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Mondavi not forgotten as Napa auction hits high

Tributes to the late Robert Mondavi helped push last weekend's Auction Napa Valley totals to their second highest ever despite the weakened economy in the US.

The weekend’s activities raised US$10.35m – all of which will go to local charities.

The event began on Friday with tastings and a barrel auction. On Saturday evening, nearly 1,000 people assembled for the first lots of the main auction.

Celebrity attendees included Oprah Winfrey and Jey Leno. The latter opened proceedings on Saturday evening.

Much of the focus, however, fell on the late Robert Mondavi. Peter Mondavi, Robert’s once estranged brother, paid tribute to the Napa doyen. He also introduced a short video about the legendary winemaker before lot 44, which was to have been a 95th birthday celebration dinner, was presented.

The lot had been turned into a tribute dinner for 90 successful bidders, to be held at Copia in Napa on 28 June. The dinner will be hosted by nine vintners and five top chefs.

Since 1981 Auction Napa Valley has donated nearly $78m to healthcare as well as education and housing for Napa residents.

Written by Becky Sue Epstein

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