Buoyed by dozens of superb 2013 Cabernet Sauvignons, the 19th Premiere Napa Valley barrel tasting and auction set a new record Saturday in St. Helena, Calif., with a sale that topped $6 million, surpassing the 2014 event’s $5.9 million and raising nearly twice the total from 2012.
As in years past, bidding was frenzied inside the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone as patrons jockeyed to secure their favorite wines. The 225 lots were created for and sold exclusively at Saturday’s event, which benefited Napa Valley Vintners (NVV). They included some of Napa Valley’s rarest blends, crafted in microlots ranging in size from 5 to 20 cases.
NVV did not disclose the amounts paid for individual lots, but announced that the top earners included wines from Brand, Château Boswell, Fairchild, Gandona, Shafer, Pulido-Walker, Memento Mori, Silver Oak, Rombauer, and a collaboration between Constant, David Arthur, Italics and Reynolds Family.
This year’s 70 successful bidders, all members of the wine trade, including retailers, restaurateurs, importers and distributors, will make these wines available to their customers under the Premiere Napa Valley wine label. Cristina Pearce, California wine buyer for retailer Total Wines, was the top bidder.
Napa is in the midst of an exceptionally strong string of vintages, from 2012 through 2014. Enthusiasm for the wines was reflected in the average auction price of $286 per bottle, reflecting the premium nature of these limited-edition wines, vintners said.
Tickets to Premiere Napa Valley 2015 sold out more than a month in advance; the auction was attended by more than 700 trade and media guests who traveled from eight countries and 30 states.