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Napa Valley Vintners new auction is underway online

From the Napa Valley Wine Insider Digest: Feb. 20, 2021 series
Wine Press

The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) inaugural Direct from the Cellar: Napa Valley Library Wine Auction is underway, offering 96 lots from some of the valley’s best-known producers.

Taking place online through Zachys wine auction house, it opened on Feb. 11 and culminates in a live-streamed auction on Saturday, Feb. 20, beginning at 3 p.m., Pacific time.

Last November, the Vintners announced they were ending Auction Napa Valley, the annual charity wine auction, which had raised more than $200 million over four decades for local non-profits.

The auction, founded in 1981, had taken place each year despite occasional floods and heatwaves, but in 2020 it was hit by a double blow: the coronavirus pandemic shut down live gatherings and then the fall wildfires burned the Meadowood Napa Valley resort, which had hosted the live auction each year under tents erected on the fairway.

While the Vintners mull their next steps “to leverage Napa’s world-class wines to care for the community,” they created Direct from the Cellar.

“The effects of both Covid-19, travel restrictions, restaurant closures and the California wildfires have been difficult on the wine industry, but the NVV’s goals are the same as they’ve been since 1944: to champion Napa as a premier wine region and to provide leadership in solving community issues in the Napa Valley,” the Vintners’ website states.

On the website,, it’s possible to follow the auction as bids come in, vying for the lots.

As of Tuesday, one of the top draws included Lot #73 from Shafer Vineyards, a 15-vertical collection of its flagship Hillside Select, which was at $24,000.

Many of the lots are in large format bottles such as Lot #72, three 1.5 liter magnums of collectors’ favorite Screaming Eagle, which was at $26,000.

Lot #56, 25 Ways to Celebrate Oakville, comprises 25 magnums from producers in the Oakville appellation, including Harlan and Opus One. The top bid for it, on Tuesday, was $15,000. Lot #13, “Best of Philippe Melka” offering 15 magnums from 15 Napa Valley estates crafted by the in-demand winemaker’s Atelier Melka was at $8,500. Lot#70, Rutherford Dust in Magnums, offering 22 magnums, was at $6,500.

The website has the complete catalog and registration for bidding, as well as other information, such as “So what to wear to a live-stream auction?”

Whereas Auction Napa Valley live event often provided a fashion show of designer shoes and hats, for this new event, it’s recommended to “go all out — pull out your favorite yoga pants and get those warm fuzzy slippers.”

The only thing that is de rigeur? “It is required to have a delicious glass of Napa Valley wine in hand.”


Experts believe that red wine can have a number of important health benefits when it is drunk in moderation. Red wine contains a lot of polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties and can improve cardiovascular health. Polyphenols also have anti-inflammatory properties that can contribute to better brain health. The compounds in red wine can increase levels of good cholesterol while lowering that of bad cholesterol. One study found that drinking wine had a positive effect on bone mineral density in both men and women. However, it is important to note that excessive drinking can have a negative effect on bone function and brain health. Experts recommend that women consume at most one five-ounce glass of red wine a day. Men can consume two glasses. If you do not already drink, it is not advised to start drinking wine solely for the potential health benefits. Polyphenols can also be found in grapes, nuts, and dark chocolate, so you can still get their benefits without drinking wine


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Sasha Paulsen is food and wine editor at the Napa Valley Register. Reach her at

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Features Editor

Sasha Paulsen has been features editor at the Napa Valley Register since 1999. A graduate of Napa High School, she studied English at UC Berkeley and St. Mary's College and earned a Masters in Journalism from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

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