39th Annual Auction Napa Valley’s Barrel Auction Kicks Off Auction Weekend

More than 2500 guest converged on the newly renovated grounds of the historic Louis Martini Winery in St. Helena kicking off the world-famous wine auction. The 39th Annual Auction Napa Valley is also celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Napa Valley Vintners, who host the fund raiser for 40 non-profits in the Napa Valley. Tickets sold-out two weeks earlier than previous years and bidding is anticipated to be high.

According to NVV Communications Director, Korinne Munson there were several firsts this year including hosting the Barrel Auction at Louis Martini Winery.

“This layout really helps us break up the ground and lowers the crowd noise, which makes the experience for attendees more enjoyable,” said Munson. “When there is a party going on for five hours there is no urgency to see everything all at once. People do have to walk around, but its more leisurely and more relaxed. People are always discovering more things.”

Guests were able to witness the restoration of the original winery and building as a world-class visitor experience including three commercial kitchens and expanse tasting gardens.  Live music through the grounds accompany the 115 winery tastings broken up among Rose’, Chardonnays and Cabernets and delectable bites from Napa Valley’s top eateries.  This year’s festival attendees wore bright, floral and colorful attire including the men.

New this year are 28 past Auction chairs who came together and collaborated efforts to put together the 75th Anniversary party for the Vintners and play host to the Annual Auction Napa Valley Wine Fund Raiser.

In an effort to give everyone a chance to contribute to the money raised, Linda Reiff, Executive Director for the NVV came up with an idea to sell 100 bikes for $350, which included a helmet and a bike lock.  The bikes will be donated on Monday to all the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Napa Valley as part of their “Healthy Kids, Healthy” Valley program.

Vintner Pam Starr was the first vintner to purchase a bike on Friday.

“I believe the children are our future and this creates a healthy future for them,” said Starr. “I love this yellow bike (referring to the one she bought), I would want someone to give it to me.”

Also, new happening this year at the Live Auction on Saturday at Meadowood Resort is a musical performance in the tent by Katy Perry.  In the past, the music came after the live auction and the dinner, live reception and the focus on the community partners.

Ayesha Curry Chef of International Smoke, a Michael Mina collaboration, designed the dinner menu, but she won’t be physically present. She will be televised live from Toronto, Canada where her husband, Steph Curry is playing in the NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors against the Toronto Raptors. 

More than $185 million has been invested in children’s education and community health through the NVV’s Auction Napa Valley.


Story and Photos by Kari Ruel