Wine News / June 11, 2014

Auction Napa Valley raises $18.7 million dollars for charity

Auction Napa Valley
Photo via Napa Valley Vitners

Each year, the first weekend in June, a Napa Valley tradition comes to life. The Napa Valley Wine Auction began in 1981. Robert Mondavi, inspired by a French charity wine auction, called Hospices de Beaune, suggested to his fellow vintners that it might be fun to do something along the same lines in Napa Valley, to help the local community in need. The Napa Valley Wine Auction was born.

Barrel Room at Auction Napa Valley
Photo via Napa Valley Vitners

Since then, over $120 million dollars has been raised and given back to community health and children’s education. It also just might be among the world’s greatest parties, because when people are having a good time, well, their wallets just seem to open wide!

It’s a long weekend festivities, winery dinners and events, culminating in the grand auction at Meadowood resort. This year, the wine sisters were lucky enough to attend our personal favorite event, the Barrel Auction. Set at Charles Krug Winery, the oldest winery in Napa Valley and a national historic landmark, the day features tastings by Napa’s top chefs, gallons of well-chilled white wine, a preview of the lavish Live Auction lots and of course, the main event, bidding for barrels lots of the greatest red wines of Napa Valley.

Wine pouring at Auction Napa Valley
Photo via Napa Valley Vitners

Here’s how it works. You taste a wine you like (poured right from the barrel by the winemaker who made it), and place a bid to win a case of the wine—which you will received once it’s released (usually 12-18 months later). The excitement builds as more and more people bid on their favorites—and if it happens to be yours, too, well, you need to watch the board carefully and pony up!

Auction Napa Valley Barrel Room
Photo via Napa Valley Vitners

One of the top barrel lots was Continuum Estate, from iconic winemaker Tim Mondavi and family. The wine is a 2013 red blend, to be released in 2015. It is 100% estate-grown, mountain grown fruit from 22-year-old vines grown at 1,400 to 1,600 feet in elevation on their Pritchard Hill estate in the east Napa Valley hills. The wine was fermented in oak and concrete tanks, aged 20 months in 80% new French, oak barrels, unfined and unfiltered—meaning with minimal winemaker interference.

We were lucky enough to taste this wine with Tim, and were struck by the deft balance between fruit, tanning, oak and alcohol and heavenly texture. Many barrel samples will hit you over the head with their power, but this wine was already showing lovely integration and elegance. We would have loved to have picked up a case—however—the winning bid for the barrel was $52.750 (averages out to $4,395 a case or $366 a bottle. That’s a little out of our price range, but it’s all for a great cause!

The Original Wine Sisters at Auction Napa Valley

Next year’s Auction Napa Valley is scheduled for June 4-6, 2015. If you can’t make it, remember there’s always E-Bidding! For more information, or to get on the mailing list, visit the Napa Valley Vintners Association.


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *