L’Amour Du Vin
For Wine and Art
We were pretty blown away when we got the invitation to be one of the featured vintners at L’Amour du Vin. After all, wineries participating in this fundraiser for The Knoxville Museum of Art in the past include Spottswoode, Rudd Estate, Vineyard 7 & 8 and Martinelli, to name a few. Plus, the three-day event is held in partnership with the award-winning Blackberry Farm in Knoxville, Tennessee, a Relais & Chateaux property that’s on every foodie’s bucket list.
So yeah, we were pretty psyched to join the party this year. Especially since we got to hang out with our friend Michael Browne from Kosta-Browne and CIRQ, also a featured vintner. And when we learned that the chef was going to be Patrick O’Connell, the proprietor/chef from The Inn at Little Washington (another foodie destination), that was the icing on the cake.
“It was awesome, no doubt,” says Juan, who represented Realm at the March event. “The Blackberry Inn and the museum folks put on one heck of a party, first class in every way. It was such an honor to be invited.”
With three events scheduled over the three days, there was plenty of time for eating, drinking and schmoozing. For Juan it was somewhat of a reunion; he’d met Sam Beall, proprietor of Blackberry Farm, back at a wine auction in 2005. Sam acts as a kind of master of ceremonies at L’Amour, introducing chefs and vintners as well as the featured artist, who this year was glass artist Richard Jolley.
“It was great to hang out with Sam again; he’s such a great guy, definitely one of the reasons this event is so successful,” says Juan. Another highlight was getting to know Patrick O’Connell better. “I’d met him before but got to spend more time with him in Knoxville, which was fantastic.”
2014 was the 11th year of L’Amour du Vin, and the event, which raises millions of dollars for The Knoxville Museum of Art, has definitely become one of the premier food and wine events in the country. “Blackberry Farm’s involvement early on really elevated the event,” says Carla May Paré, the Manager of L’Amour du Vin, who – we might add – flawlessly orchestrates a very complex event with many moving parts. “And having Michael and Juan there this year was phenomenal. They are so kindhearted and generous. Our true wine enthusiasts loved having them and they definitely added to the liveliness of the event.”
To Sam, Patrick, Carla and everyone who worked so hard behind the scenes to pull off this event, the crew at Realm says thanks for everything! We loved it!
Photo Above: from left to right, Michael Browne of Kosta Browne and CIRQ, artist Richard Jolley and Juan Mercado display three etched, hand-painted large format bottles featuring artwork by Jolley. The bottles were auctioned off – along with a dinner for twenty in the bidder’s home featuring the wines of Realm, Kosta Browne and CIRQ – and brought in one of the top five bids of the evening.