A Million-dollars was raised in the first hour of the 38th Annual Auction Napa Valley’s Friday Barrel Auction held at the historic Charles Krug Winery. 

The barrel lots expanded to 110 this year making this wine auction the largest barrel tasting of premium cabernet futures over any other wine auction world-wide.  Auction Napa Valley special also because the wine tasted directly from the barrels are made directly with the winemaker or owner.  The method of bidding on 10 lots with 10 successful bidders in a “tiered” price format is unique as well to this barrel auction.  Not like the Dutch Auction where all the winners pay the same price.

Each bid is placed on one case of wine.  The lowest bid then gets knocked off as more bids come in.  When the bell rings at 3:00 p.m. and bidding closes, the top 10 bidders “still on the board” pay their bid price to receive a case from that lot’s barrel.

Also, new this year are the youngest Auction Napa Valley honorary chairs; the four Mondavi sisters, Alycia, Angelina, Riana and Giovanna.

“I don’t know of any other auction that provides over 100 barrels filled with cabernet for barrel tasting,” said Angelina, a winemaker herself.  “One of the reason we expanded the barrel offering this year is because we had more space in our barrel room.”

Debuts at Barrel Auction this year included Araratas Wines, AXR Napa Valley, Hertelendy Vineyards, On Q Wines, and The Prisoner Wine Company.  Saturday’s live auction newcomers include racecar driver Danica Patrick’s Somnium Wine and Wheeler Farms.

Host family, the Mondavi’s had a special 75th Anniversary blend honoring their family’s time at Charles Krug Winery.  It consisted of 85-percent Valley floor cabernet and 15-percent Howell Mountain Cabernet with five-percent of that in Petit Verdot.

“It’s awesome to have people from all over the world and locals coming to our backyard to kick start Auction with a bang,” said Alycia.  The Peter and Marc Mondavi families own Charles Krug Winery.

The sisters said they are thrilled to have their own lot 1 in the Saturday’s live auction, which includes a trip to Dubai.  The Mondavi Family is also doing a live Family Reunion lot where guest will be able to dine with the Mondavi family.

“We are proud to be able to support our community,” said Angelina.  “We want everyone to have fun and bid often.”

Auction Napa Valley, hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) saw over 2000 people on day one as everyone took to their phones to put a bid in for their favorite tasting.  Five years ago, ANV did away with the traditional slats falling to the floor and bell ringing.  The new bidding technology has smoothed out the bidding process and has eliminated human error.

“Technology has allowed our patrons to bid from anywhere by using their mobile devices,” said Stacy Dolan, Marketing Manager for the NVV. “They don’t have to stay in the barrel room.  They can enjoy the outdoor marketplace.”

Speaking of the outdoor marketplace, the outdoor pavilion with the Napa Valley Wine Train as a backdrop showcased 16 restaurants and numerous wineries sharing their summer whites and rose’.  Sprawled among the beautiful manicured lawns were several outdoor seats and tables to encourage people to sit and have conversations instead of standing all day.  The culinary offerings also came in picnic size servings rather than the traditional small bites.  Floral and lace dresses were the popular attire this year as well as lacy or linen shorts and tops, which helped define Napa Valley casual.

For the first time at Auction Napa Valley there will be an after party on Saturday night open to the public regardless if they attend Auction or not.  The party will begin at 9:00 p.m. at Charter Oak Restaurant in St. Helena.  The $150 tickets can be purchased by calling 707.302.5583 or email etodd@thecharteroak.com

There will be 32 live auction lots at Auction Napa Valley on Saturday at Meodowood Napa Valley.

The E-auction, with 152 lots ends at noon on Sunday.




Article & Photos Contributed By: Kari Ruel, Napa Valley Life Magazine