Premiere Napa Valley Raises More Than $4 Million

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Auctioneer Ursula Hermacinsk takes a higher bidder at 2018 Premiere Napa Valley
Auctioneer Ursula Hermacinsk takes a higher bidder at 2018 Premiere Napa Valley

Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin for Napa Valley Vintners

Last week Napa was filled with restauranteurs, wine shop owners, and other industry folk eager to get their hands on the incredibly exclusive futures made specifically for Premiere Napa Valley. The 22nd annual wine auction, which is not open to the public like the other Napa Valley Vintners annual event, Auction Napa Valley, raised more than $4.1 million.

A bottle of Hourglass' limited-edition one-of-a-kind wine
A bottle of Hourglass’ limited-edition one-of-a-kind wine

What makes Premiere distinct are the limited-edition lots of one-of-a-kind, yet-to-be-released wine. “It’s about 200 unique and individual wine lots that are created by each one of the vintners that participate,” Jeff Smith, the founder and CEO of Hourglass and the 2018 Premiere Napa Valley chair explained to Haute Living. “They put together either a five, 10, or 20 case lot that is not marketed to anybody other than Premiere Napa. So Premiere Napa is kind of its own brand. And each year each one of these lots becomes an individual one-of-a-kind thing.” The wine is never again to be replicated. The bottles are hand-numbered and signed by the winemakers.

The packed room at the auction
The packed room at the auction

Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin for Napa Valley Vintners

Premiere is an opportunity for collectors to get their hands on rare wines that will age well. The proceeds from the auction support the Napa Valley Vintners association. “Their role in the wine industry is to preserve, protect and promote Napa Valley,” Smith says. His lot, which was called the Eye of the Beholder and featured 60 bottles of 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon to be released in July 2019, was one of the top sellers. Along with the wine, the winning bidder will be invited into Hourglass’ cellar to tweak the wine to his or her heart’s desire.

Ellie Anest and Aurelien Roulin of Eleven Eleven at the barrel tasting that preceded the auction
Ellie Anest and Aurelien Roulin of Eleven Eleven at the barrel tasting that preceded the auction

Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin for Napa Valley Vintners

Other top selling lots were from Silver Oak, Alpha Omega, Ovid Napa Valley, and Duckhorn Vineyards. The auction, that took place at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, was the culmination of a week of trade tastings, lunches, and dinners. The wines from 2016 were the stars of the show—the vintage is the fifth in a string of highly regarded Napa Valley vintages.

The barrel tasting
The barrel tasting

As one longtime supporter of Premiere, Dustin Cano, the proprietor of Meritage Wine Market, put it “the 2016 vintage showcases the perfect combination of power, purity of fruit and supple, silken textures that are the hallmark of Napa Valley. There is a balance to the wines and a freshness that makes them gorgeous early, but with the intensity, structure and backbone to age beautifully. Classic Napa!”

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