Auction Napa Valley 2017 in pictures
Director Francis Ford Coppola and his family added a splash of Hollywood glamour to this year’s Auction Napa Valley, which kicked off with a barrel auction at Coppola’s Inglenook Estate in Rutherford.
Under a canopy of cloudless blue sky, guests sipped their way through dozens of wines to the sounds of a Dixieland band from New Orleans, with many seeking solace from the searing sun by the pool.
Each member of the family played their part. Eleanor Coppola curated the food and wine offering at the barrel auction, director Sofia hosted an intimate dinner for the highest bidders at last year’s auction, her daughter Gia hosted the live auction after party while Roman Coppola was master of ceremonies at the live auction.
Among the highlights at the barrel auction were food pavilions run by some of the top chefs in the valley who created dishes specifically to pair with the most planted grape varieties in Napa: Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
Among the wines on pour was Inglenook Sauvignon Blanc 2015.
Attendees could escape the sweltering heat in the Inglenook cellars, where cases of wine from 108 producers were up for grabs and could be sampled fresh from the barrel before being bid on. The 10 highest bidders for each of the wines won a case of it.
Drummers kept the crowds entertained outside…
…where guests were free to roam among the vines.
Thirty lucky guests got the chance to cook with Coppola himself on the morning of the live auction, helping him make his signature gnocchi in a tomato, chilli and basil sauce.
The live auction took place on Saturday night at Meadowood, a chic luxury resort owned by revered vintner Bill Harlan and American entrepreneur Stan Kroenke boasting a three Michelin star restaurant.
Ladies dripping with diamonds and men in pastel-coloured blazers arrived at Meadowood en masse, weaving their way through the parasol-dotted lawn to a giant white tent where they were enticed to bid on some of the 38 vintner-sponsored lots in the live auction.
Pretty in pink: auction attendees smile for the camera while scoping out some of the auction lots.
Among the divine canapés on offer were smoked salmon on buttery bruschetta, mini sea bream ceviche and fennel arancini.
Directors Sofia and Roman Coppola play with a miniature video camera. Sofia attended the auction fresh from her best director win at the Cannes Film Festival for The Beguiled.
The auction got off to a strong start with the first lot, which included three nights at Coppola’s Niebaum Mansion and the chance to arrive in style at his Palazzo Margherita in Basilicata in his Falcon 7X private jet. Whipping bidders into a paddle-waving frenzy, the lot went for $460,000.
Raising a total of $15.7 million for local charities in the Napa Valley, the celebrations started early.
Wine trade luminaries like French consultant Michel Rolland and Petrus president Christian Moueix rubbed shoulders with Gina Gallo (left) and her flamboyant husband Jean-Charles Boisset of Raymond Vineyards, who worked the room in a pair of blue velvet slippers emblazoned with seahorses.
Among the winemaking legends in attendance was Mike Grgich of Grgich Hills, who shot to fame when he made the Château Montelena Chardonnay that beat its French counterpart in the Judgement of Paris tasting in 1976.
The top lot of the night however was from Colgin Cellars. Featuring dinner at Alain Passard’s L’Arpège in Paris and lunch at Krug’s Clos du Mesnil vineyard, auctioneer Fritz Hatton incited a bidding war that saw the lot won by three people, who paid $700,000 each for the experience, raising $2.1 million.
The top selling single lot of the evening included an Imperial of Dalla Vale’s Maya 2013, three nights in Tokyo and dinner at the three Michelin-star Kanda with owner Naoko Dalla Vale, which garnered an impressive $720,000.
While bidders got giddy on magnums of Krug and Dom Pérignon, a brass band blasted out Hey Big Spender and flapper girls dressed in gold shimmied across the stage after a Balthazar of Screaming Eagle 2014 fetched $440,000.
Keen cook Francis Ford Coppola slaved over a hot stove perfecting his pomodoro basilico peperoncino sauce for his gnocchi – a brave move when dressed in a white suit – which he served at an Italian-themed al fresco dinner after the auction.
The fruits of his labour.
Raising the steaks – the main course at the feast was steak Fiorentina. Cooking 800 of them medium rare is no mean feat.
With a string band playing on the lawn and guests gorging on Neapolitan struffoli as the sun set, Coppola had created a scene that could have come straight out of one of his films.
Capping off an electric evening, Texan-born soul singer Leon Bridges performed late into the night while revellers tucked into soft serve ice cream and French fries in paper cones. Palo Alto director Gia Coppola, hosted an after party for a select few couples who bid $10,000 each for the privilege.