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Rare Shafer wine collection tops Napa ‘library’ auction

Bidders have poured more than $900,000 into an auction of rare library wines from the cellars of top Napa Valley names, including Shafer, Opus One and Screaming Eagle.

Bids from around the world saw an auction of Napa Valley library wines – sourced direct from winery cellars – generate $933,000 in proceeds, according to organiser Napa Valley Vintners.

Top lot was a 15-magnum collection of Shafer’s Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, spanning every vintage from 2000 to 2014 inclusive, according to results listed by auction host Zachys.

Shafer’s lot fetched $42,000 in the sale, which opened for several days of online bidding before culminating in a live-streamed auction at the weekend.

Close behind, three lots each fetched $40,000, including:

  • Five six-litre ‘imperials’ of Opus One spanning five decades, and including the wine’s debut 1979 vintage – plus a tasting with winemaker Michael Silacci;
  • Ten magnums of Bryant Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from 2005 to 2014 inclusive;
  • Three magnums from Screaming Eagle’s 2015 vintage – including the winery’s flagship Cabernet, plus its ‘The Flight’ bottling and its Sauvignon Blanc.

Beyond that, a 25-strong collection of wines produced by celebrated winemaker Thomas Brown Rivers fetched $36,000.

Magnums and double magnums from the 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 vintages dominated the collection, which included Schrader Cellars.

Almost 500 online bidders from 12 countries competed for one of the auction lots, with almost 350 tuning in for the live sale, said Napa Valley Vintners (NVV).

Among the other results, a five-magnum collection of Harlan Estate sold for $24,000, including the 1997, 2001, 2002, 2007 and 2013 vintages. All were previously rated 100 points by Robert Parker Jr.

A single 12-litre bottle of Sloan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from the highly regarded 2012 vintage sold for $15,000.

Auction proceeds will go towards programmes to ‘promote, protect and enhance’ Napa Valley, said the NVV.

Its president and CEO, Linda Reiff, said the auction exceeded funding targets. ‘Our rich history of winemaking excellence was on display for the world to see and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the results.’

Jeff Zacharia, Zachys’ president, said, ‘This auction showcased the calibre of age-worthy wines Napa Valley is known for and demonstrated that collectors around the world believe in the investment value of the Napa Valley name.’

The NVV added this year’s Premiere Napa Valley barrel auction will be held from 1-5 June.

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