Napa Valley Wine Auction Earns $100 Million

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This guest-post comes to us from Mira Advani Honeycutt, author of California’s Central Coast, The Ultimate Winery Guide: From Santa Barbara to Paso Robles.  She frequently reports here on her various wine travels.

Auction Napa Valley raised $7.3 million at its live auction, bringing the cumulative total to over $100 million in the auction’s 31 year history. The E-auction brought in another $359,000. Proceeds go to local non-profit organizations.

I’ve been attending this three-day non-stop food and wine celebration for many years. This year marked not only the whopping grand total, it was also the first time in auction history that it rained during the entire weekend.

Auctioneer Frtiz Hatton jubilant with vintners as the auction surpassed the $100 million mark. In the center Margrit Biever Mondavi, on right Shari Staglin
Auctioneer Frtiz Hatton jubilant with vintners as the auction surpassed the $100 million mark. In the center Margrit Biever Mondavi, on right Shari Staglin

But the wet weather did not dampen the spirits. On Saturday afternoon, every inch of Meadowood Resort’s fairway was tented to keep the 800 guests dry. However, the weather drowned-out chef Michael Chiarello’s plan of roasting whole lambs on giant iron crosses. Instead, the lamb was roasted indoors and made it onto Saturday evening’s menu along with such treats as burrata, budino, herb roasted sea bass and Chiarello’s signature gnocchi and zinfandel rigatoni. 

Chef Cindy Pawlcyn’s pre-auction lunch had an ethnic touch to the all American picnic menu. There was Laotian quail, Mongolian BBQ pork and duck burgers.

At the live auction, the highest bid of $300,000 went to the Chiarello Family and Staglin Family Vineyards. The package included wines, dinners, cooking classes and accomodations for 3 couples. With two bidders, the lot brought in a total of $600,000. Another lot drawing two bidders at $120,000 each was Napa cult Cab, Bond Estates.

Farmstead restaurant chef Seamus Feeley stands proudly beside the roasting Langley Ranch Berkshire pig, it was served with salsa verde.
Farmstead restaurant chef Seamus Feeley stands proudly beside the roasting Langley Ranch Berkshire pig, it was served with salsa verde.

The vintners dinners held on Thursday and Friday are a special treat ranging from elegant soirees to vineyard picnics. We attended the western/family style barbecue at Farmstead – St. Helena’s farm to table restaurant hosted by Long Meadow Ranch Winery. The following night we attended Kenzo Estate Winery’s formal affair catered by ad-hoc, Thomas Keller’s Yountville restaurant.

The barrel auction held at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone drew some 100 wineries and 45 artisan food purveyors and restaurants showcasing the best of Napa Valley.

Deborah Harlan pouring Bond Estate wine at the Saturday live auction.
Deborah Harlan pouring Bond Estate wine at the Saturday live auction.