As outlined in yesterday's tasting article about Castello di Ama, Italy was the theme of last night's wine gala in aid of the stunningly well-run literacy charity Room to Read. In the article I listed the great wines to be served at the dinner for 215 in Drapers' Hall that were supplied by Ferrari, Antinori, Planeta, Ornellaia, Castello di Ama, Tasca d'Almerita and Allegrini. Feedback so far is that the wines were the best ever. And it was all made logistically possible by Liberty Wines, who assembled, stored and delivered the wines. A big thank you to all in the wine business involved.
Founder and cheerleader John Wood, aided by suave auctioneer Hugh Edmeades of Christie's, managed to winkle the amazing total of £2.2 million out of the assembled company and more pledges are still coming in.
Castello di Ama donated not just wine but the first auction lot, a weekend of wine and art on their beautiful Chianti Classico estate, that raised almost £20,000. The auction lot that raised the most, £70,000, was, almost incredibly, a dance class with Ed Balls and his dance partner Katya Jones. It is difficult to believe that Balls was until quite recently Britain's shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. If Labour had won the last general election – by no means a fanciful idea – he would have been in charge of our country's finances. In the event, he lost his parliamentary seat, wrote an autobiography, and is currently a contestant on the hugely popular BBC series Strictly Come Dancing, competing somewhat gingerly via waltzes and charlestons on the dance floor.
The picture above was taken just before the start of the evening in the drawing room of Drapers' Hall. We were asked to fill in the background. Ed's sister-in-law Erica Wax is on the extreme right, Sarah Myers Cornaby of Room to Read in London on the left, me in the middle.