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Bid for Beirut auction organises relief for Lebanon

Published:  24 August, 2020

A new auction to provide much-needed relief for Lebanon’s struggling wine sector has drawn support from the UK wine trade, after a massive explosion decimated the country’s main port on 4 August.

Organiser Madeleine Waters said she has been overwhelmed by the support from the trade, with wines from Harpers’ columnist Tim Atkin MW’s private cellar as well as a number of other lots and experiences (such as wine dinners and tastings) being contributed.

The auction, which takes places online for three days over this upcoming weekend, aims to provide much needed support for the Lebanese wine industry which has faced massive challenges in the wake of the explosion earlier this month.

The tragic blast, caused by large amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of the city of Beirut, resulted in at least 180 deaths, 6,000 injuries, between $10 and $15 billion USD in property damage, and left an estimated 300,000 people homeless.

Wine is the main and perhaps only export of note for the country, which was already in the midst of a financial crisis before the tragedy.

“I was thinking of running an online auction, and was spurred on by George Randall of Walker & Wodehouse who messaged me and put me in touch with Gus Gluck,” commented Waters, who said she felt helpless “helpless” in the wake of the blast.

“He talked me through how he ran his successful auction for the Australian wildfires, and I set it up while I was on holiday.   

“I sent out an email to all my contacts in the trade and have been overwhelmed with people’s generosity. I have been contacted by wine lovers who have given donations from their private cellars, as well as many in the trade who have donated fantastic lots.”

As well as special and one-off wines, a number of experiential lots are also on offer.

Dinner for four is being donated by 67 Pall Mall with Ronan Sayburn MS and Tim Atkin MW providing the wines from their own cellars and acting as private sommeliers for the night.

There is also a Zoom Tasting with Olly Smith and Susy Atkins with wines supplied by Boutinot, and a session with Natasha Hughes MW on how to taste like a Master of Wine, with wines supplied by Borough Wines. 

The Bid Foir Beirut auction takes place from Friday 28 August at 9am until Monday 31 August at 6pm.

It runs online and will be taking proxy bids, where the site will bid on your behalf until it reaches your maximum limit.

All bids will go towards the re-building of Souk El Tayeb, Beirut's farmers market and a lifeline for many producers, as well as restauranteur Kamal Mouzawak’s Tawlet, which is now running an emergency kitchen feeding those in need. 

Donations will also go to Impact Lebanon, which distributes funds to vetted NGOs.