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Auction Napa Valley takings drop by half

The economic crisis has taken its toll on the Napa Valley’s annual wine auction, which has raised the lowest total since 2004.

The three-day-long Auction Napa Valley, organised by Napa Valley Vintners, took US$5.7m – forty-five per cent down on last year

The event was more subdued than usual, attracting fewer high-rolling bidders than in past years.

Organisers abandoned the recent tradition of inviting a celebrity to open the flagship live auction event, instead calling on author and teacher Kevin Zraly as an unofficial MC.

The top lot, offered by Antica Napa Valley Antinori Family Wine Estate, raised more than US$1m after Marchese Piero Antinori tripled the lot to allow all three major bidders to win.

‘It was important for our community overall that the auction go on as planned,’ said NVV president Paula Kornell.

‘Not only in helping to prop up everyone’s spirits in a down economy – maybe providing some celebration while doing good – but the weekend affects the valley in a broader sense as well, by keeping the hospitality industry that supports the auction-goers employed.’

Local healthcare, youth and housing charities will benefit from the auction, which has raised US$85m since it began in 1981.

Written by Richard Woodard

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