a c h i e v e m e n t | perfecting the art of auctioneering
Could Ursula Hermacinski be where she is today thanks to Liberace? It's possible. As the star wine auctioneer at Christie's auction house in Los Angeles and the Napa Valley Wine Auction, she is a widely admired achiever in a tough field. Originally, the six-foot Polish-American wanted to act, but she found her true calling when she attended an auction. After college, she went to work for Christie's in Manhattan. The company sent her to Los Angeles to catalog Liberace's estate, and there it drafted her to sell wine. "Back then," she recalls, "I didn't know the difference between Bordeaux and Burgundy. Half the bidders realized I knew nothing about wine; the other half assumed I knew tons. For different reasons, they all started inviting me to tastings." Hermacinski now holds the record for the highest auction price ever paid in this country for a single case of wine: $112,500 for the 1945 Château Mouton Rothschild.