Napa auction sets a new record4th June, 2013 by Catherine Seda Bugue
This year’s Auction Napa Valley saw a record amount raised, including a staggering US$14.3 million in just three-and-a-half hours during Saturday’s live auction and $16.9m brought in over the full weekend of events.
The grand total comprises online e-auction and barrel lots in addition to Saturday’s live auction results.
This is a record-breaker for Auction Napa Valley, whose last chart topper was in 2005 with $10.5 million raised for local charities and programs.
The live auction packages included some of the most exciting lots for bidders, such as travel or event experiences which can’t be purchased otherwise. The most sought-after lots were vintner-hosted trips to Asia, Europe, South Africa and South America; special golfing excursions; and travel to top sporting events.
The top-selling live auction lot was from newcomer, DANA Estates. After bidding soared past $500,000, winery owner Hi Sang Lee, doubled the wine offerings and brought the lot total to $1.02 million for a package including an exclusive trip to his native country of South Korea.
Other high bids included Harlan Estate’s $800,000 for four magnums of the wine; a 12-litre bottle of Screaming Eagle for $500,000; and a collection of 40 wines for the 40th anniversary of Joseph Phelps Vineyards for $450,000.
The most emotional bidding occurred over the final lot called “Marvels to Miracles”. Brandon Staglin, whose family is this year’s honourary chairs, took the stage and encouraged the audience to bid. The lot did not include wine or any once-in-a-lifetime exotic trip – it was a straight donation to a fund-a-need lot for children’s mental and physical health and education.
Brandon, who has publicly discussed his struggles with schizophrenia, was joined on stage by Napa County’s district attorney, Gary Lieberstein, who talked of his son’s recent suicide after struggling with the illness. The winning bid was $3.7m.
The recovering economy is said to be a major factor in the record-breaking figure achieved this year.
“We are overjoyed with the generosity of the patrons, vintners and volunteers that made today possible” said Garen Staglin of Staglin Family Vineyards.
All monies go directly to organisations that provide medical and dental services to those who are uninsured or need help affording the costs; to centres which assist at-risk families in need of support, education and resources; programs which lower school drop-out rates and help youth transition out of foster care, group homes and probation; for language, mental health, substance abuse, and elderly services, food and shelter programs – all for the local community.