Generosity Abounds At 38th Annual Auction Napa Valley

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Auction Napa Valley's dinner at Meadowood
Auction Napa Valley’s dinner at Meadowood

Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin for Napa Valley Vintners

The first weekend in June holds a special place in wine lovers’ hearts. It’s when the annual Auction Napa Valley, now in its 38th year, takes place. The auction was chaired by the Mondavi sisters, Angelina, Alycia, Riana, and Giovanna, fourth-generation descendants of the Peter Mondavi Sr. family. With a series of private meals, 2018’s festivities began on Thursday, May 31.

A vintner's dinner
A vintner’s dinner

Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin for Napa Valley Vintners

Auction guests were invited to dine at various wineries throughout the valley including Davis Estate, Raymond Vineyards, and Grgich Hills, where legendary winemaker Miljenko “Mike” Grgich threw a 95th birthday with a culinary feast prepared by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. The next day everyone headed to the Mondavi family’s Charles Krug estate for the Barrel Auction. 110 lots of wine futures were up for sale at the walk-around tasting event that reached a record high in fundraising.

The Barrel Auction
The Barrel Auction

Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin for Napa Valley Vintners

Saturday was the main event, the live auction celebration at Meadowood Napa Valley. The tent was filled with abundant generosity—the 32 lots raised $13.6 million. Put together by Opus One the top-selling lot was number 11, a French-themed experience that included four six-liter Imperials of Opus One and a unique experience for two couples to attend the 2019 Masked Ball in Versailles, France. It sold to two successful bidders raising a total of $1.4 million.

Lot 20 top bidders Lynn and James Grehl
Lot 20 top bidders Lynn and James Grehl

Photo Credit: Olivia Hsu Decker

Lot 20, which was donated by the Napa Valley Vintners and Lexus, fetched an unexpected $1 million bid from a Boca Raton, Florida couple. The experience featured 18 bottles of Napa Valley wine and tickets plus accommodations to the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. All of the lots were wild once-in-a-lifetime adventures that included wine, meals cooked by Michelin-star chefs, private flights to luxurious resorts, and tickets to basketball games and fashion shows.

Michael Franti
Michael Franti

Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin for Napa Valley Vintners

Once the live auction concluded, the event turned into a fabulous dinner party with a meal crafted by chef Nancy Oakes. Inspired by Mondavi family recipes, the menu featured a family-style feast of pheasant and porcini meatballs, vegetable side dishes, fresh garbanzo beans and pasta, and roasted prawns. Beloved local rocker Michael Franti & Spearhead performed a moving set that got the crowd dancing.

The live auction
The live auction

Photo Credit: Alexander Rubin for Napa Valley Vintners

If you missed the festivities, mark your calendar. Next year’s auction takes place May 30 to June 2, and it coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Napa Valley Vintners—the association that organizes the event. More than 30 past auction chairs are coming back to plan the ultimate wine country extravaganza.

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