Harvest season kicked off with a bang in Napa Valley, as this year's Harvest Stomp wine auction reached its highest total ever, raising $2.32 million for the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, surpassing last year's $2.04 million. The 12th annual event was held Aug. 24 at Pine Ridge Vineyard in Napa, drawing 600 guests dressed in festive ranch attire to celebrate the upcoming harvest. In addition to fevered bidding, they enjoyed barbecue from chef Morgan Robinson's Smoke restaurant and live music from Americana band Tender Mercies.
Stomp introduced a grape auction component in 2018, which gave guests the opportunity to purchase 1 ton of coveted Napa Valley fruit. Larkmead, Pahlmeyer and Ghost Block each made 1 ton donations for this year. (Winning bidders are responsible for vinification, making this a lot for those who feel comfortable making about 60 cases of wine.)
"With the overwhelming success of the first year, we continued the new tradition at our 2019 event," said co-chair Lisa Callan Hoskins, a fifth-generation Napa Valley grapegrower whose family owns Ferrogiaro Vineyard.
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The live auction bidding raised a total of $573,361. Top wine lots included "Go Big," a sample of magnums from participating growers such as Schrader Cellars, Dominus Estate and Odette Estate, which sold for $52,000, and "Comin' Up Coombsville," an elaborate party at the Ferrogiaro Vineyard featuring candle-lit dinners, celebrated winemakers and live music, which sold for $78,000. The biggest auction item sold, both monetarily and physically, was a 2019 Kubota tractor that went for $83,000.
The money raised goes toward the Napa Valley Grapegrowers' mission to preserve and promote Napa Valley's vineyards and to the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, which provides education and professional development to farmworkers and their families. One of the programs mentioned during the auction was the Patrick Foley Fields of Opportunity Summer Mentor Program, a mentorship program for local high school students that teaches them how to work and succeed in wine and farming. Hoskins says the ultimate goal is to support viticultural research, sustainability and provide education for over 2,700 farmworkers in the valley.