In one of the most anticipated wine country events of the year, Auction Napa Valley 2014 raised $18.4 million for non-profit charities that provide community health and children's education to the valley's residents. Held Friday, June 6th and Saturday, June 7th, (with opening and closing events bracketing the auction on Thursday and Sunday) the auction was attended by Napa winemaking families, San Francisco socialites, and wine lovers from around the globe. Auction Napa Valley is one of the largest charity wine auctions in the world, rivaling the Naples, Florida wine auction and the Hospice de Beaune in Burgundy, France.
Sponsored by the Napa Valley Vintners nonprofit trade association, Saturday's live auction was held at The Meadowood Resort, hosted by a duo of lively auctioneers, American born Fritz Hatton and English bred Humphrey Butler. The fifty lots sold at auction included unique dream vacations, private dinners prepared by a roster of high-profile chefs, and otherwise impossible-to-procure wines. Two of the most impressive auction lots raised $840,000 and $600,000 respectively. The first was an opportunity to attend the Academy Awards with Jean-Charles Boisset, including travel to Los Angeles by private jet and a gown and tuxedo for the winners. As bidding heated up to over $400,000, Boisset offered to "double down" and provide the experience to two winners, bringing in $420,000 times two.
Bill Harlan, owner of Harlan Estate and Bond, made an offer that Lee Anderson (himself the owner of Korta Katarina Winery in Croatia) couldn't refuse: the chance to become Customer Number One on the list of Harlan's new project, Promontory. For $600,000, Anderson will receive the first case of wine produced by Promontory, five double magnums from the 2009 through the 2013 vintage, and releases from 2009 through 2018.
Although Saturday's live auction was certainly the height of the weekend's excitement, revelers started things off on Thursday with a series of welcome parties, including a "Sunset Celebration of Napa Valley Mountainside Wines," held at Cardinale. After the barrel auction hosted by Peter Mondavi Sr. and his family at Charles Krug on Friday, guests enjoyed private dinners hosted by winemaking families and prepared by private chefs around the valley at wineries such as Arkenstone, Bond, Grgich Hills, Lokoya, Newton, and Raymond.
At the conclusion of Sunday's live auction, attendees moved back outside for a family style dinner accompanied by the finest wines of Napa Valley and dancing under the stars. On Sunday, visitors to the valley were invited to winery open houses up and down Route 29 and Silverado Trail, while winery owners, winemakers, and local residents relaxed at home, knowing that their efforts over the past several days--and indeed the entire last year--would help their less fortunate neighbors.