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In 1981, a group of Napa Valley vintners, headed by Robert and Margrit Mondavi, started a wine auction to support Napa County’s two hospitals. That first year, the Napa Valley Wine Auction raised $141,000, affirming the practice of transforming wine into community good. On the eve of what is now Auction Napa Valley (May 31-June 2), this month’s Ask the Vintners column explores the impact the Napa Valley Vintners has had on the community by investing proceeds from this celebrated charity wine event.

What is Auction

Napa Valley?

Hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), Auction Napa Valley is a three-day celebration of the best of Napa Valley: extraordinary wines, creative cuisine, breathtaking scenery, gracious hospitality, community collaboration and the spirit of generosity. Auction-goers travel from around the world to Napa Valley the first weekend in June to be part of the celebration, to spend time with our region’s winemakers and winery owners, to bid on very special wines and experiences and to contribute to nonprofits in our community.

Where does

the money go?

The NVV currently invests proceeds from Auction Napa Valley in community health and children’s education. A core group of about 25 Napa County nonprofit organizations receive the funds. Some examples include OLE Health, Boys & Girls Clubs from American Canyon to Calistoga, UpValley Family Centers, Collabria Care, Mentis and NEWS, among many others. The NVV also funds strategic initiatives and capital projects that support its goals to create a healthier and more educated community.

Who decides how the funds are distributed?

The NVV’s Grants Review Committee, made up of vintners and community members, reviews applications from nonprofits that meet funding requirements. The Grants Review Committee has a specific set of goals and guidelines it follows. It meets, reviews and discusses grant applications over several months each year. The Committee then presents its recommendations to the NVV’s Board of Directors. Once approved, NVV distributes grants to the approved applicants, typically in the fall, a few months after the annual Auction Napa Valley.

What are the requirements to apply for a grant?

NVV makes grants from Auction Napa Valley proceeds to organizations serving Napa County that are meeting a documented, demonstrated need. The NVV’s strategy is to invest deeply, rather than broadly, in the areas of community health and children’s education to level the playing field for vulnerable residents and create a positive impact on the community. The overall goal is for all residents of Napa County to have access to quality health services and educational opportunities that help them live healthy, productive lives.

How much has the NVV granted?

Since 1981, the NVV has invested $180 million in local nonprofit organizations—$68 million of that total has been distributed in the past five years alone. Annually, the lives of more than 100,000 clients of NVV’s nonprofit partners are touched by these proceeds.

What are some tangible results of these investments?

NVV contributed $6 million toward the new OLE Health building going up in south Napa and was also the lead funder for its current clinic on Pear Tree Lane. The Boys & Girls Clubs received $4 million for construction of two new clubhouses, one in American Canyon and one in Calistoga ($2 million each).

NVV’s five-year, nearly $5 million investment in the Napa Valley Early Learning Initiative coordinated services to ensure that English language learners could enter kindergarten ready to learn. Every child in Napa County has access to health insurance thanks to more than $3.5 million in funding from the NVV to the Community Health Initiative over the past 12 years.

The Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, managed by the Napa Valley Community Foundation, was created with a $10 million lead donation from the NVV following the South Napa Earthquake in 2014. The Fund supported more than 13,000 people following the 2014 South Napa Earthquake and more than 15,000 survivors of the 2017 Wine Country Wildfires.

Where can I learn more?

The Community section of the Napa Valley Vintners’ ( website has detailed information about NVV’s community investments.

Ask the Vintners is a monthly column written by the Napa Valley Vintners nonprofit association. Submit your questions to and learn more at

NVV Community Investment Facts

Since 1981, NVV has invested $180 million in Napa County nonprofits.

NVV has granted $68 million in the past 5 years alone.

Funds are invested in 25 community health and children’s education organizations.

Annually, 100,000 in Napa County are touched by these investments.

Proceeds are raised at the NVV’s annual Auction Napa Valley fundraiser.

The next Auction Napa Valley is May 31-June 2, 2018.

Ask the Vintners is a monthly column written by the Napa Valley Vintners nonprofit association. Submit your questions to and learn more at

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Ask the Vintners is a monthly column written by the Napa Valley Vintners nonprofit association. Submit your questions to and learn more at