Last weekend's annual Premiere Napa Valley brought in a hefty $3.04 million, the Napa Valley Vintners reported. The total nearly matching last year's record-breaking event of $3.1 million. 211 lots donated by 218 NVV members were purchased in just over three hours of lively and spirited bidding during auction at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.
Even more impressive, the auction, a fundraiser for the Vintners' operations, is open only to members of the trade - retailers, corporate buyers, etc. - and the yearly auction is seen as providing a "gauge of the overall demand for Napa wine, and perhaps a broader barometer of the American fine wine market overall," according to the Vinography wine blog.
Obviously members of the trade are doing well in today's economy: the average price per bottle of the wines often made by Napa Valley's winemakers specifically for this event, was $160.75 - that would be wholesale, of course.
NVV takes that as ”an indicator of the rarity of Premiere Napa Valley wines, the demand for the limited 2011 vintage and the overall appreciation for the consistent quality wines produced in the region."
This year's Premiere, always a hot ticket, sold out six weeks in advance. The more than 1,000 total attendees included 600 top trade and media from 35 states and 9 countries.
The wines on auction at Premiere Napa Valley were largely from the 2011 vintage, one characterized as "challenging" by many winemakers, due to heavy rains just before harvest.
Vinography founder Alder Yarrow gives top marks to the reds for 2011 Schrader Cellars, LLC "TSA Cuvée" Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley; 2011 Ehlers Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena; and 2011 Joseph Phelps Vineyards Red Wine, Napa Valley.
His choices for white included a couple from years other than 2011: 1987 Schramsberg Vineyards "J. Schram Late-Disgorged" Sparkling Wine, Napa Valley; 2012 Grgich Hills Estate "Miljenko's 90th Vintage" Chardonnay, Los Carneros; and 2011 Arietta "Ivory Keys" Semillon, Napa Valley.