PREMIERE NAPA VALLEY® BARREL AUCTION FOR THE WINE TRADE DEMONSTRATES CONTINUED HIGH DEMAND FOR NAPA VALLEY WINES
2/25/2002 - St. Helena, CA, - 125 individual, one-of-a-kind wine lots created by Napa Valley's finest winemakers were auctioned off Saturday, February 23rd to a prestigious gathering of domestic and international wine wholesalers, retailers and restaurateurs.
At the close of the auction, now in its sixth year, $798,100 has been raised to help support the many important programs managed by the Napa Valley Vintners, official sponsors of Premiere Napa Valley.
Pre-auction tasting of the barrel wines, primarily red varietals scheduled for release between now and 2005, gave more than 400 trade and news media an opportunity to taste wines created from special vineyard blocks, using innovative winemaking techniques - resulting in wines that are unavailable anywhere else in the world.
Competing for the 125 lots this year were 226 paddle holders stretching from New Jersey to Texas and from Canada to Japan. A total of 760 cases of wine were sold to 52 winning bidders, totaling $798,100 in sales.
Official bidding began as it does each year with the Chairman's Lot, this year courtesy of Premiere Napa Valley Chair John Williams, owner of Frog's Leap winery in Rutherford. Ultimately, the gavel came down at $7,000 for the Chairman's Lot - ten cases of a 2000 Syrah from the Truchard Vineyard.
"The energy of this auction is incredible. The camaraderie between vintners and the trade is great," Williams said. "Wine is sold on relationships. We're here renewing friendships and relationships with our friends in the trade, learning what's going on in their regions and sharing some of the exciting things we're doing in the cellar."
The top bidder of the day, Andre Saint-Jacques, owner of Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler, British Columbia, spent $58,100. A return bidder, St. Jacques effused over the specially created Premiere wines. "The wines we purchased last year at Premiere are better than cult wines. In fact, we've already sold most of them. I think the Napa winemakers are really going out of their way to make phenomenal wines for Premiere."
The day's single highest bid came from Japanese wine importer Masaki Inoue of Nakagawa Planning Company in Tokyo. When auctioneer Ursula Hermacinski brought down the gavel, Mr. Inoue held the successful bid of $35,000 for five cases of Harlan Estate 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Inoue has been a successful bidder at previous Premiere auctions. This is the only wine auction he attends in the United States and he looks forward to returning again next year.
Not only does the wine trade have an opportunity to purchase rare Napa Valley wines at Premiere, they also have a chance to get to know the winemakers and principals of their favorite wineries. In addition, vintners are able to personalize their product for those who are best positioned to recommend their wines to food and wine loving consumers.
Because Premiere Napa Valley is a barrel "futures" auction, the lots are primarily cabernet sauvignon and other red varietals. White wines of Napa Valley were the focus of a special morning seminar and tasting moderated by Peter Marks, wine curator of Copia, The American Center for Wine Food and the Arts. Seminar panelists/winemakers included Rosemary Cakebread, Spottswoode; Doug Shafer, Shafer Vineyards; and, John Kongsgaard, Luna Vineyards. Premiere is held annually at the Culinary Institute of America, Greystone.
The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) is a professional nonprofit trade organization representing over 200 wineries in marketing and promotional activities throughout the United States and abroad. For more information about NVV and its members go to www.napavintners.com. Digital images of the 2002 Premiere Napa Valley are available on the Web site in both the Press Room and Auctions sections and may be downloaded at no cost.
Top 12 Lots at Premiere 2002
1. Harlan Estate $35,000
2. Robert Mondavi Winery $30,000
3. Darioush Winery $24,000
4. Saintsbury $24,000
5. Duckhorn Vineyards $19,000
6. Shafer Vineyards $17,000
7. Silver Oak Cellars $17,000
8. Quintessa $14,000
9. Barnett Vineyards $14,000
10. Paraduxx $13,000
11. Niebaum-Coppola Estate $13,000
12. Signorello Vineyards $12,000
Top Five Bidders at Premiere 2002
1. Andre Saint-Jacques, Bearfoot Bistro, Whistler, BC $58,100
2. Mark Pope, Bounty Hunter, Napa, CA $55,500
3. Masaki Inoue, Nakagawa Planning Company, Tokyo, Japan $52,000
4. Name not available for release $48,400
5. Jay James, Bellagio - Food and Beverage, Las Vegas, NV $47,00