For the first time in its 31-year history, rain fell on the main event of Napa Valley’s renowned charity wine auction held on the lawn of Meadowood Napa Valley in St. Helena on June 4. The fundraiser has been hosted annually by the Napa Valley Vintners since 1981 under Robert and MargritMondavi and has since grown to a four-day celebration of wine, food and fundraising.
Despite the weather, all of the planned 800 attendees joined the festivities and bidders rallied together, pouring $7.3 million into auction revenue that will provide for the region’s charities. The member vintners offered up forty lots at the Live Auction on Saturday for bidding, following the ultimate Napa Valley picnic prepared by local chef Cindy Pawlcyn with inspiration from her three eateries – Go Fish, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen and Mustards Grill. The Live Auction opened with a bang as professional dancers took to the stage, enticing bidders to raise their paddles for a collection of wine from dozens of Napa Valley producers, packaged with other prizes like professional ballroom dance lessons and a trip to the next season’s finale of Dancing with the Stars in Hollywood – which sold for $70,000 to a bidder from Menlo Park, California.