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Auction Napa Valley smashes record

Auction Napa Valley, the annual charity auction, has raised US$16.9m, far exceeding the previous record of US$10.5m set in 2005.

In three-and-a-half hours of intense bidding on Saturday at the Meadowood hotel in St Helena, the 33rd edition of the event raised a record US$14.3m, bringing the total — combined with the online auction and the barrel auction — to US$16.9m.

Exclusive experiences, expensive cars and travel-oriented lots dominated the offerings and drove sales skyward.

The highest-earning single lot was from Korean-owned Dana Estates. When the bidding, fuelled by fist-pumping and pompom-waving, reached US$500,000 Dana doubled the package—which included three double magnums and a seven-day trip for four to South Korea – bringing the total to over US$1m.

Bill and Deborah Harlan, whose lot stayed focused on their wine — a 20-vintage retrospective tasting of Harlan Estate for eight people— came in second at US$800,000 with fellow Napa cult winery Screaming Eagle not far behind, offering a single 12-litre bottle of vintage 2010 that went for US$500k.

Friday’s barrel auction of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon from 2011 and 2012, held at Raymond Vineyards in St Helena, was as competitive. Fans of Shafer proved unwavering, paying US$78,000 for a barrel (10 cases) with the highest bidder offering nearly $8,000 for 12 bottles. Realm Cellars (US$61,350) and Tim Mondavi’s Continuum (US$59,200) were not far behind.

In April, Garen Staglin of Staglin Family Vineyard, who along with his wife Shari and children Shannon and Brandon are this year’s honorary chairs, told Decanter.com that he wanted to get ‘the right people in the room’ in order to raise the most money in the history of the event – a goal that he achieved.

Shari Staglin said, ‘Even after 33 years, Auction Napa Valley still has some surprises up its sleeve. We are grateful to the bidders, the vintners and the 500 community volunteers who, year after year, work together to showcase what makes Napa Valley such a special place – good food, great wine and a community spirit unlike any other.’

Auction Napa Valley, which is organised and run by trade association Napa Valley Vintners, has donated US$110m to health, youth and affordable housing non-profit programs. Founded in 1981, the event takes place over four days in June.

Written by Courtney Humiston in Napa

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