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Gavel comes down on Auction Napa Valley

Napa Valley Vintners has called time on the Auction Napa Valley after successful 40-year run, and will not be hosting a charity auction in 2021.

The decision came after the 2020 event was cancelled and the outlook for a renewal in 2021 seemed doubtful, but NVV has promised its will find a new format to carry on the auction’s mission next year.

“It is time for Auction Napa Valley in its current format to wrap up and make room for big ideas going forward, but that is as far as we have gotten,” Teresa Wall, senior director of communications and marketing for the NVV, confirmed to db in an email.

“There are no plans to fundraise in 2021. We will instead take the time to plan for what we will do next,” Wall added.

Gina Gallo and Jean-Charles Boisset at the 2017 auction

Since launching in 1981, the auction has raised over $200 million for local charities and had grown into a multi-day party with top entertainers and dozens of formal and informal gala events.

Due to Covid-19, there was no auction this year. The final auction, as it turned out, was the 39th in 2019, which raised $12 million and was headlined by Katy Perry.

In a press release issued yesterday, the NVV said, “In the spirit of innovation, the Napa Valley Vintners and Auction Napa Valley Boards of Directors have unanimously determined that is it time wrap up Auction Napa Valley in its current format and redefine how a world-class wine region fundraises for the good of its community.”

“Auction Napa Valley set the standard for world-class wine events, and we’re humbled to have inspired others to create countless events that have raised funds for many other worthy causes,” Jack Bittner, vice-chair of the NVV board, said.

A complicating factor that the NVV was facing in planning a 2021 event was the fact that the venue that annually hosts the event, the Meadowood resort, was destroyed in the California wildfires at the end of September.

In addition to the fact that Covid-19 totally disrupted the 2020 Napa Valley tourist season, with many winery tasting rooms temporarily closed for weeks and then limited in attendance on reopening, the valley was also hit with a series of wildfires in August and September that destroyed or seriously damaged around 20 wineries and compromised parts of the 2020 vintage with smoke taint.

In a valedictory spirit, NVV treasurer, Beth Novak Milliken, urged auction supporters: “When enjoying your next bottle of Napa Valley wine, we hope you will join us in raising a glass to 40 great years of success and to the great things to come in the next 40 years.”

The Napa news came on the heels of the cancellation last weekend of the wine world’s most-famous wine auction, the Hospices de Beaune.

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