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 Houston Symphony

2017 Wine Dinner and Collector’s Auction:

An Intimate Wine Cave Experience


Photography by Wilson Parish & Jenny Antill

On Friday, March 10, 2017 the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts set the scene for Houston Symphony’s 2017 Wine Dinner and Collector’s Auction titled “An Intimate Wine Cave Experience.” Celebrating its sixteenth year, the annual gala supports The Houston Symphony’s education and community programming. This year’s glittering event was chaired by Tara and David Wuthrich with Margaret Alkek Williams as honorary chair and Bob Weiner as Collector’s Auction chair.


The 300 assembled guests began the evening with a cocktail hour, during which they explored the Collector’s Auction and were serenaded by guitarist Mark Moore. Wines served during the cocktail hour included Louis de Sacy Brut, Longboard Rochioli Vineyards Chardonnay, and Garagista Malbec.  With over 135 lots, attendees had their choice of bidding on rare and spectacular wines, various spirits, fabulous trips, spectacular dinners, and thrilling experiences. One of the more exciting items was the raffle for a curated collection of 12 special wines rated 100 points. The idea belonged to Dr. Devinder Bhatia and proved to be enormously successful. It, alone, raised $13,100 and was won by Rey Ocanas.


Following cocktails, the black-tie crowd was ushered through vined archways adorned with twinkle lights until they were greeted by large wooden doors leading onto the Jones Hall stage. To their surprise, they found themselves in what appeared to be a wine cave filled with perfectly appointed tables. The transformation from stage to cave, the brainchild of Tara Wuthrich, was made possible by Richard Flowers and The Events Company and the Houston Symphony’s operations team. Tables were covered in candles and white floral arrangements.

The Houston Symphony was proud to honor Jackson Hicks, of Jackson and Company, on the occasion of his retirement, for his extraordinary contributions to the performing and visual arts community in Houston. Houston Symphony Society Board President, Steven P. Mach, thanked Jackson for being a trail blazer who created a new approach to event production.


Dinner featured four delectable courses by Jackson and Company, which complemented the intimate atmosphere. To begin, diners were treated to seared ahi tuna medallions and flatbread shards paired with Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay and Domaine des Berthiers Pouilly Fume (2014). The second course included filet mignon with a foie gras mousse medallion and a duxelles pastry pinwheel with whipped truffle potatoes, baby carrots, and asparagus paired with Château Lagrange Saint Julien (2008) and Yao Ming Napa Cabernet. A cheese course paired with Champy Volnay (2011) followed. Then came a gorgeous offering of delectable desserts, including apple rose tart served with cinnamon ice cream and carma croquant, and Jackson’s Chocolate Truffles.


The exceptional wine pairings were selected by Lindy and John Rydman and Lisa Rydman of Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods, as wells as Tara and David Wuthrich.


The magical evening raised over $485,000 for the education and community activities of the musicians of the Houston Symphony.


Guests: Cora Sue and Harry Mach, Joella and Steve Mach, Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Judith Vincent, Janet F. Clark, Brooks Tutor,  Margaret Alkek Williams and Jim Daniel, Robin Angly and Miles Smith, Danielle and Joshua Batchelor, Anne and Andrew Calder, Viviana and David Denechaud, Christie and Billy McCartney, Christina and Mark Hanson, Beth Wolff, Farida Abjani and Rosemin Premji.


About Houston Symphony

Founded in 1913 the Houston Symphony has played a central role in Houston’s cultural and civic life for more than 100 years and is now one of America's oldest performing arts organizations. 


Today, the Houston Symphony’s 87 musicians perform approximately 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. The season, which starts in September and runs through May, includes 18 classical concerts, 9 BBVA Compass POPS concerts, 4 family concerts and a number of Symphony Specials. The Symphony also offers a Sugar Land Series at Sugar Land Baptist Church and often performs in The Woodlands at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. 


Its mission is to inspire and engage a large and diverse audience in Greater Houston and beyond through exceptional orchestral and non-orchestral performances, educational programs, and community activities. 

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