Willamette Valley Pinot Noir auction nets US$737K

The third annual Willamette Valley Pinot Noir auction netted $737,000 on Saturday when 78 lots of 2016 Pinot and three collaborative lots of Chardonnay went under the hammer.

Auctioneer Fritz Hatton in action at the auction on Saturday

Held by the Willamette Valley Wineries Association in Newberg, the average bottle price was $124, and the average lot price, which varied from five to 10 to 20 cases, was just over $9,000.

The auction – gaveled by veteran Fritz Hatton – was open to wholesalers, retailers and restaurateurs, and the wines will only be available to the public through resale by their buyers.

In all, there were 126 bidders. Proceeds will go to the association’s marketing and education projects. The top-grossing lots were led by a selection made by Antica Terra’s Maggie Harrison, which netted $550 per bottle.

Among the highlights at the auction were the following five lots:

  • Lot 26: Five cases of Antica Terra “Alder Creek” Pinot Noir: $33,000,
  • Lot 82: Five cases of Zena Crown Vineyard “Barrel and Foot” Pinot Noir: $24,000,
  • Lot 11: Five cases of Alexana Estate Winery “By A Landslide” Pinot Noir: $20,000,
  • Lot 83: 10 cases of Hyland Estates “The Perfect Pair” Pinot Noir: $20,000 and
  • Lot 75: Five cases of Bethel Heights “Vesper Bell” Pinot Noir: $19,00

Auction chair, Laurent Montalieu, owner of Soléna Estate and Hyland Estate wineries, said, “The 2016 vintage is going to become a benchmark for Oregon winemakers.”

The Willamette Valley wine industry has grown over the past 50 years to more than 554 wineries, 21,793 acres planted, primarily to Pinot Noir, in 719 vineyards.

The valley, which has six sub-appellations with a seventh pending, accounts for 73% of Oregon’s total wine production and 82% of its Pinot Noir production.

The auction was the culmination of two days of activities, including lot tastings, a symposium of the past 10 vintages and private dinners. The 2019 auction will be held on 6 April.

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