Auction Napa Valley holds the title of most celebrated charity wine auction in the world. If you’ve had the pleasure of attending, you know why. The annual community fundraiser is a four-day event put on by the Napa Valley Vintners, a not-for-profit trade association responsible for “promoting and protecting” Napa Valley and its extraordinary role as the country’s premier wine-growing region. And which, as the vintners will proudly tell you, has given more than $100 million to health programs, youth efforts, affordable housing projects and other non-profit organizations. But while the auction raises funds for the less fortunate, fortune definitely abounds at the weekend-long series of events. Well-attended to say the least, everyone from top chefs and vineyard owners to world renowned wine makers, millionaires, philanthropists, celebrities and wine enthusiasts are present for the action at the auction.
At the Barrel Tasting & Case Auction happening just underground in the caves, individuals can get up close and personal with the people behind the wineries when winery owners and their winemakers offer samples straight from the barrel.
It was in 1981 that Robert and past Haute Living cover star Margrit Mondavi started this concept. Visionaries for sure, this duo knew that a world of people with an unwavering passion for the consumption and creation of fine wines from Napa Valley would come in droves to collect rarities while supporting their local charities.
And come they did.
Today, some 32 years later, the Auction stands strong. For the 2012 festivities, the lineup is nothing short of impressive. And with Haute Living acting as a supporting media sponsor, you know you’re in for a treat.
Here’s the breakdown of what’s up at Auction Napa Valley, 2012.
Thursday, May 31
“Welcome to Napa Valley” priva te dinner parties.
Traditionally, Auction Napa Valley participants kick off their weekend with a superb dinner party at a tobe- announced location. Each is held in the private home or winery of one of the participating vintners, and the surprises don’t end with the location. Some will be relaxed in nature and others extremely elegant. Top chefs prepare exquisite multi-course dinners and in-house winemakers pair each dish deliciously. What’s consistent? No matter where you end up, each dinner party is 100% Napa Valley in feel and every one offers the unique opportunity to come face to face with one of the members of the Napa Valley community who’s carving the direction of the region.
Friday, June 1 Barrel & E-Auctions Day
After recovering from what was likely among the most special nights you’ve enjoyed, attendees will gather at the Jarvis Winery just before noon to participate in tasting seminars and educational processes that will prepare your mind and your palate. Then the games begin.
Guests enjoy special wines provided by neighboring wineries and are educated through conversation with fellow attendees while gearing up to bid on the 40 mega-lots set to be auction.
The outdoor E-Auction Marketplace will be a little bit of a preview of what participants can expect to see at the main Auction. Here, pours of the fine offerings available for auction will be available en masse for attendees to have a taste and meet, face-to-face, the people behind the wineries and the auction lots that they will be entering for the next day’s main event. With over 150 lots available, there’s plenty to try. To that end, chefs from the region’s top institutions are on hand whipping up some of their specialties for you to enjoy between sips.
And there’s more, at the Barrel Tasting & Case Auction happening just underground in the caves, individuals can get up close and personal with the people behind the wineries when winery owners and their winemakers offer samples straight from the barrel. And let it be known, that if you like what you taste and weigh in as one of the top ten bidders for that lot, a case will be delivered directly to you.
“Friday Night in Napa Valley” priva te dinner parties
That evening, at varying locations throughout the Valley, private dinner parties in the same spirit as the evening prior will act as springboards to prepare all in attendance for the next day’s festivities.
Saturday, June 2 Live Auction Day
By 1pm on Saturday, people from near and far will have gathered at Meadowood. The iconic Napa Valley property is acting as host hotel for Auction Napa Valley’s Live Auction Day. Guests enjoy special wines provided by neighboring wineries and are educated through conversation with fellow attendees while gearing up to bid on the 40 mega-lots set to be auction.
But the afternoon wouldn’t be complete without a proper lunch, of course.
This year, a picnic-style lunch courtesy of Thomas Keller’s chef de cuisine Dave Cruz of Ad Hoc, will satiate your hunger for some haute cuisine.
Once the bidding is done and the paddles come down, the party really begins.
A post-auction dinner is served on the lawn and this year guests will enjoy the cooking of none other than America’s favorite chef, Emeril Lagasse. But don’t get too full; dancing will ensue.
Sunday, June 3 Fa rewell Fete
With long faces and fond memories, guest gather one last time for a breakfast in the company of the vintners at the Vintners Glen at Meadowood Napa Valley. And while all are sad to have to go, they do so with the proud feeling of having participated in the strong-footed 32-year tradition with a foundation strongly based in philanthropy and community, Auction Napa Valley.