John Curley

John Curley-Auctioneer

John Curley has changed the face of charity auctioneering.
Curley brings a dynamic, spellbinding energy to the nearly hundred auctions he does around the county.

He is on track to hit 100 million dollars raised for non-profits in just 6 short years.

This Emmy and Murrow Award winning broadcaster when not on stage can be head on the most listened to radio show in Seattle from 9 to noon weekdays on KIRO 97.3 FM.

This married father of three competes in Ironman and powerlifting events and saves time to coach the losingest but cutest pee wee football team you have ever seen.




Ursula Hermacinski

Ursula HermacinskiUrsula has been standing at a podium from the very start of her career at Christie’s in New York. Ursula worked as a furniture and decorations generalist until Christie’s called upon her to actualize her passion for the grape. In the mid-1990’s Ursula established Christie’s New York wine department along with their original auction partner Zachys, the Scarsdale, NY fine wine mega-retailer. The Zachys-Christie’s New York wine auctions set new standards for the American wine auction market. Ursula eventually left Christie’s and jumped into the high adventures of the arena. Her pioneering interest in online wine auctions prompted Wine Spectator to profile Ursula in its article “The Changing Face of Auctions.”

Over the years, Ursula has been invited to work most of the country’s top ten benefit wine auctions. Ursula became the first woman to take the rostrum at the world famous Napa Valley Wine Auction and continues to appear annually. In June 2013, Ursula worked the stage with to hammer down the largest Napa Valley Wine Auction total to date: $16.9 million – the country’s largest benefit wine auction total in history. Ursula works personally with record-holding baseball player Rusty Staub, presiding each year over his foundation’s wine auction, which is the country’s fourth largest. Ursula has also joined forces with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse to wield the gavel for his foundation. She has worked with Robin Williams, Michael J. Fox, Heather Locklear and Teri Hatcher, each celebrity jumping on her stage to spice up the auction action. In addition to banging a gavel, Ursula has spoken at a number of wine conferences and symposia, including the Aspen Food & Wine Festival, The International Pinot Noir Celebration and the American Institute of Wine and Food National Convention. Ursula has been featured on CNN’s Marketplace and is a frequent guest on various radio shows dealing with wine and its investment potential. Additionally, you will have seen her profiled in Wine Spectator, Decanter, Wine & Spirits, Drinks, Town & Country, and Glamour magazines. Often called upon to comment on women’s position in the wine world, her comments are found in a recent article on wine marketing to women. Along with the wine world’s most influential figures in the international wine scene, Ursula is included in Ann B. Matasar’s, Women of Wine (University of California Press). Vanity Fair magazine included her as a definition in their 2005 Wine Snob’s Dictionary.

From 2006 – 2010, Ursula held the position as Estate Manager at California’s most elusive wine property Screaming Eagle. She was chosen for this position by the new owners who recognized that her connection to the Napa Valley, as well as her experience of the world’s finest wine, was a perfect fit oversee the continuation of excellence. 

She is also the author of The Wine Lovers Guide to Auctions: The Art & Science of Buying and Selling Wine (Square One Publishers).


NAPA VALLEY, CA, AUGUST 10, 2015 – The V Foundation for Cancer Research’s annual fundraiser, The V Wine Celebration, garnered more than $10.6 million over the weekend of August 6-9 for cancer research. With an unprecedented $3 million matching grant from an anonymous donor, the total included more than $7.8 million in “fund-a-need” donations to support pediatric brain cancer research.


“There are moments in your life where you feel like everything you have done up until then leads to this one single moment,” said Julie Allegro, founder and co-chair of The V Wine Celebration. “Tonight was one of those nights. The feeling in that room – the excitement, the tears, the energy – we were all one, for a brief moment. And together, we exceeded our wildest goals and raised over $10 million, and will make a dent in finding a cure to cancer.”

This year’s V Wine Celebration gala dinner at Nickel & Nickel winery welcomed back Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski to rouse the crowd in the same way he has inspired and motivated players during his basketball coaching career. He suggested renaming The V Wine Celebration “The Winning Foundation” “because that’s what The V Foundation has done. It’s found cures. Jimmy (Valvano) was all about winning. That’s why this foundation was formed. Instead of being in his hospital room and saying, ‘I’m going to die,’ he said, ‘I’m going to win.’ “

“Everybody in this room is part of the team tonight,” he added. “Everybody will do something to help.”
The most compelling component of the auction was the fund-a-need, with more than half the guests raising their paddles to pledge donations to support research into pediatric brain cancer, the leading cause of death by disease in children.

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Fund A Need: Pediatric Brain Cancer Research

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