Author Archives: Marie Keep

Auctioneering for Wet Paint 2013 at Newport Art Museum

Dashing a prior forecast of clouds and rain, Saturday broke bright and beautiful as artists throughout the Newport, RI area gathered up their paints, palettes, and brushes. They headed to favorite spots within the historic village and more far-flung rugged coast line to create works of art to offer at auction at Wet Paint, a highly anticipated event organized by the Newport Art Museum. Both last year and this year I was honored to be asked to auctioneer for the event.… Read More

Wine for the Holidays: Why You Can’t Manufacture a Wine Epiphany

The holidays: they can be filled with the love, light, and laughter of families and friends; or fraught with navigating the sometimes precarious shoals of time spent with those families and friends. For me, it’s always a little bit of both.

As a fine wine appraiser with Skinner and general all-around wine enthusiast, I’m always pondering the question I know many of you debate with renewed vigor at this time of year: “Which wines should we pour?” This question is usually chased at the heels by the inevitable “how do I gauge the audience and not miss the mark?” When you’re passionate about wine, it’s easy to forget that not everyone out there appreciates it to the same extent.

Mature Wine vs. Young Wine: How Age Comes to Bear

There are few moments in the hectic tide of everyday life when a hush falls, you focus fully on one thing, and the world seems to stop. Drinking a mature wine as it is blooming in the glass can be one of those unexpected moments of transcendence. Granted, it is, after all, just a sip of a beverage, but the unexpected nature of the experience makes it that much more delightful.

Surprise and Adventure at Auction: A Wine Buying Guide

The worlds of auction and wine were destined to collide; both embrace a spirit of connoisseurship, a sense of adventure, the thrill of the chase, and a certain amount of whimsical gratification. Wine auctions are great fun, though entering the wine auction world may feel intimidating at first. This wine buying guide offers six brief strategies to get you started on what I hope will be a thrilling lifelong pursuit.

Behind the Scenes at Skinner: The Craft of Wine Photography

Throughout the gathering phase of assembling wine for sale at auction, much needs to be accomplished in order to prepare the catalogue. My days are spent shaping consigned collections into desirable lots, taking a multitude of condition reports on individual bottles, documenting dates and places, and annotating catalogue descriptions with critics’ notes. Only as the cataloguing process nears completion can I begin what is perhaps the most creative and fun phase of the auction preparation process: the photography.

The Yankee Cellar: A Memory Palace of Fine and Rare Wines

The qualities of the New England ‘Yankee Cellar’ are parts travelogue, family chronicle, and individual taste, which usually evolves over time. As a visitor to this kind of cellar, I am often impressed by the personal nature of the layout. Binning and organization are driven by eras of collecting, trips taken to the world’s classic wine regions in France, Italy and Germany, which influenced subsequent buying patterns. Bottles and cases are stored with a layout akin to a memory palace – making sense to the collector, but little to others.

Quality in Wine

If the concept of ‘quality’ in wine was rendered visually, consider it a triptych – the view on the left a vineyard, the middle scene the wine making process, and finally, the third view – the wine’s performance in your glass. The definitions of the three concepts can be incredibly broad and somewhat exhausting. To do justice to defining quality in wine, it’s tempting to contort language to simultaneously cover such vast subjects as history, terroir, geneology, culture, philosophy, but I won’t!