Napa winemakers collaborate for exclusive auction
With registration now open for the Premiere Napa Valley 2024 auction, db can reveal that a number of Napa winemakers have teamed up to craft one-of-a-kind expressions.
Napa’s annual auction, which teases future lots only available to the wine trade, has kicked off proceedings, with registration for the event now open.
Online bidding, through Sotheby’s, will begin in earnest on 9 February.
The drinks business can reveal that 138 of the 166 lots to be featured in the auction are 2022 vintage, with Napa Cabernet Sauvignon making up the lion’s share (124 lots). Indeed the annual auction, held for the first time in 1997, will provide a much-anticipated preview of 2022 wines from the members of trade association Napa Valley Vintners (NVV).
Bottles of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Petite Syrah, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Riesling will also be up for action, in five, 10 and 20 case increments.
A major draw will be 12 exclusive collaborations between joint Napa winemakers.
Among these is a link-up between Burgess Cellars, which is located on the slopes of Howell Mountain, the St Helena-based Heitz Cellar and Stony Hill Vineyard on Spring Mountain.
Also on the roster is a partnership between four producers from the Stags Leap district: Baldacci Family Vineyards, Chimney Rock Winery, Pine Ridge Vineyards and Quixote Winery.
Legendary winemakers Cathy Corison, Rosemary Cakebread and Steve Matthiasson have also come together to make a dry rosé using grapes sourced from their three vineyard sites, in one of the only rosé barrels to be auctioned in the event’s history.
Napa Valley’s 16 different AVAs have also come together to offer joint winemaking lots.
A full list of collaborations can be found below:
Burgess Cellars, Heitz Cellar, Stony Hill Vineyard
Red Thread Wines, Summit Lake Vineyards & Winery
Davies, Diamond Creek, Diamond Mountain, Dyer, The Vineyardist, Wallis
Fait-Main, Tierra Roja Vineyards
Napa Valley’s 16 AVAs
Matthiasson, Trois Noix
Spottswoode Estate, OVID. Napa Valley
Foley Johnson, PEJU
Corison, Gallica, Matthiasson
The Debate, Fiadh Ruadh
Onsite tastings, parties and other events, including a virtual tasting by Shafer Vineyards on 20 February, are expected to take place, culminating in the live auction itself on Saturday 24 February at the Culinary Institute of America’s St. Helena facility.
Additionally, registered bidders will have four hours on the morning of Friday 23 Feb to take part in preview tastings of all barrel lots at the CIA facility, where the auction will be held the following day.
All available wines are made for, and only sold at, the auction to members of the wine trade, with delivery to successful bidders beginning in October.
Last year’s auction heroes
In 2022, the Premiere Napa Valley auction netted US$2.1 million, a sum eclipsed by 2023’s event which made US$3.4 million.
Among last year’s 200+ lots sold were 137 wines from the 2021 vintage, with the average bottle price of a 2021 Napa Valley red wine being US$295.
More than 250 bidders from 18 countries took part last year, with the auction’s top bid coming from Switzerland – US$100,000 pledged for a lot of 16-60 bottles of a 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon from BRAND Napa Valley, made under the winemaking direction of Philippe Melka.
Reflecting on last year’s event, Andy Erickson, board member of Napa Valley Vintners and owner of Favia winery, said: “We’re so appreciative of the support and are incredibly happy with the results.”
Trade members from anywhere in the world can register at premierenapavalley.com. Registration requires a resale license, whether registering for virtual or for in-person participation.