Top lot at Sonoma barrel auction fetches $60K

24th April, 2017 by Roger Morris

The top lot in the record setting third annual Sonoma County Barrel Auction held last Friday was a 20-case bottling from Pinot Noir icon Kosta Browne that fetched $60,000.

Auctioneer John Curley stole the show at this year’s Sonoma County Barrel auction

The auction took place on 23 April at the Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa, with the only challenger to the Kosta Browne lot being a five-case lot of 25th-anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon from Pride Mountain that brought a $4,000-per-case winning bid in the trade-only auction.

In total, 90 lots made from solo and combination efforts of more than 100 member wineries of Sonoma County Vintners netted an event-high $794,500 in operational funds for the organisation.

The auction’s theme, ‘Never Before, Never Again’, reflects the unique provenance of each lot, which was produced solely for the 2017 auction.

“We started the Sonoma County Barrel Auction three years ago to showcase the quality of Sonoma County wines on the world’s stage, and we are pleased that it’s become a must-attend event for national and international wine buyers,” said Jean Arnold Sessions, executive director of Sonoma County Vintners.

Blood, sweat and cheers – Curley with a sweat-drenched shirt after the auction

“The success of the 2017 auction is a testament to the climate, culture and talent found in Sonoma County. No other region matches our combination of quality and diversity,” Sessions added.

Although Pinot Noir has become the darling of this cooler, multi-appellation coastal county that sits between Cabernet Sauvignon-heavy Napa Valley and the Pacific Ocean, the second highest lot in terms of total dollars after Kosta Browne’s offering was a 20-case lot from long-time Cabernet king Silver Oak, which closed the auction at $50,000 or $2,500 per case.

Other lots with high per-case performance included two more Cabernets, one from Mauritson Family at $2,500 per case and one from Laurel Glen at $2,000 per case. Lot sizes varied from five to 20 cases. Many lots also included a market visit by the winemaker to the winning bidder’s locale.

The unofficial star of the show was auctioneer John Curley, who pranced and danced across the stage in a shirt-drenching performance that wrung out high bids from wholesalers, retailers and restaurateurs from across the US to Japan and further afield.

Next year’s auction will be held on 20 April 2018. More information on the auction and the organisation can be found at Sonoma County has 17 different wine-producing appellations.

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