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Premiere Napa Valley auction nets US$3 million for vintner group

The annual Premiere Napa Valley auction came to a US$3 million conclusion on Saturday, though the sum of individual bids is being kept under wraps for now.

Image credit: Alexander Rubin

After a week of trade-only barrel tastings and winery visits, the 28th annual Premiere Napa Valley auction came to a US$3 million conclusion on Saturday afternoon as bidders online and in person from 10 countries and 29 states purchased for future delivery 166 one-of-a-kind lots made only for the auction, which was conducted by Sotheby’s.

Leading the bidding was Nick Pegna, who joined Sotheby’s as its new global head of wine and spirits last June. The former Berry Bros. & Rudd fine wine boss was brought in to support the auction house’s planned expansion in the ‘luxury’ category.

The Premiere Napa Valley auction helps to fund the annual operations of its sponsor, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), which represents 539 member wineries. The $3 million total was down somewhat from the $3.4 million raised in 2023 but up from the $2.7 million bid in 2022.

More than 1,000 trade members came to bid on wines and conduct business with Napa Valley wineries as a rainy start of the week turned into brilliant spring sunlight on the final two days of the event.

“We look forward to Premiere Napa Valley every year,” said Richard King, co-owner and general manager of Ellerbe Fine Foods and one of the successful bidders.

“Our industry is rooted in relationships, and this week is all about reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. It’s a wonderful opportunity to champion the people and wineries of Napa Valley, and we couldn’t imagine not being part of this amazing experience.”

Throughout the week, dozens of tastings took place in Napa Valley, London and Hong Kong in anticipation of the Saturday live auction. In an emerging trend for the annual auction, 12 of the lots were collaborations between producers, with a total of 59 different wineries taking part.

“The strength of the Napa Valley wine region is evidenced in the bidding activity and demand for Napa Valley’s prestigious Premiere Napa Valley wines,” said Nick Pegna, Sotheby’s global head of wine & spirits, who at times operated as a bids spotter during the event.

“Sotheby’s is honoured to conduct this highly respected wine trade auction.”

The top-selling lots were:

Fairest Creature
Burgess Cellars, Heitz Cellar, Stony Hill Vineyard
Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, OVID. Napa Valley
Silver Oak
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
Alpha Omega
Duckhorn Vineyards
Robert Mondavi Winery
The Mascot
Davies Vineyards, Diamond Creek Vineyards, Diamond Mountain Vineyard, Dyer Vineyard, The Vineyardist, Wallis Family Estate
Napa Valley’s 16 AVAs, a collaboration of 20 wineries
Shafer Vineyards

This year’s bidding began on 9 February and culminated on 24 February, in person at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone, and online.

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