USA: 20th Annual Napa Valley Wine Auction Spins Kaleidoscope of Sensations
Driven primarily by record-breaking bids from top bidder, retired Silicon Valley executive Chase Bailey of Incline Village, NV, auction dollars nearly doubled last year's $5.5 million total. Bailey, a first-time auction participant, redefined generosity with more than $1.7 million in winning bids for more than five live auction lots. His $500,000 bid for a six-liter bottle of 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon burned numerous previous world records for the price paid for a single bottle, according to Christie's auctioneer Fritz Hatton, who has seen 20 years of wine bidding at the world-respected auction house.
"We love Napa Valley wines -- we do a lot of collecting," said Bailey. "My wife and I have lots of money and we love spending it on great wines and the charities the auction supports."
The high bid of the day for a single lot came from B.A. Adams of Patterson, LA, a 10-year veteran of Napa Valley Wine Auction bidding. He celebrated that benchmark by purchasing 10 bottles of Harlan Estate wine for $700,000. The 1.5 liter bottles spanned ten years of Harlan Estate vintages, 1987 to 1996.
"I'm totally overwhelmed! Never in my wildest imagination did I anticipate this incredible result," said Auction Chair Nancy Andrus, Principal of Pine Ridge Winery. "It reflects the generosity of the vintners, the dedication of more than 1,000 community volunteers, committee members, and bidders -- both longtime supporters and new friends. And to think that at least 85 percent of the proceeds will go directly to our many Napa County beneficiaries is the most rewarding aspect of my year as Auction chair."
Final results for the live, big board barrel, private donor, art and cellar builder auctions totaled $7,848,800, $1,287,900, $203,250, $190,400, and $49,250 respectively, for a grand total of $9,579,600.
"Dollars raised this year will allow us to distribute more money to Napa County nonprofits than ever before," said Jack Stuart, NVVA President, and Director of Winemaking and General Manager, Silverado Vineyards. "Perhaps more importantly, the success of this Auction will help vintners continue to build an endowment to sustain the well-being of our community for years to come."
The leading bid for the barrel auction was $33,000 for one case of the 1999 Maya Dalla Valle Cabernet Sauvignon. The top private donor lot -- 107 bottles of assorted Napa Valley wines donated by Don and Karen Lynch -- sold for $50,000. The highest bid for the art auction lot was $42,000 for Susan Freedman's "Carneros" oil painting. The top bid for a cellar builder auction lot was $6,500 for 18 750 ml bottles of Stony Hill Vineyard Chardonnay donated by Margaret and Jack Smith.
The year 2001 Napa Valley Auction is scheduled for June 7-10. Robert Mondavi and Margrit Biever Mondavi will co-chair the event. An invitation to the four-day event is available by calling 1-800-982-1371.
The Napa Valley Wine Auction is sponsored by the Napa Valley Vintners Association, a professional non-profit trade organization representing 177 Napa Valley wineries in marketing and promotional activities throughout the United States and abroad. For more information, NVVA maintains a website at www.napavintners.com and a year-round, 24-hour informational hotline at 1-800-972-1371.
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