences. We also stand committed to training the artists of the future, through The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center; and to becoming increasingly diverse across our audiences, staff, programming, and artists—magnifying the welcoming pull of our art form, our company, and our city.

Through the timeless power of voice, the splendor of a great orchestra and chorus, theater, dance, design, and truly magnificent stagecraft, Lyric is devoted to immersing audiences in worlds both familiar and unexpected, creating shared experiences that resonate long after the curtain comes down.

Join us @LyricOpera on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. #Lyric2021 #LongLivePassion 

Photo: Jaclyn Simpson