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Signs of an Economic Recovery? A Pulse-Racing Four Days of AHA Events

The American Heart Association’s annual charity gala features $2,000 tickets and $22,000 trips.

Photograph courtesy of iStockPhoto.

The American Heart Association tonight begins not a one-day or two-day fundraiser, but a four-day extravaganza of wine tastings, dinners, auctions and a gala. The tickets range in price from $250 up to $2,000 per person. Yes, we see this as another sign of economic recovery—or at least a way to become poorer fast but with a good buzz on.

Tonight’s event, at Charlie Palmer Steak, costs $500 per person and is a chance for Washington wine connoisseurs to bring, show off, and share bottles from their own collections. Tomorrow offers a series of wine dinners, including an Opus One dinner at Bourbon Steak, a Mouton Rothschild dinner at the French ambassador’s residence, and a Banfi dinner at the Occidental. These precious seats go for anywhere from $400 to $2,000 per person.

Friday is the gala vintner’s dinner at the Mellon Auditorium. It’s $1,000 per person. Master of ceremonies Bill Plante of CBS News, quite a wine collector himself, will guide guests through a meal paired with fine wines. The event includes a live auction, and one of the items up for bid, a so-called “trip of a lifetime” to Australia and New Zealand, has an estimated value of $22,000. There’s also a jeroboam of Chateau Mouton Rothschild from the epic 2000 vintage, estimated at $10,000. There are items at lower estimates, but not a whole lot lower.

Saturday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, the AHA hosts an afternoon-and-evening-long “grand tasting and auction.” Tickets for this event range from $250 to $400, not counting the almost 400 auction items available, ranging from wines, of course, to wine meals at restaurants both near and far—for example, a dinner party for 12 at McLean’s Cafe Oggi, estimated at $1,000; or a weekend in Los Angeles, courtesy of Sofitel, starting at $850; or a seven-night stay for two at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia, with a value of $5,100.

Bottom line: Check your bank account, check your credit card balance, and—given that this is the American Heart Association, check your pulse—then cheers!

For more on the event and what’s for sale, visit the auction’s website.

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