Wine Auction for Napa Charities Raises More than $8 Million

Who was there? Mark Zuckerberg's parents, Emeril, both Fritz and Ursula and local chefs and vintners galore, in a setting that included a cheetah, the America's Cup and a fried chicken dinner. Here's a full report from the Napa Valley Vintners.


St Helena — The Napa Valley Vintners' (NVV) annual community fundraiser Auction Napa Valley (ANV) brought more than $8 million in spirited bidding over the weekend, May 31 to June 3, 2012, as guests from across the country and around the globe gathered for the most celebrated charity wine auction in the world. With picture-perfect weather, the quintessential Napa gathering of wine and food lovers was by all measures a great success.

The Chappellet family of Chappellet Vineyard and Winery served as honorary chairs for the 32nd annual event. Guided by the creative vision of the family's matriarch Molly, art installations that celebrated the origins of what makes Napa Valley so spectacular along with a keen look at the life cycle of the grapevine awed attendees at every turn upon arrival at Live Auction events at Meadowood Napa Valley on Saturday. Recorded sounds of birds and other wildlife, vineyard workers and calming Zen-like music were synchronized with live-performance jazz and classical music that enhanced the theater of the art installations in the beautiful lawn and wooded setting at Meadowood.

"Hopefully we engaged all of the senses this weekend as we combined art, music, outstanding wine and delicious food and dancing with spirited bidding that raised millions of dollars for these great charities," said event honorary chair Molly Chappellet.

The Live Auction day began with preview displays of the 40 incredible lots offered by vintners that included a live cheetah on hand to showcase a lot that centered on not only a collection of Napa Valley wines but a hosted safari to South Africa.

Competitive yachting's top prize was also on display, the America's Cup, as another lot offered the winning bidder the sixth-man's spot on one of the competing boats during racing events in San Francisco later this summer along with a selection of Napa Valley wines.

The 800 attendees that included bidders, vintners and media dined on Napa Valley's signature fried chicken picnic lunch from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc prepared by the restaurant's chef Dave Cruz. Served in a wooden wine box, the meal was complemented by scores of vintners pouring crisp, refreshing whites and rosés — perfect for summer sipping.

Trumpeters heralded the start of the Live Auction where rousing bidding began and stayed strong through the 40 offerings — including the finale and top earning lot, Fund A Need, which brought more than $1.2 million for children's health and education initiatives. Here, there was no prize to be captured other than the satisfaction of helping children. Raising paddles were 82 bidders.

Top bidder Mary Miner of Oakville Ranch Vineyards said, "Giving back to our own community is one of the most important things I can do." She captured the number one spot, winning six lots including group offerings from vintners from the Spring Mountain District and another from the Oakville Winegrowers.

Lot 31 offered by Chappellet Vineyard and Winery brought the top dollars of the day, a $720,000 combined total, from two dueling bidders at $360,000 who were both made winners when the Chappellets generously agreed to double the lot. Barbara Banke captured the Lot 35 featuring a private concert for 28 guests performed by the Grammywinning trio Lady Antebellum in Napa Valley along with a series of 3 liter bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon from some of the valley’s most notable producers. 

Michael Uytengsu won Lot 37 from Antica Napa Valley and Dalla Valle along with Lot 30 from Seavey Vineyard landing him in the top 5 bidders of the day. After the final gavel, merriment moved onto the lawn where renowned chef Emeril Lagasse provided the perfect mix of signature flavors with his creative edge.  

Earlier in the proceedings to whet the appetite of the bidders in the tent, he offered up the chef’s coat off his back raising $9,000 for the overall take. 

Top 10 Live Auction Lots 

Lot 40 Fund A Need 

Lot 31 Chappellet Vineyard and Winery 

Lot 35 Chappellet Vineyard and Winery, Chateau Montelena, Gargiulo Vineyards, Raymond Vineyards,  Shafer Vineyards and Silver Oak Cellars 

Lot 37 Antica Napa Valley and Dalla Valle 

Lot 34 Darioush 

Lot 15 BURE Family Wines, Morlet Family Vineyards and Vineyard 7 & 8 

Lot 36 Harbison Estate Wines 

Lot 18 Napa Valley Vintners with America’s Cup 

Lot 39 Napa Valley Vintners with Emeril Lagasse 

Lot 13 Lokoya Barrel Tasting and Case Auction 

Once again the unique-to-Auction Napa Valley Barrel Tasting and Case Auction rocked the first day of fundraising bringing more than $1.5 million from 100 offerings.   

