More than 700 wine buyers from around the world gathered in California at the weekend for the annual Premiere Napa Valley Auction, America’s leading wine futures auction.
$3.9 million was raised at the auction. which is the culmination of a week of tastings and workshops across Napa Valley, up on the 2019 auction total of almost $3.7 million.
It sees fine wine buyers bid on one-off blends from the 2018 vintage – each of the lots feature as few as 60 and no more than 240 bottles of wine, with each bottle hand-numbered and signed by the winemaker.
The auction saw a record 71 winning bidders, including 17 new buyers, with the proceeds going to the Napa Valley Vintners’ mission to promote, protect and enhance the Napa Valley.
For many this was the first opportunity to taste wines from the 2018 vintage, which is being roundly celebrated.
‘The 2018 vintage that we have been tasting this week just makes me crazy,’ said successful bidder Gregor Greber, founder & proprietor of NapaWine LTD in Zurich, Switzerland. ‘The backbone, power, structure and intensity reminds me of some of the best wines. It’s outstanding.’
Brian Phillips, wine director of Darden Restaurant Group, added: ‘Ultimately, I think it’s just a well-rounded, beautiful vintage that is showing great aromatics, colour concentration and a textured finish. I know everyone competes with all their specific lots, but I think the mutual sharing and openness really shows in the community of Napa Valley.’
Wineries participating in the auction included Rudd Estate, Darioush, Shafer Vineyards, Silver Oak, Lewis Cellars, Duckhorn Vineyards and Robert Mondavi Winery.
The most expensive wine on the day was the Rudd Estate’s Leslie’s Block Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, which went under the hammer at $2,000 a bottle for a lot of 60 bottles. The average bottle price across the auction was $215, down marginally from the $219 fetched in 2019.
‘We’re happy with how well the entire week went and are grateful for the auction’s final results,’ said Linda Reiff, president and CEO of the Napa Valley Vintners.