Napa Valley wineries have been spruced up and owners will don their best bib and tucker to welcome hundreds of wine collectors and friends of wine to this weekend’s 36th annual Auction Napa Valley.
Hosted by Napa Valley Vintners, the American Wine Classic celebrates the world-renowned wines, warm hospitality and vineyard backdrop of the nation’s leading wine region as it raises funds for area nonprofit organizations focused on health and children’s education.
Under the leadership of Agustin F. Huneeus of Quintessa, this year’s honorary event chair, Auction Napa Valley 2016 kicks off Thursday evening as dozens of Napa Valley vintners welcome bidders and guests into their wineries, vineyards and cellars for casual parties.
The Napa Valley Barrel Auction takes place Friday at the Robert Mondavi Winery, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Attendees will stroll the grounds enjoying more than 100 current release wines and small bites from dozens of Napa Valley’s talented chefs. Inside the winery, guests will be able to sample 100 wines from the much-anticipated 2013, 2014 and 2015 vintages directly from the barrel as they bid on single cases of some of Napa Valley’s top wines.
New this year is the Big Board Auction, an additional way for attendees to bid on one-of-a-kind Napa Valley wines, experiences and other custom adventures.
On Friday evening, auction guests will disperse around the valley to enjoy intimate dinners at vintner homes and wineries, prepared by many of Napa Valley’s renowned chefs.
Saturday kicks off with another new addition to the charity wine event experience, vintner-hosted alfresco parties, including such outdoor activities as bocce and brunch, yoga in the vineyards and plein air art classes.
The centerpiece of Auction Napa Valley, the live auction, begins at 2:30 Saturday afternoon on the fairway at Meadowood Resort with attendees entering a giant white tent an hour later to bid on three dozen spectacular one-of-a-kind lots. The live auction will be followed by dinner on the lawn prepared by South America’s celebrated chef Francis Mallmann and his Meadowood team. Music during dinner will be provided by well-known flamenco guitarist Ottmar Leibert and dancing will take place under the stars to the most recognized post-revolution Cuban musical group, Los Van Van.
Live auction lots include a private dinner for 14 at Press in St. Helena with renowned wine critic Robert Parker Jr., a VIP experience at next year’s BottleRock Napa Valley with vintners Valerie and Jeff Gargiulo, a 1941 Ford Woody Wagon filled with Rombauer Vineyards wines, dinners in Napa Valley and Pomerol with celebrated winemaker Michel Rolland, a visit with the Antinori family at Tuscan and Napa Valley wine estates and a yacht trip down the Napa River with Pillar Rock’s Ron and Teri Kuhn to San Francisco’s McCovey Cove to take in a San Francisco Giants game.
The weekend comes to a close with a farewell brunch on Sunday.
Auction Napa Valley proceeds touch the lives of more than 100,000 clients of Napa Valley nonprofits annually. Since the charity wine auction’s inception in 1981, the 525-member trade association has invested more than $150 million from Auction Napa Valley proceeds in the areas of community health and children’s education.