“I don’t know anywhere in the world where this kind of auction is offered,” said event honorary chair Cyril Chappellet.  

“Here we have winemakers and winery owners standing all together ‘thieving’ wine right from the barrel for our guests to taste and bid on.” 

Friday’s Barrel Tasting and Case Auction and Marketplace was held at Jarvis Winery in the hills east of the town of Napa, the first time the daytime event has been held in the southern part of the valley.  

Here this unique, all-underground winery provided the perfect setting for the festival event. Alongside meadows and ponds were tents with 40 of Napa Valley’s top restaurateurs and artisan food producers including Auberge du Soleil, , , , Napa River, , The French Laundry, and Tra Vigne Restaurant among others offered bites as well as wines from more than 100 wineries. Many of the wineries in the Marketplace were pouring the wines up for bid in the online global E-Auction. 

The top selling barrel lot was from first-time vintner participant Phillipe Melka. Although Phillipe has been the winemaker for other wineries that presented at the Barrel Auction, this is the first time that he has offered a barrel under his own label, capturing the highest income at $101,285 for the ten cases that comprise the barrel.

"For Cherie (my wife) and me, it has been many years of hard work and to be here today is very special," noted Melka. "The friendships we've made along the way and this strong showing today have made it all worthwhile, while helping to make our community a better place to live."  

Top 10 Barrel Auction Lots 

Melka Wines 

Scarecrow Wine 

Shafer Vineyards 

Chappellet Vineyard and Winery 

Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and Winery 


Crocker and Star Wines 

Joseph Phelps Vineyards 

Realm Cellars 

Vineyard 7 & 8 

Global Online E-Auction Wraps Up Weekend’s Fundraising 

The virtual Auction Napa Valley experience is the global online E-Auction that opened for bidding to aworld-wide audience on Sunday, May 27 with bids escalating into the final moments as lots closed in three waves on Sunday, June 3.  

Vintners provided 149 unique offerings of wine, wine collections including large format bottles and vintner-hosted adventures that added more than $358,000 to the tally.

Top 10 E-Auction Lots 

Sherwin Family Vineyards 

Gandona, Gemstone, Lail Vineyards, Melka Wines, Moone-Tsai, Parallel, Seavey Vineyard 

Domaine Chandon 

Chappellet Vineyard and Winery 

Pine Ridge Vineyards 

Spring Mountain Vineyard 

Napa Valley Vintners with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts 

Napa Valley Vintners with Artisanal Premium Cheese 

Beringer Vineyards TOR

Kenward Family Wines 

Vintner Private Parties 

One of the most appealing aspects of ANV and what sets this charity auction apart are the private dinner parties held in intimate settings in vintners’ homes and wineries on Thursday and Friday evenings to welcome Passport and Three-day package holders to the weekend.  

From casual in-vineyard barbecues prepared by the vintners to lavish spreads by top toques, and everything in between are how the evenings of Auction weekend are spent.  

Bidders have the chance to create or continue friendships forged with the hosting vintners, sharing stories, great wine and camaraderie.  

About Auction Napa Valley 

 Auction Napa Valley, the Napa Valley Vintners’ annual community fundraiser, is the most celebrated charity wine auction in the world, having given more than $100 million to health, youth and affordable housing non-profit programs.  

Founded in 1981, under the vision of Robert and Margrit Mondavi this quintessential showcase of Napa Valley’s best wine, food and outstanding hospitality has grown to be a four-day gathering held each year the first weekend in June. Learn more at www.AuctionNapaValley.org

About the Napa Valley Vintners 

The Napa Valley Vintners is the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation as the premier winegrowing region. From seven founding members in 1944, today the association represents more than 430 Napa Valley wineries and collectively is a leader in the world-wide wine industry. To learn more about our region and its legendary American wines, visit www.NapaVintners.com

Mike Treleven June 04, 2012 at 02:40 PM
The wine and grape industry do so much for residents here in the county. And, such an event puts the valley in a positive light in the media spotlight all over the world.
blakesley chappellet June 04, 2012 at 05:51 PM
here are links to videos created for several of the top 10 lots #1 Fund-A-Need http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfTHm2NYapM&feature=relmfu #2 Passage to Africa http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=kEJ9xbGbi3I #3 Lady Antebellum http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDfxCNudLkM #7 Yachting aboard Just Enough http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cadINU4D-Ck&feature=relmfu
Louisa Hufstader June 04, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Wow, these are great and I am adding them to the article now. Thank you, and congratulations on a gloriously successful Auction Napa Valley. Next year, Napa Patch would love to cover it live!


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