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Auction Napa Valley doubles last year’s takings

The 30th annual Auction Napa Valley raised more than $8.5m, up nearly 50% on last year, but still well short of its pre-recession high.

The highest-value wine lot at last weekend’s event included eight magnums of Colgin Cellars’ Cariad, which fetched a total of $1m when Ann Colgin agreed to quadruple the amount of wine offered.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based bidder MK Koo was particularly happy to spend $200,000 on a single six-litre bottle of Screaming Eagle: ‘It was top of my list, first because it’s a great wine and second because it’s easy to carry home,’ he said.

First held in 1981, Auction Napa Valley has regained its top spot as the highest grossing charity wine auction in the US over the past couple of years.

This year’s Napa event raised more than $8.5m, ahead of the $8m raised at the Naples Winter Wine Festival in Florida in January.

Napa also outdid Naples last year – fetching $5.7m compared to $5.1m – but for the five years prior to that, the Florida event raised substantially greater sums for charity.

The record remains with Naples in 2007 at $16.5m, while Napa has only broken the $10m barrier once – in 2008, with $10.35m.

Napa Valley Vintners president Bruce Cakebread said this year’s auction might be a metaphor for the economy and the wine industry – with looming dark clouds transformed into bright sunshine when the bidding started.

Among the highlights of the event, organised by Napa Valley Vintners, was Fund a Need, which secured more than $1m in gift aid for children’s health programmes, including immunisations, literacy and protection from abuse.

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Written by Richard Woodard

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