Premiere Napa Valley 2014 took in a record breaking US$5.9 million yesterday, almost double the previous record of 2012’s US$3.1 million.
Held in the historic barrel room at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, a total of 225 wine lots were each sold to a single licensed buyer.
The majority of the wines auctioned were the region’s signature Cabernet Sauvignon with 90% from the 2012 vintage. There were two Merlot entries, one Zinfandel, and 37 red blends. White wine made a showing with three Sauvignon Blancs and two chardonnays, and there were two popular sparkling wine entries. With each lot, however, the wine is made exclusively for Premiere and not something the winery will offer at any other time. The choices often include an owner’s favorite vineyard block or a unique blend of vineyards or sub-appellations.
The Premiere barrels, which will be bottled as 5, 10 or 20 case lots, sold at an average wholesale price of $283 a bottle. The 73 successful bidders are retailers, restaurateurs, importers and distributors who will resell these one-of-a-kind wines in their markets.
The 600 Premiere guests travelled from eight countries and 28 states for what has become the must-attend trade event of the year for Napa Valley wines.
Top earning lots were from Scarecrow Wine; Schrader; Shafer Vineyards; ZD Wines; Robert Mondavi Winery; Cakebread Cellars; Bevan Cellars and Chateau Boswell Winery (joint lot); VHR, Vine Hill Ranch; the CONSTANT/ David Arthur Vineyards/Reynolds Family Winery joint lot; Silver Oak Cellars; Joseph Phelps Vineyards; and BRAND Napa Valley.
The top buyers were Total Wine & More of Potomac, MD; Bounty Hunter of Napa, CA; Cliffewood Wine Syndicate of Little Rock, AR; Wine Library of Springfield, NJ; The Wine House of Los Angeles, CA; Gary’s Wine & Marketplace of Madison, NJ; Nakagawa Wine Company of Tokyo, Japan; Beverage Warehouse of Los Angeles, CA; Yakiniku Hiroshi of Honolulu, HI; Meritage Wine Market of Encinitas, CA; Zoes Restaurant of Virginia Beach, VA; and HEB of San Antonio, TX.
Auction highlights include Scarecrow’s $260,000 winning bid, more than doubling the previous record of $125,000 for a single lot.
Winner Bill Knight of Los Angeles’ Wine House said, “We are thrilled to bring home this magnificent wine, drawn from the J.J. Cohn vineyard from nearly seventy year old vines. We were willing to pay what we did for this wine because of the beautiful expression of its lineage and we look forward to sharing it with our customers.”
The 5-case lot makes the price per bottle a grand $4,333.
The sale of these sought-after wines springs out of a bigger goal. The money will help the Napa Valley Vintners trade association continue their important work in promoting and protecting the appellation and its wines both locally and around the globe.Schrader ’s 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon lot, named Double Diamond, brought in $100,000 from local buyer, the Bounty Hunter; and the joint CONSTANT, David Arthur and Reynolds Family wine sold for $80,000 (240 bottles).
“We are humbled by the outpouring of support reflected in this epic Premiere Napa Valley,” said Linda Reiff, president and CEO of the Napa Valley Vintners.
“It will create many opportunities to help us promote, protect, and enhance our beloved Napa Valley appellation and our extraordinary wines.”
Consumers and trade who were unable to attend Premiere may still purchase Premiere special lots.
Those interested can visit premierenapawines.com.