The 34th annual Auction Napa Valley, the biggest fundraising event in the county, has been in the works for more than a year, with more than 500 community volunteers helping to create a world-class event that brings together the best wine and food in Napa Valley to raise millions of dollars for local nonprofit organizations.
Last year’s auction raised $16.9 million. Since 1981, the auctions have raised more than $120 million for local charities.
ANV is coordinated by the Napa Valley Vintners and this year’s honorary chairs for the event are Kary and David Duncan of Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars, and Valerie and Jeff Gargiulo of Gargiulo Vineyards.
“Our plan is for people to come and just celebrate and have the best time,” said Valerie Gargiulo. “It’s very time-consuming but very rewarding when people start bidding.”
This weekend, three different auctions will offer bidders one-of-a-kind wines, private visits with winemakers, exotic travel and experiences while supporting community health and child education.
The Barrel Auction takes place on Friday and the Live Auction on Saturday. The E-Auction, which allows bidders from around the world to participate, is already underway.
ANV begins Thursday evening with welcome parties at six wineries throughout the valley. Guests will be able to meet the host vintners plus other collaborating vintners.
“People love to come and meet the vintners. The vintners are the celebrities that weekend, and the chefs,” Gargiulo said, adding the idea is to get people excited and energized to bid.
Friday’s Barrel Auction will take place in the remodeled redwood cellar barrel room at Charles Krug Winery. Bidders will taste wine directly from the barrels of 100 Napa Valley winemakers, and the top bidders will secure 10 cases of wine, which will be released later. The event is sold out with over 900 people signed up.
“It will be the perfect place for laying out 100 barrels. We’ve got 100 of the top vintners and I think it’s going to be one of the best barrel auctions we’ve ever had,” said David Duncan.
The lots will be predominantly cabernet sauvignons from the 2012 vintage.
Also on Friday, more than 2,000 people are expected at the outdoor Marketplace, also at Charles Krug, which will feature 100 vintners who are participating in the E-Auction or the Live Auction, pouring their current release wines, and more than 40 local restaurants and purveyors offering unique foods.
Friday night, vintners will open their homes and wineries for private dinners with Auction guests.
On Saturday, the Live Auction Celebration begins with lunch on the lawn at Meadowood Napa Valley, the site of Live Auction every year since 1981. The lunch will be prepared by more than 40 of Napa Valley’s most well-known chefs, including Michael Chiarello, Brandon Sharp, Thomas Keller and Tracy Wood Anderson.
The 50 lots that are being auctioned off on Saturday are one-of-a-kind, showcasing the finest Napa Valley has to offer, combined with luxurious local and world experiences. The first lot includes wine and a 14-night voyage for four aboard the largest privately owned mega-yacht on earth. Lot No. 11 includes more than 400 bottles of wine, one from each Napa Valley vineyard, and a Polaris electric car. There is also a buy-out of the French Laundry for 50 people, trips to vineyards in Germany, and a professionally restored 1957 Corvette.
“There is a lot of generosity here. Vintners have given hotels, they’ve given airplanes, airfare, they’ve given tons of wine, so it’s a collaborative effort,” said Jeff Gargiulo.
Valerie Gargiulo concurred. “We have a lot of generous friends and people who care about the community,” she said.
The online E-Auction began Sunday with 175 lots, and will close Sunday, June 8, at various times in the afternoon. These lots include wine, private experiences with winemakers, weekend packages, and specialty items like an outdoor pizza oven from Michael Chiarello’s NapaStyle.
This year, registered guests will be able to bid on and follow the E-Auction on their mobile devices from anywhere at the event.
Even if people can’t attend or do not choose to participate in the Barrel or the Live Auction, any donor from anywhere around the world can still contribute to Fund-A-Need lots. St. Helena-based agencies that are recipients of the funds include St. Helena Hospital Foundation, Clinc Ole, Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Helena and Calistoga, Rianda House, and UpValley Family Centers.
“We’re doing everything we can, as a community, to help the community,” said Jeff Gargiulo. “That’s the theme of the Fund-A-Need, friends helping friends.”
As far as topping last year’s $16.9 million, he said, “We’re going to raise enough money to make a profound difference.”
To participate, donate or just check out the action, go to AuctionNapaValley.org.