Napa Valley Wine Auction Breaks $50 Million Mark Raising $5.3 Million For Local Charities
6/7/2004 - St. Helena, CA - The Napa Valley Wine Auction, celebrating its 24th year, surpassed an historic charitable landmark Saturday, raising well over $50 million since its inception in 1981. At the end of the day, $5.3 million had been raised for local Napa County charities, bringing the total amount raised since 1981 to more than $53 million.
Held June 3-6, the Napa Valley Wine Auction is hosted each year by the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV). This year the event was chaired by Jamie Davies of Schramsberg Vineyards, along with sons Bill, Hugh and John. Makers of prestige sparkling wines, the Davies family focused on the sparkling tradition to create the auction theme - Isn't it Romantic: A Sparkling Toast to Napa!
The two top lots of the day closed at $220,000 each - the first for a rare collection of three-3L bottles of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon from 1995-1997, and the second, for a NVV lot which, in addition to 109 bottles of premium wine, included a Limited Edition Cadillac XLR Roadster Convertible donated by General Motors.
Television actor Henry Simmons, star of NYPD Blue, climbed on stage to help auctioneers raise the stakes for the lot, which ultimately went to veteran auction attendee Gary Rieschel of Palo Alto, California.
"Of all the lots we've purchased over the past eight years, we feel fortunate to have won this lot," said Rieschel. "For us, all of these wines represent relationships that we've developed here in the Napa Valley. Combined with the generous donation by General Motors - well, we feel very lucky," he added.
Rieschel also ended the day as the top bidder, spending a total of $299,575 on 18 different auction lots.
The Screaming Eagle lot, which resulted in a frenzy of back-and-forth bidding, went to M.K. Koo of Hong Kong, a long-time top ten bidder of the Napa Valley Wine Auction. Koo was one of 309 successful bidders at this year's event - 20 more successful bidders than Auction 2003. Two of the top ten bidders were first-time guests of the event, bringing new faces to the "battle of the paddles."
One of the new winery entrants this year was Bond, which offered two-3L bottles of its inaugural 1999 vintage red wine. Created by the Harlan family and winemaker Bob Levy, the Bond lot went for $40,000 to Gerret Copeland, owner of Bouchaine Vineyards, a self-described "lover of French clarets."
"We had the opportunity to try a few Bond wines recently and were astounded," said Copeland. "These wines are remarkable - that's why I was so anxious to win this particular lot," he smiled.
The final lot of the day went to Fred Carl, Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Viking Range Corporation of Greenwood, Mississippi. The So in Love lot, offered by the NVV, included 365 bottles of Napa Valley wines, stays at Ritz Carlton resorts in Miami Beach and St. Thomas, and a special 2005 Wine Auction package. The introduction of the lot was bolstered by the appearance on stage of the past 24 chairs (or in only a very few cases, family members) of the Napa Valley Wine Auction, dating back to 1981.
"All of the icons of the wine industry helped make this lot very appealing," said Carl, after place the winning bid of $95,000. "This is a phenomenal event and our desire in purchasing this lot was as a tribute to Napa Valley vintners."
The Davies Family was delighted with the outcome of the Auction, which benefits local youth development, health and housing organizations in Napa County. "The Wine Auction has to do with interaction and camaraderie at the vintner level, the guest level and the volunteer level," said family matriarch Jamie Davies. "It's an experience that brings out the best in everyone, to the benefit of our local community. We're helping people help themselves and that's what it's all about," she added.
President of the Napa Valley Vintners, Bob Steinhauer of Beringer Vineyards, felt the magnitude of surpassing the $50 million mark at this year's event. "We're all very pleased with the auction results and the fact that we broke the $50 million mark," he said. "The atmosphere all weekend was terrific and everyone had a great time knowing what an incredible contribution we are making to the community," he added.
The top bid for a case of wine in the barrel auction was $6,800 for a case of Shafer 2002 Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon. The top silent auction lot, three bottles of Colgin Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, 1997-1999, donated by Laurie Daniel and Steve Jankowski of Los Gatos, California, sold for $3,900.
In addition to fine wines, a number of additional lots were auctioned, including a piece by local sculptor Fletcher Benton which sold for $50,000 to a private collector.
The 25th annual Auction Napa Valley will include exciting new twists for new and returning auction guests. To be held June 2-5, 2005, the event will be chaired by all 24 of the past Auction chairs or their immediate family members, dating back to 1981.
The Napa Valley Vintners is a professional nonprofit trade organization assisting more than 245 member wineries with marketing, promotion and industry issues throughout the United States and abroad. For more information about the NVV and the Napa Valley, please visit www.napavintners.com.
Auction photos may be downloaded from the NVV Web site beginning Monday, June 7, at 9:00 am. B-roll is available upon request.
2004 Napa Valley Wine Auction Top Overall Lots:
Screaming Eagle $220,000
Three bottles of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Napa Valley Vintners Lot 75 $220,000
109 bottles of premium wine, and a Limited Edition
Cadillac XLR Roadster Convertible
Harlan Estate $180,000
Ten bottles of Napa Valley red wine from the past
10 releases, 1991-2000.
Dalla Valle Vineyards $150,000
Seven bottles of Napa Valley May 2001, lunch or dinner
Vineyard 29 $135,000
Three bottles of 2001 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon,
Zinfandel and red wine
Joseph Phelps Vineyards $100,000
30 bottle vertical and 45 liters of Napa Valley Insignia,
from 1974 to 2003, dinner for 6
Napa Valley Vintners Lot 137 $95,000
365 bottles of Napa Valley wines, stays at Ritz Carlton
resorts and 2005 Wine Auction package
Colgin Cellars $90,000
One 6-L bottle of 2001 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Stag's Leap Wine Cellars $80,000
52 bottles of wine, accommodations, dinner for six and
a matching bid contribution to the Statue of Liberty
Araujo Estate Wines $75,000
One bottle of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, day-long
Winery visit and blending session for eight persons
Shafer Vineyards $75,000
23 bottles of wine, lunch for 26 persons
2004 Top Barrel Lots: (each 10-one case lots)
Shafer Vineyards $62,700
Pride Mountain Vineyards $43,550
D.R. Stephens Estate $41,850
Joseph Phelps Vineyards $32,150
Beringer Vineyards $28,200
Kuleto Estate Family Vineyards $27,850
Cliff Lede Vineyards $24,050
Clark-Claudon Vineyards $23,400
Top Ten Bidders:
1. Gary Rieschel, Palo Alto, CA
2. Anonymous (bidder requested name not be released)
3. Edward Weltman, East Hampton, NY
4. M.K. Koo, Hong Kong
5. Anonymous (bidder requested name not be released)
6. Ron Kuhn, Wheaton, IL
7. Carl Thoma, Kenilworth, IL
8. Rodger Rohde, Saddle River, NJ
9. Anonymous (bidder requested name not be released)
10. James Mancbach, Hillsboro Beach, FL