Premiere Napa auction makes $1 million

Premiere Napa auction makes $1 million Specials Specials

A million dollars was raised this weekend at the Premiere Napa Valley Auction, a Californian version of the Bordeaux En Primeur barrel tastings.

The event, held on February 24 at Napa Valley's Culinary Institute of America, attracted 500 trade and media from around the world. It was preceded by a barrel-tasting of all the lots, attended by such Napa veterans as Robert Mondavi, and his son, winemaker Tim Mondavi.

More than 120 Napa wineries, from the smallest outfits to such top names as Beringer Vineyards, Clos du Val, Dalla Valle, Grgich Hills Cellar, Robert Mondavi Winery, Saintsbury, Stag's Leap Wine Cellars and many others, presented unique wines made expressly for the auction, the proceeds of which go toward development of the Napa Valley.

A total of 735 cases were sold for a total price of US$920,800 (£615,000) to 59 bidders. The most expensive lot, sold to Japanese importer Yasuhiko Kuramochi, was US$38,000 (£25,000) for five cases of a cabernet sauvignon-based blend from Lewis Cellars.

'I've been importing wines from Bordeaux and Germany for 20 years, but the last five years I've looked to Napa for the perfect Cabernet Sauvignon, and I when I tasted this wine I knew this was it,' Kuramochi said.

Other top prices were paid for five cases of Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, which went for US$36,000 (£24,000), Dalla Valle Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (five cases for US$35,000/£23,000), Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (20 cases for US$30,000/£20,000) and Chair's Lot Cabernet Sauvignon blend (five cases for US$28,000/£19,000). This last was a special cuvee from Viader Vineyards, whose owner Delia Viader chaired this year's auction.

'We hoped the Chair's Lot would create some sparks to get the fire going for the rest of the auction,' Viader said. 'This event is a great way to strengthen our partnership with our fellow members of the trade, and it gives them an opportunity to buy something truly one-of-a-kind.'