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Premiere Napa Valley one third up on last year

The 14th annual Premiere Napa Valley auction exceeded expectations, generating U$1.918m, a 30% increase on last year.

This year’s 200-lot event took place last weekend at the Greystone campus of the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, California.

Each year the Napa Valley Vintners invite its 375 members to donate a uniquely crafted wine for the exclusively trade auction.

The positive tone of this year’s event was a contrast to last year.

PNV chair Jeff McBride of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars said, ‘PNV was a great success this year. The leaders of the trade are viewing 2010 as an opportunity to continue their involvement with Napa Valley and to enhance it.’

He added, ‘there was also quite a number of new successful bidders from the trade.’

Most of the lots were 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon. Five cases of Shafer – the ‘trophy lot’ – went to Winebid.com for U$37,000. Shafer’s winemaker Elias Fernandez said, ‘to wind up as a top lot in a setting with so many great wines means a lot.’

Ovid’s 5-case allotment was the second highest valued, selling to Capitol Cellars for U$33,000.

Lewis Cellars sold for five cases to Nakagawa Trading Company of Japan for U$30,000. Duckhorn also generated U$30,000, for a 20-case allotment.

Of the 58 registered bidders, Gary Fisch of Gary’s Wine in New Jersey was top bidder, spending U$392,000 on 275 cases.

He was followed by Nakagawa Trading Company at U$179,000. Third top buyer was Napa’s local Bounty Hunter wine bar, with 11 lots

The event was a judged a success, with cautious optimism the abiding sentiment.

Rutherford winery Alpha Omega’s Robin Baggett summed it up. ‘This was very positive news and should be an indicator for good things to come in 2010.’

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Written by Cheryl Lincoln in San Francisco

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