Premiere Napa Valley raises $3.9m

Excitement ran high at this year’s Premiere Napa Valley, as lots of the lauded 2018 vintage went under the hammer.

Premiere Napa Valley/Credit: Alexander Rubin
Premiere Napa Valley/Credit: Alexander Rubin

Premiere Napa Valley, the annual auction of the Napa Valley Vintners, has raised $3.9m – up from $3.7m last year.

Held at the Culinary Institute of America in St Helena, the invitation-only event attracts around 700 national and international wine buyers, along with members of the wine trade. Wines are made specifically for the event.

This year, around 90% of the lots were drawn from the much-lauded 2018 vintage. It took almost four hours to get through the 201 lots. The event’s highest bid, according to the Napa Valley Register, came from buyer Gregor Greber.

“The 2018 vintage that we have been tasting this week just makes me crazy,” Greber, founder & proprietor of NapaWine LTD in Zurich, Switzerland said in statement released by the Napa Valley Vintners. “The backbone, power, structure and intensity reminds me of some of the best wines. It’s outstanding. For me, 99 or 100 points, that would be my rating for this vintage.”

The auction, held on Saturday, 22 February is the culmination of a week of educational, tasting and networking opportunities. Each of the Premiere Napa Valley limited edition wine lots featured as few as 60 and no more than 240 bottles of wine. Each bottle is hand-numbered and signed by the winemaker, drawing wine collectors searching for rare bottles.

Wine futures garnered the strongest prices at the 24th annual event included wines from Rudd Estate, Darioush, Shafer Vineyards, Silver Oak, Lewis Cellars, OVID Napa Valley, ZD Wines, TOR, Chappellet Vineyard, St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery, To Kalon Vineyard Company, Favia Erickson Winegrowers, Viader Vineyards & Winery, JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset, Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, Duckhorn Vineyards and Robert Mondavi Winery.

“In the end, this business is all about relationships,” said Linda Reiff, president & CEO of the Napa Valley Vintners. “The relationship of the grape grower and the winemaker, the winemaker and the buyer, the buyer and the consumer. Our vintners invest time, energy and heart into building those bonds this week and throughout the year. Today’s auction demonstrated that. We’re happy with how well the entire week went and are grateful for the auction’s final results.”

The Napa Valley Vintners non-profit trade association was founded in 1944. The auction proceeds will go to the Napa Valley Vintners’ mission to promote, protect and enhance the Napa Valley. The record for Premiere Napa Valley remains $6m, achieved in 2015.

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