Wine Sales Soar at Premiere Napa Valley Barrel-Futures Auction

Trade Display Confidence and Optimism in Napa Valley Wines at Annual


2/21/2010 - St Helena, CA—Napa Valley Vintners' (NVV) Premiere Napa Valley barrel tasting and auction, the American wine industry's most prestigious gathering for the wine trade, concluded the day Saturday, February 20, raising nearly $2 million. Bidders from across the country and around the globe purchased the 200 unique, crafted-only-for-this-auction offerings. The 2010 tally was nearly 30% stronger than 2009 and bested only twice in its 14-year history.

"The story, however, is not about the funds raised as being the benchmark of the Napa Valley wine industry's price stabilization in the current economy. It's about the confidence buyers for resale have in Napa Valley wines today, and the optimism and viability they feel about Napa Valley wines in the months and years ahead when these wines will be released for sale to consumers," said noted wine industry analyst Barbara Insel, of Stonebridge Research, who was at Saturday's event.

The first lot of the day went for $26,000, offered by Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, whose General Manager Jeff McBride chaired this year's Premiere. Glen Knight of Los Angeles' Wine House said, "The event is great for pressing the flesh--building strong relationships is important in this business. Lot 1 was delicious. We met the winemaker on Friday night and fell in love with the wine. We had to have it."

McBride said, "Speaking for all Napa Valley vintners, we are delighted to have had such a great week of welcoming our trade partners to the Napa Valley—we had a ball! I don't know of anywhere in the world where this kind of positive energy and camaraderie between the wine trade and the vintners is at this level of professionalism—or this level of fun."

The top-selling lot of the day was from Shafer Vineyards, a five-case offering of Sunspot Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon sold to Napa-based for $37,000.

The 200 different wines comprise Premiere Napa Valley's annual portfolio, an exclusive brand of wine that is now in its fourteenth year. The individual wines, purchased by wine retailers, restaurateurs and distributors will provide these tradespeople the opportunity to enhance their offerings to savvy wine consumers. These sought-after wines are an important addition to a collector's wine cellar and the ability to sell these wines offers the retailer a product to sell that is at the peak of quality, as well as one-of-a-kind.

The perennial top bidder at Premiere, Gary Fisch of Gary's Wine and Marketplace with three stores in New Jersey said, "We had heard so much about the 2008 vintage and came to taste that. We found that it rivals the best, so we were really excited to bid today. The wines show texture, flavor and acidity. Our customers are starting to drink more premium wines, and they're calling on us to bring these kinds of wines home for them." Fisch purchased 38 different wines for his clients from the Premiere catalog, including high-earning lots from BOND, Chateau Boswell and Staglin Family Vineyards.

"PNV is the "must attend" gathering for the trade and is the consummate networking event for vintners and industry professionals alike. Beyond the one-day tasting and auction is a nearly week-long "homecoming," where vintners offer private tastings of current and library wines, casual gatherings and business networking that build on the most fundamental sales philosophy of enhancing personal relationships. Even in this era of social media and new technology, market research still shows that the number one way wine is sold is through personal experience--a hallmark of the Napa Valley wine industry," said Linda Reiff, NVV's executive director.

The second highest-earning lot of the day was Ovid Napa Valley's five cases purchased by long-time PNV top-tier bidder Marcus Graziano of Capitol Cellars in Roseville, CA for $33,000, who also purchased three other lots.

JP Richard of Cache Road Liquors and Wine in Oklahoma said, "You can feel that the energy is springing back. When times are tough, you have to attack, the vintners are doing that." He took home five lots including a high-earning lot from Reynolds Family Vineyard.

Bidders came from across the country and around the world. This year Nakagawa Trading Company of Japan was the number two bidder overall, which purchased thirteen offerings including high-earning lots from Lewis Cellars, Schrader Cellars and TOR Family Vineyard. Dean and DeLuca Japan was another successful bidder bringing more Premiere wines to that country. Also in the top ten successful bidders was Canada's Willow Park Wine & Spirits from Calgary, Alberta which took home seven lots including a high-earning lot from Cakebread Cellars.

Napa Valley's Mark Pope of Bounty Hunter purchased 11 lots, including high-earning lots from Duckhorn Wine Company and Hourglass. Pope said, "Great wine, great people, great life."

There were lots crafted by multiple winemakers including Lot 116 by Robert Foley Vineyards and Switchback Ridge, which was a high-earning lot of the day purchased by another Napa Valley retailer, V Wine Cellar of Yountville. Rounding out the top ten bidders was Daniel Williams of Hi-Time Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA who added five lots of Premiere wines for his customers, and John Wade of Cliffewood Wine Syndicate who purchased 12 lots, 80 cases in all, for his customers in Little Rock, AR.

Finishing out the high-earning lots were Moone-Tsai Vineyards purchased by the 90 Plus Wine Club, and Viader Vineyards and Winery's offering purchased by Joe Canals of Egg Harbor, New Jersey.

The average selling price for the day was $9,589, a 29% increase over 2008. The wines to be found when Premiere Napa Valley 14 releases range from not only Cabernet Sauvignon, to bottlings of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, as well as Sauvignon Blanc and late harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and sparkling wine

When Premiere Napa Valley 14 wines are released, look for new packaging that continues to tell the story of these unique offerings, crafted in five and never more than twenty case lots.

About the Napa Valley Vintners
The Napa Valley Vintners is the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation as the premier winegrowing region. From seven founding members in 1944, today the association represents nearly 400 Napa Valley wineries and collectively is a leader in the world-wide wine industry. To learn more about our region and its legendary American wines, visit

See the new packaging coming to market

See photos from the wine trade gathering

Contact: Terry Hall, Communications Director 707-968-4217