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October 03, 2007
Jimmy's Gems" Online Auction to Benefit Scholarship Foundation for Wine Professionals
by Mary-Colleen Tinney

During the month of October, an online auction of auction of rare wines is being held in order to establish the Jimmy Mancbach Memorial Scholarship Foundation. The auction is sponsored by Southern Wine & Spirits in partnership with Wine Spectator.

Jimmy Mancbach was the longtime director of fine wine for Southern Wine & Spirits. Before his death in January, he reached out to his friends in the industry to express his wish of creating a scholarship program for up-and-coming fine wine professionals. Proceeds of the auction will fund young wine professionals to work side-by-side with renowned winemakers during harvest.

"Jimmy was this incredible wine salesman and educator," said Jean Arnold Sessions, president of Hanzell Vineyards in Sonoma. "During his life, he put together a portfolio of great wines that he called Jimmy's Gems. Southern Wine & Spirits and the Wine Spectator, along with a group of us who are members of the board of directors for the Jimmy Mancbach Memorial Scholarship Foundation, put together a wine auction that includes extraordinary lots of wines that were donated by all his friends in honor of Jimmy and his vision."

There are 450 cases of magnums available in the auction and several "lifestyle" lots. Select wine lots were available for bidding on October first, with bidding on the lifestyle lots to be opened on October 15th. The auction is a one-time-only event, though the foundation expects the proceeds to fund the scholarship program for about 10 to 15 years, said Arnold Sessions.

"This is all just to fund two young people who are wine students to come work with winemakers at harvest time," said Arnold Sessions. "The scholarship is for anyone in the industry interested in learning about wine in their life, they could be in schools, working as a restaurant servers, in retail or even as a distributor salesperson. Jimmy wanted them to have the opportunity that he had, to not only watch harvest but to work hand in hand with the independent, artisan winemakers. We hope that we can set it up so that the earning interest can pay for the students to come out for many years."

Included in the auction are special Signature Cuvees from Au Bon Climat, Loring Wine Company, Schrader Cellars, and Soter Vineyards. Other lots for the one-time global auction include large rare bottles, vertical collections and special selections from Jimmy's personal cellar. Donations were made from wineries such as Colgin Cellars, Grace Family Vineyards, Hanzell Vineyards, Kistler, Marcassin and Screaming Eagle.

The "lifestyle" category includes travel packages, winery guesthouse accommodations, cooking classes and dinners prepared by chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, Daniel Boulud, Michael Chiarello, Traci Des Jardins, Norman Van Aiken and Kerry Simon. A walk-on role in an upcoming Gold Circle Films production is also part of the auction.

The auction catalog is available at www.jimmymancbachscholarship.com. While select lots are already open, general auction bidding will begin October 15th and conclude the last week of October.

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