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Napa Auction raises US$10.5m

Auction Napa Valley raised US$10.5m over the weekend - nearly double the proceeds from the year before.

For its 25th anniversary the auction, which was begun by the Napa Valley Vintners in 1981 as a platform for showcasing Napa wines and for donating to local charities, the event has been rebranded.

The new version – the revamp was designed to breathe new life into what was becoming a tired formula – includes a name change from Napa Valley Wine Auction to Auction Napa Valley. This year’s auction lasted three days and included 57 ‘mega-lots’.

Napa vintners were jubilant about the results. ‘Here we are again, completely overwhelmed by the generosity of the bidders,’ said co-chair Dan Duckhorn of Duckhorn Vineyards.

Proceeds have been declining in the past few years. After the auction hit its peak of US$9.5m in 2000, proceeds fell each year. This year’s total nearly doubled last year’s US$5.3m, down from almost US$6.5m in 2003.

‘When we started the first wine auction in Napa Valley 25 years ago, we never expected it would become a world-famous event for showcasing Napa Valley wines,’ said Margrit Mondavi, who attended with her 91-year-old husband, Robert.

Top lots included a quartet of Colgin Cellars double magnums for US$650,000, a barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon from the vineyards of brothers Robert and Peter Mondavi for US$401,000, 625 bottles from Cakebread Cellars, Chateau Montelena, Joseph Phelps, Schramsberg and Silver Oak Cellars for US$550,000.

Three double magnums of Harlan Estate went for US$400,000, three double magnums of Bond – the winery created by the Harlan family and their winemaker Bob Levy – for US$400,000, and 20 bottles of Quintessa, plus dinner and accommodations in Napa Valley for US$400,000.

The top five prices in the barrel auction were taken by Staglin Family Vineyards (US$221,000), Shafer Vineyards (US$62,050), Gemstone (US$59,550), Pride Mountain Vineyards (US$38,950), and Viader Vineyards & Winery (US$38,450).

The annual event held at the Meadowood resort in St Helena in the Napa Valley is sponsored by the Napa Valley Vintners, a nonprofit trade organization with nearly 270 member wineries. Proceeds go to local healthcare, youth and housing projects.

NB US$1.00 = €0.82

Written by Janice Fuhrman

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