Entering Napa Country... (Photo: Copyright 2008 Jason Tinacci)
Premiere Napa Valley, organized by Napa Valley Vintners, has become a favorite winter tradition among local vintners. With the mad days of harvest long over and new wines at rest in the cellar, wine folks have time to put on a show for "the trade"--wine retail/wholesale buyers, cellar buyers for restaurants, and a few members of the media. Attendees have a chance to barrel-taste and bid on 200 unique small wine lots made just for the event. Lot bottles are specially labeled and each lot--ranging in size from 5 to 20 cases--can be sold to only one buyer. This guarantees exclusivity to the purchaser.
A two-day event, this year Premier Napa Valley ran February 19-20, accompanied by plenty of large and small celebrations around the valley. The auction was held on Saturday, the 20th, and it surpassed expectations, bringing in $1.9 million--a 30% increase over last year. The auction’s top lot: five cases of Shafer Vineyards’ Sunspot Cabernet Sauvignon, which sold for $37,000.
I hit three pre-auction events on Friday, accompanied by a photographer friend. Wow: what a great time we had! Here's a rundown of our three events:
Appellation St. Helena 6th Annual Trade Tasting
Charles Krug Winery's Carriage House
First up, early Friday afternoon, was the 6th Annual Trade Tasting of Appellation St. Helena, held at Charles Krug Winery in an 1881 carriage house that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Behind the long tables ringing the large upper room stood representatives from about 40 of the appellation's wineries. Some had opened a range of their wines; others confined themselves to a single