Wine auctioneer Ursula Hermacinski has left her position as director of Christie's Los Angeles wine department. Hermacinski joined Christie's in 1984 as a secretary to the rug department, eventually working her way into wine. Her outgoing manner and impressive skills with a gavel have since made her one of the nation's top wine auctioneers.
"Personally and professionally, I've taken it as far as I can," said the 37-year-old Hermacinski. After New York's wine laws changed, Hermacinski helped Christie's enter that new and lucrative auction market in 1995. Two years later, she opened Christie's first Los Angeles wine department. "Those years were so exciting," she recalled. "Now all of a sudden, the excitement is outside the castle walls."
Hermacinski suffered a setback in 1997 when she was seriously injured in a car accident. "My first priority is still my health," she noted. "Recovery takes a lot longer than I thought it would." During a three-month medical leave of absence last summer, the auctioneer had time to reflect upon her career.
"I couldn't do it all," she said, "the job at Christie's, my personal life, the charity auctions and my health."
However, Hermacinski is not bowing out of wine. "I'm passionate about the wine business," she explained, but would not reveal her plans for the immediate future. "I will no longer be a mainstay on the traditional wine auction circuit--and I stress the word 'traditional.' But that doesn't mean I'm going away. I have commitments into the millennium."
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