The Napa Valley Vintners has all of its ducks in place for a fabulous 2014 Auction Napa Valley. Showcasing exquisite wines, culinary offerings, hospitality and verdant beauty, the event takes its place alongside Europe’s great wine festivals, including France’s Vinexpo and Italy’s Vinitaly. The ancillary vintner welcome parties started on Thursday. Today at Charles Krug Winery is the traditional Barrel Auction indoors and, outside on the tree-shaded grounds, the Marketplace extravaganza, featuring dozens of wineries pouring current released wines alongside treats from the region’s acclaimed restaurants and food purveyors. Vintner-hosted dinners will be held in the evening.

The main event, the live auction on Saturday held in a gaily-decorated, huge tent at Meadowood Resort, is already sold out. However, wine lovers around the globe with their computers or smartphones still can participate in the E-auction, which provides an opportunity for them to own wines as good as any in the world, as blind tastings have proved. The 177 E-Auction lots may be viewed online at up until noon on June 6, PDT. It is also possible to submit bids on the live auction lots. This year’s handsome auction catalog contains full-page, color photos of the winemakers and their auction lots in addition to info on the history of the auction, and other fascinating material. It is truly a collector’s item.

Napa Valley is becoming almost as famous for its music festivals as its wine: BottleRock, the three-day festival (last Friday, Saturday and Sunday) had to be the No. 1 attraction of the year in terms of sheer numbers. As many as 80,000 “festivities” rocked and rolled, sipped Napa Valley’s vinous nectars and foam-topped suds, munched victuals from over 23 local restaurants and nine food trucks and listened and danced to bands playing nearly every genre of pop music from hip-hop to country to indie to soul and punk from noon to early evening in VIP lounges and three stages. A small army of volunteers directed foot traffic, transported VIPs in electric carts through the 21 acres of the festival, provided directions for bewildered festival visitors and picked up every scrap of paper. The festival was a great success both for the producers and the guests.

The next musical happening will be the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway on June 11-15 at the Center for the Performing Arts at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville and various venues throughout the valley. Packages run from $70-125. Visit for details and tickets.

Heads up: In case you missed my April 25 column, which provided info on the ninth fabulous season of the 2014 Festival del Sole July 11-20 schedule, here is a reminder. This 10-day summer festival is a singular experience, blending exceptional music, theater, and dance with the region’s fine wine and cuisine. Visit for the complete schedule of the exciting festival events.

The 20th year of Music in the Vineyards will be held from Aug. 1-24 where world-class chamber musicians will fill the air from the Carneros to Calistoga. Tickets are now on sale. Go to for a brochure and schedule of performances.

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The 2014 Staglin Music Festival for Brain Health will be held Sept. 13 and 14 at the Staglin Family Vineyard in Rutherford. It is a week-end of learning (a free symposium on brain research) to start on Saturday, followed by an exceptional wine tasting of some of the great bottles of the valley (accompanied by exceptional hors d’oeuvres), then followed by a concert featuring a “red-hot blues-rock quartet Vintage Trouble”. Stay tuned for more info.

CABOOSE ITEM: In a new book The Beer Drinkers Guide to God by Episcopalian priest, William Miller, originally from Texas but now in Hawaii, makes a case. He says “if Jesus were alive today, fine wine and beer would be the beverages of his choice.” The good man of the cloth also tends bar at a local watering hole where he can reach out to souls who never attend church. He quotes scripture: “Behold the rain which descends from Heaven upon our vineyards to be changed into wine which is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”.