What do Mattias Ekholm’s favorite things, a guitar signed by Charlie Daniels and a relaxing spa package all have in common? These were just a few of the extensive silent auction items guests could bid on at the Nashville Predators Foundation’s Ninth Annual Wine Festival and Tasting presented by King Jewelers and Maserati Bentley Rolls-Royce of Nashville held on Thursday, April 24.
Festival goers had the opportunity to sample more than 200 different wines, beers, spirits and hors d’oeuvres over the ice at Bridgestone Arena in addition to trying their luck in the silent auction. All of the proceeds from the winning bids went straight to the Nashville Predators Foundation, funding several hundred thousands of dollars in grants to Nashville and Middle Tennessee-area charities and community service organizations.
During the festival, guests were able to savor samples while speaking to employees of the various vineyards and distilleries, giving guests an opportunity to learn about the tasty beverages. For fans of both country music and wine, Arrington Vineyards, located about 30 minutes south of Nashville, brought along its KB 511 Cabernet Sauvignon as one of its four wine options. KB 511 is from the private reserve of Kix Brooks, part owner of the vineyard and half of the popular country group Brooks and Dunn. Brooks opened Arrington with winemakers John Russell and Kip Summers in 2007 and will celebrate the local favorite’s seventh birthday in July.
“You get to meet so many people and I get to learn a lot from Kip,” Arrington
Vineyards Manager Katie Starnes said. “He comes through the tasting room and has so much knowledge. He can tell you everything about the wine – from its history, to where the grape came from, to where it was originally made – it’s really interesting.”
This is the first year that Starnes has attended the event, and was pleasantly surprised that most of the companies present were local.
The delicious drinks were not the only locals represented. A majority of the people pouring the beverages for sampling were volunteers from around Nashville.
“I love the Nashville Predators, so I always like to come around,” Lacie Dunn, a volunteer through Hands on Nashville, said. “It’s for a good cause, so I thought it would be good to donate my time.”
Dunn, whose mother used to work for non-profits, grew up volunteering and always welcomes an opportunity to help in the community.
The sense of community is another part of what made guests flock to Bridgestone Arena for a fun evening and a chance to relax with an event that is not usually associated with hockey teams or held in an arena venue.
“I think it’s great to support the Predators Foundation,” Justin Bradford, host of Penalty Box Radio on 102.5 The Game, said. “I know the players, fan base, coaching staff; everyone loves to be a part of it. It also gives people an opportunity to get together, especially now during the off- season, to taste some different wines and drinks they wouldn't normally have had the chance to, like a lot of the local brews and spirits.”
Because of the successful event and the help of the vendors, volunteers and guests of the Festival, the Preds Foundation will be able to continue to make a difference at various charities and organizations throughout the mid-state.
For more information on the Predators Foundation and upcoming fundraisers, visit nashvillepredators.com/foundation.