Napa Valley Vintners’ Premiere Napa Valley barrel tasting and wine auction raised US$5m at the weekend – the third-highest fundraising total in the event’s 20-year history.

The Premiere Napa Valley auction 2016 included 226 unique ‘micro-lots’ of between 60 and 240 bottles each, all of them hand-labelled, individually numbered and signed by the winemaker. Nearly 200 came from the acclaimed 2014 vintage.

For the first time, wine trade bidders from all over the world were allowed to bid online for 26 of the 226 wines, via the E-Premiere Napa Valley Online Auction.

Top lots at this year’s event included wines from Italics Winegrowers, Memento Mori, Nine Suns, Realm Cellars, Shafer Vineyards, Duckhorn Vineyards and Silver Oak Cellars.

The 2016 auction coincided with the death of one of California’s wine pioneers in the 20th Century, Peter Mondavi, albeit the news was not announced until later in the weekend. There were many words of tribute on social media by Monday (22 February).

More than 1,000 wine professionals attended the event, which is open to licensed members of the trade to buy wines for their customers, and is the longest-running regional barrel auction of wine futures in the US.

‘We’re thrilled with the results and we had a great day sharing our wines with our partners in the trade,’ said Doug Shafer of Shafer Vineyards, this year’s Premiere Napa Valley steering committee chair.

‘Over the past 20 years, Premiere has helped Napa Valley’s vintners to really push the quality envelope. Because of this event, I believe we’re all making even better wines.’

Premiere Napa Valley auction down the years: