Premiere Napa Valley 2008 12th Annual Barrel Auction Brings $2.2 million

Despite Economy and Weather, Event Sets New Records


2/24/2008 - Napa Valley, CA - With forecasts of more than three inches of rain and winds gusting to 70 mph over the Napa Valley ridge tops, and despite the topsy-turvy economy, wine retailers and restaurateurs demonstrated that they still believe wine futures from Napa Valley are savvy investments. This was proven Saturday, February 23 when the sold-out Napa Valley Vintners' (NVV) annual barrel auction, Premiere Napa Valley (PNV) brought record-setting earning of more than $2.2 million.

In just two-and-a-half hours, renowned auctioneers Fritz Hatton and Ursula Hermacinski brought the gavel down on 200 lots of one-of-a-kind wines offered in five-, ten-, or 20-case lots that were sold to a rousing crowd of wine trade from across the U.S., Canada and Japan. 67 bidders purchased 200 lots (a 4% increase over 2007) with revenues going to the non-profit trade association's efforts to promote and protect the Napa Valley Appellation.

PNV 2008 was chaired by the Duncan Family, owners of Silver Oak Cellars and Twomey Cellars. Winery Executive Vice President Tim Duncan said, "We are thrilled with the turn-out, the wines offered and the robust and continuing success of PNV. What started twelve years ago has become the 'must-attend' trade event of the year and attendees are staying longer in the Valley as vintners also host open houses and private tastings at this generally quieter time of the winter."

Sheltered from the storm in the 19th-century, three-story stone winery that now houses the Culinary Institute of America in St Helena, close to one thousand retailers, restaurateurs, wholesalers, media and vintners began the day shaking hands, trading hugs and telling stories. This is not just the association's "bake sale," but more importantly provides the setting to solidify business and personal relationships with the nation's top wine professionals that are key to the success of the wineries and the Appellation. Wholesaler Alan Dreeben of Republic National Distributing of Texas said fondly, "I bought the Freemark Abbey lot today because it was the winery that, back in the day, sold me my first fine wines when nobody else believed in my upstart business."

Perennial top-bidder Marcus Graziano of Captial Cellars in Roseville, CA said, "The event is so wonderful, it provides a special connection to the wineries and offers a great outlet to reconnect with everybody. And, "he continued," the 2006 vintage's quality looks fantastic."

But this is big business and PNV's top bidder of the day was once again Gary Fisch of Gary's Wine and Marketplace with two stores in New Jersey. Fisch said, "I came with a well-defined game plan and then executed it." That plan included the purchase of 30 lots for $429,000, representing 200 cases of wine futures that will not be delivered for nearly two years. Fisch is opening a third location in the coming months.

The top selling lot for the day at $62,000 for five cases of Shafer Vineyards Sunspot Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon sold to Susan Owens of Atlanta, Georgia. Of the 67 successful bidders, 27% were first-time successful bidders, including two of the top ten.

PNV was the centerpiece of week-long excitement for industry professionals in Napa Valley that started Tuesday prior with the 4th Annual Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, an NVV signature program in partnership with Meadowood Napa Valley. The Annual Vintage Perspective Tasting took place Friday, February 21 at the Rudd Center at the CIA where more than 200 wine trade and media looked at three-year verticals by twelve producers to see how Cabernets Sauvignons, tasted blind, were developing. The tasting allowed PNV attendees to get a perspective of the vintages leaving the market, arriving in the market and in preview. This year the vintages shown were 2003, 04 and 05. Together with the open houses and winery events hosted by the vintners the days leading up to PNV, the week is now the consummate time for wine professionals to be in Napa Valley.

PNV 2009 will take place Saturday, February 21 in Napa Valley and will be chaired by Bryan Del Bondio, president of Markham Vineyards.

About the NVV
Now in our seventh decade, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) trade association is the sole organization responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley Appellation as a winegrowing region second to none in the world. Respect for our history reinforces our commitment to the preservation and enhancement of the Valley's land, wine, and community for future generations. We address the shared interests of our more than 300 member wineries and aspire to be the essential organization for all Napa Valley vintners.

Digital images of Premiere Napa Valley 2008 are available for download at 300 dpi at no cost.

Top 10 Bidders

1. Gary's Wine & Marketplace, Madison, NJ
2. Bounty Hunter, Napa, CA
3. The Wine House, Los Angeles, CA
4. Willow Park Wine & Spirits, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
5. Nakagawa Wine Company, Ltd., Tokyo, Japan
6. Ultimate Distributors, Atlanta, GA
7. Hi-Time Cellars, Costa Mesa, CA
8. Capitol Cellars, Roseville, CA
9. Kensington Riverside Inn, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
10.Central Liquor Co., Oklahoma City, OK

Total Trade and Media Attendees - 600
Representing 74 Restaurant Accounts, 103 Retailers and 107 Distributors/Importers and 65 Media

Top Lots

Lot #62 Shafer Vineyards

Lot # 15 Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Lot # 1 Silver Oak Cellars

Lot # 121 Switchback Ridge & Robert Foley Vineyards
Lot # 175 BOND

Lot # 52 Rubicon Estate

Lot #7 Lewis Cellars

Lot # 164 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

Lot # 13 Amuse Bouche Winery

Lot # 168 Beringer Vineyards

Lot # 194 Hourglass
Lot # 19 Saintsbury
Lot 87 Cliff Lede Vineyards

Lot # 108 O'Shaughnessy Estate Winery
Lot # 35 TOR Kenward Wines

Lot # 74 Duckhorn Vineyards
Lot # 112 Pride Mountain Vineyards
Lot # 37 Blackbird Vineyards
Lot # 32 Hartwell Vineyards

Lot # 17 Twomey Cellars

Lot # 47 Parallel Napa Valley
Lot # 117 Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and Winery
Lot # 100 Revana Family Vineyard
Lot # 56 ZD Wines

Number of Lots by Wine Variety

Cabernet Franc 4
Cabernet Sauvignon: 138
Gruner Veltliner 1
Malbec 1
Merlot 8
Nero d'Avolo 1
Petit Verdot 1
Petit Verdot-Zinfandel 1
Petite Sirah 2
Pinot Noir 4
Proprietary Red Blends 32
Sangiovese Vin Santo 1
Sauvignon Blanc 1
Sparkling Wine 1
Syrah 2
Zinfandel 2

Terry Hall,
Communications Director

View the photos from Premiere Napa Valley 2008

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