African safari sets Auction Napa Valley alight

A four-day safari in South Africa was the highest-grossing lot at this year’s Auction Napa Valley, which helped to raise US$14.3 million for various charities.

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While the glitzy event, which took place last weekend, pulled in more money than the $11.1 raised at Naples Winter Wine Festival, it failed to beat last year’s $15.8 million raised, or its 2014 record of $18.7m.

One of the lots offered was the chance to dine with world renowned wine consultant Michel Rolland at Alpha Omega in Napa and Le Bon Pasteur in Pomerol. Dinner with wine critic Robert Parker was also up for grabs.

Meat feast prepared by Francis Mallmann

Meat feast prepared by Francis Mallmann

The highest-grossing lot of the weekend was a four-day safari in South Africa for six people including VIP visits to four South African wineries offered by Staglin Family Vineyard, which went under the hammer for $1.05 million.

The lot also included a boat trip and guided tour of the Robben Island prison cell where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in captivity.

Meanwhile, our Woman of the Year, Barbara Banke, chairman of Jackson Family Wines, donated $500,000 to the Fund-A-Need lot dedicated to funding early intervention to support troubled children.

Tickets to the auction, which drew 900 attendees, cost $4,000 for the weekend at Meadowood in St Helena.

This year marked the 36th year of the event hosted by Napa Valley Vintners, which donates the proceedings to local community and children’s charities.

The auction took place in a white tent on the Meadowood grounds and featured a meat feast prepared by Argentine chef Francis Mallmann that included whole chickens roasted over hot coals in the open air.

A barrel auction took place on the Friday night at Robert Mondavi Winery where bidders could taste samples of the wines then bid for a case of them on their mobile phones.

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