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Delhi Wine Club
Napa Valley Auction Nets Record $17 million for Charity

Posted: Monday, 03 June 2013 14:34

Napa Valley Auction Nets Record $17 million for Charity

June 03: Auction Napa Valley, the world's most celebrated charity annual wine event organised by Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), held at the Meadowood Napa Valley Resort owned by the owners of Harlan Estate and Screaming Eagle, collected a record amount of around $17 million, breaking the previous record of $10.5 million set in 2005

Pics: courtesy

Click For Large View"We are overjoyed with the generosity of the patrons, vintners and volunteers that made today possible," said Garen Staglin, who along with his wife Shari, daughter Shannon and son Brandon, were the 2013 event's honorary chairs. "The success of Auction Napa Valley 2013 allows us to fulfill our promise of turning marvels to miracles for the beneficiaries we support. Thank you all." No strangers to charitable efforts, the Staglins have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for mental health research by hosting on their own, an annual music festival at their Rutherford winery to support their cause. During my visit to her wine estate last year, I was wonderstruck at the enthusiasm and commitment for social work that Shari Staglin, Owner and CEO of Staglin Family Vineyard had done and the amount of money she had been able to collect and give to charities.

"Even after 33 years, Auction Napa Valley still has some surprises up its sleeve," says Shari. "We are grateful to the bidders, the vintners and the 500 community volunteers who, year after year, work together to showcase what makes Napa Valley such a special place -- good food, great wine and a community spirit unlike any other. So many lives will be changed by the irrational generosity of the wonderful bidders from around the globe. Our family thanks them from the bottom of our hearts."

"Auction Napa Valley 2013 was a show-stopper: that rare moment in time when months of hard work by many people, strong relationships, a recovering economy and the bounty of this special place converge to create a memorable event," said Linda Reiff, executive director of the NVV, host of the annual Auction Napa Valley, who felt that they might not see another year like this for a long time."

The names of many bidders were not available from the Napa Valley Vintners people, as the bidders had requested anonymity and the NVV requested that the media refrain from taking photos of the bidders or interacting with them during the live auction.

‘All the monies raised from the auction go to community health and children's education within Napa County. This will be its 33rd year. The Auction has raised over $110M since it started in 1981,’ informs Bruce Cakebread, CEO of Cakebread Cellars, who has been an active member and contributor to the auction which would now stand at a total collection of $127 million since the Late Robert Mondavi and his wife Margrit initiated the charity in 1981. Incidentally, the lot of 100 bottles from Mondavi fetched $260,000 at the charity event.

The Live Auction Celebration had reportedly raised an astounding sum of $14.3 million in just over 3.5 hours. The fundraising lots of the day included DANA Estate: $1.02 million, Harlan Estate: $800,000, Screaming Eagle: $500,000, Joseph Phelps Vineyards (of Insignia fame): $450,000 and Staglin Family Vineyard: $400,000.

The Staglins started to plan 18 months ago for the four-day extravaganza that charms the cash out of the high-rolling visitors from throughout the globe. Their fund-raising prowess evidently added an extra sizzle to this year’s wine auction. They made a special effort to communicate with people who had dropped off the guest list in the past few years. They also hosted pre-auction parties in places like Texas and China, in a bid to woo the potential bidders in a mood to spend. In all, about 3,000 invitations were mailed, according to Patsy McGaughy, Napa Valley Vintners director of communications, says a report in WSJ.

Those who purchased the full, four-day package (Thur-Sun) were invited to attend premium welcome parties hosted by the vintners on Thursday and Friday night. These ranged from a pig roast hosted by Joseph Phelps Vineyards to a Moroccan Mountaintop Magic dinner at the Pahlmeyer Waters Ranch Vineyard. Among several trips offered was one to France and Italy, hosted by Baroness Philippine de Rothschild and Marchese Piero Antinori, with Napa Valley interests in Opus One and Antica wineries. A trip to China included a meeting with retired basketball star and now a celebrity vintner, Yao Ming. A cruise to the Arctic Circle with new Louis Vuitton luggage provided, and a $10,000 shoe-shopping spree that included week-long trips to Mexico and British Columbia were some of the attractions.

One lot from Grgich Hills commemorated the 90th birthday of founder Mike Grgich with an overnight stay for three couples at his 1885 Victorian home, a private winery tour and dinner, a Balthazar (equivalent of 12 liters or 16 bottles) of wine and copies of the film that tells the story of this winemaker who made the Chardonnay from Montelena, that won the 1976 Judgment of Paris and put the Napa Valley on the world wine map - enough to make me visit his winery in Napa Valley last year and check out how the Croatian born winemaker had evolved as a wine producer.

The Auction had suffered the recessionary pangs with the amounts dwindling to $5.7 million in 2009. But since then it has steadied with collections in 2010 of $8.52 million followed by $7.3 million and $8.1 million last year. This year sees more than double the increase in 2013.

Click For Large ViewThe Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) is a 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 450 Napa Valley wineries and collectively claims to be a leader in the world-wide wine industry. Visit for details. For more information on the auction, visit If you would like to plan on attending the otherwise enjoyable event, pencil in the dates for next year from May 30-June 1, now.

Although India is far away from raising charities for such auctions yet, the producers could rise to the occasion and start thinking of charity where they donate special lots and rope in importers as well to contribute wine and trips to their principals. Not only will it add to some noble cause, it will also promote the wine culture faster. They will be provided adequate support by the Indian Wine Academy and delWine-dedicated to the cause of spreading wine culture through awareness, knowledge and education.

Subhash Arora

Staglin Vineyards export their wines to India through Wine Park whereas Brindo has been importing from Cakebread cellars for almost a decade-editor

Tags:  Auction Napa Valley, Bruce Cakebread, Cakebread Cellars, Napa Valley Vintners, Grgich Hills, 1976 Judgment of Paris


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