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Private Equity Perspective: From Wine What Sudden Friendship Springs

Last updated: Private Equity Perspective

Hundreds of dealmakers will share wine and networking at ACG New York's gala on Nov. 20

Wine offers “constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy,” said Benjamin Franklin. Wine is “one of the most civilized things in the world,” said Ernest Hemingway. But it was the 18th century writer John Gay who may have said it best when he wrote, “From wine what sudden friendship springs.” No wonder Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) chapters are hosting so many wine tastings!

The New York chapter was one of the earliest to embrace wine tasting as a networking activity. On Nov. 20, ACG New York celebrates its 11th Annual Private Equity Wine Tasting Gala, held at Gotham Hall, the classic former headquarters of Greenwich Savings Bank.

“Wine has always been a social lubricant,” says Clifton Yen, director, AlixPartners, and chair of the
event. “Sharing a bottle of wine or champagne is a traditional way to celebrate the
closing of a deal,” says Yen. “Wine fits the historical Wall Street culture.”

Yen points out that many of the private equity partners who attend the gathering take great pride in the wines they present. The spirit of friendly competition is in the air. “The private equity firms try to present the best wines possible,” explains Yen.

Memorable wines served at past ACG New York galas include Chateaux Margaux 1989, poured by NewStar Financial Inc.’s Patrick McAuliffe and Mark du Four (pictured), and Valdicava Brunello di Montalcino 1999, presented by Pouschine Cook Capital Management LLC’s Bonnie Harland.

The wine tasting is “part networking, part fun and a bit of a holiday celebration,” says Yen. It is the
most well-attended event hosted by ACG New York all year. The 2012 event, which had been rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy, drew 970 dealmakers. The feedback Yen received from attendees was to trim it.

The 2013 gala will be capped at 850 guests. New York is far from alone.

“Currently 26 of our 56 chapters host a wine or beer tasting,” reports Leslie Whittet, vice president,
chapter operations, ACG Global.

Southern California dealmakers ring in the new year with samplings of world-class wines on Jan.14,
when ACG Orange County presents the 12th Annual Private Equity Event, at the swanky St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, Calif. In vino veritas!


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