Napa Valley Premiere: promoting and protecting an appellation

Much of the focus of Napa Valley Premiere, the Napa Valley Vintner trade event selling futures of unique Napa Valley wines, is on the auction results culminating from the grand barrel tasting in The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone’s historic cask room. And with good reason.

Napa Valley Premiere tastingIn its 17th year, the 2013 Premiere barrel tasting and auction has just raised US$3.04 million. Highlights of the winning bids show exciting results such as 10 cases of Bevan Cellars and Chateau Boswell Winery’s 2011 red blend called ‘We Will Rock You’ selling for $75,000. Shafer Vineyards’ five cases of 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon sold for $50,000.

The Spring Mountain District’s Keenan Winery sold 10 cases of their wine called Waited So Long (they were the last lot to be auctioned that day) at $48,000. Kapcsandy’s five cases of 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon brought in $40,000. There were 207 lots total at the afternoon auction event with an average price of over $14,000 per lot.

These one-of-a-kind wines have become the pièce de résistance for restaurants with award winning wine lists, fine wine shops and wholesale agents looking to provide their customers with wines that almost no one else in the world will own. As Dan Duckhorn has previously explained it, these wines have become a cult wine brand that top customers want to own.

Napa Valley Premiere tastingBidders this year came from nine different countries and 35 States in the US. This year, top bidders from the US west coast included The Wine House and Beverage Warehouse, both in Los Angeles. From the east coast, winning bidders were Total Wine & More in Maryland and Gary’s Wine & Marketplace in New Jersey. Little Rock, Arkansas did not go home empty handed: Cliffwood Wine Syndicate won 13 separate lots. From overseas, the top bidder was Japan’s Nakagawa Wine Company.

These sought-after wines, however, spring out of a broader goal. The trade association is charged not only with promoting the wines of the appellation, but protecting the reputation of the Napa Valley region and its wines around the globe. With worldwide recognition of the quality of Napa Valley wines, there comes the need to protect that reputation from being misused. The funds garnered from Premiere Napa Valley help the Napa Valley Vintners achieve impressive results in this regard each year.

In 2012 alone there were numerous successes. There are now agreements in place with China, Brazil, and Canada that will help protect the Napa Valley name from being illegitimately used on wine bottles that do not contain Napa Valley wine. When someone sips wine from a bottle labeled Napa Valley, the wine should be from Napa Valley and represent the quality that the region is known for.

Prior work by the trade association has led to similar agreements in the EU, India, and Thailand. These agreements not only maintain the integrity of the Napa Valley brand, but they are also important for consumers in these countries. The agreements provide for truth in labeling regulations that benefit the wine buyer.

For information on other activities and events of the Napa Valley Vintners, visit www.napavintners.com.

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