Each year, the Napa Valley Vintners–the nonprofit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation–hold two major events; Auction Napa Valley and Premiere Napa Valley. Auction Napa Valley is geared towards consumers who bid on incredible auction lots like trips around the world, private concerts from Grammy award winning artists, and more. All the money raised from this, in which an excess of $110 million has been raised since 1981, goes to local health, youth and affordable housing non-profit programs.
On the other hand, there is Premiere Napa Valley. This event is for the trade to include restaurant owners, wine buyers, beverage directors, and wine shops and these attendees are looking to buy auction lots of extremely limited Premiere Napa Valley wine that will be unique to their establishment. The money raised from this auction supports the Napa Valley Vintners and the work they do promoting and protecting Napa Valley throughout the year.
Premiere Napa Valley was this past Saturday and it was one for the record books. This year’s event was attended by 600 top trade and media guests who traveled from eight countries and 28 states. The previous record of $3.1 million dollars in 2012 was nearly doubled as the auction brought in $5.9 million with 225 auction lots ranging from 60 bottles to 240 bottles each. 90% of the lots were from the 2012 harvest and overall each bottle of wine averaged a wholesale cost of $283. These 225 auction lots went to 73 successful bidders.
One lot, however, stood out amongst the rest. Lot #210 by Scarecrow Wine. It included 60 bottles of 2012 vintage 100% Cabernet Sauvignon called Toto’s Opium Dream: Scene III. The fruit came from the block of “Old Men” vines planted in 1945 on the J.J. Cohn Estate in Rutherford. The previous record was $125,000 for five cases of of 2009 Scarecrow. The new record is an astonishing $260,000, or $4,333 per bottle, sold to Los Angeles’ Wine House. “We are thrilled to bring home this magnificent wine, drawn from the J.J. Cohn vineyard from nearly seventy-year-old vines,” exclaimed Bill Knight of Los Angeles retailer The Wine House. “We were willing to pay what we did for this wine because of the beautiful expression of its lineage and we look forward to sharing it with our customers.”