2/22/2009 - St Helena, CA-A sunny break in the rainy weather set the stage for the sold-out-in-advance wine trade event hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), the non-profit trade association representing nearly 350 wineries. Even in this economic climate, wine retailers, restaurateurs and wine wholesalers from across the U.S., as well as Japan, China, UK and Canada, invested in their businesses by purchasing nearly $1.5 million in barrel futures at the NVV's 13th annual Premiere Napa Valley (PNV) mid-winter barrel tasting and auction held February 21st at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in St Helena. Through robust bidding successful bidders purchased, 200 offerings of 5-, 10- or 20-case lots, each and every, a one-of-a-kind wine, to enhance thier selections for savvy consumers back home. The event sold out weeks in advance to 500 trade representing 83 wine retail shops, 68 restaurants and 79 wholesalers and brokers. Eighty-five members of the media came from across the U.S. and Canada.
"This week is like a homecoming for our best accounts, and sometimes feels like Mardi Gras," said 2009 PNV chair Bryan Del Bondio of Markham Vineyards. "This is because Premiere has become the 'must attend' event for the wine trade," he said, and vintners up and down the valley hosted special tastings and open houses for the visiting wine trade--some starting early in the week-welcoming the appellation's top trade and loyal ambassadors. "Raising money for our trade association is just one aspect of PNV," Del Bondio continued, "The relationships we nurture with our key customers has and always will be our greatest benefit of the event. We are thrilled by the turnout and all the buzz of activity filling hotels and restaurants around the valley."
The NVV Board of Directors early last fall drastically reduced revenue projections in light of the dramatic economic downturn. Board President Paula Kornell of Oakville Ranch Vineyards said, "We predicted a fraction of the income of last year, and the event's revenues were indeed off by nearly a third from the record-breaking 2008 event, but the reality is that 2009 income is still in the top four overall." The money raised at PNV is the only fundraiser the non-profit trade association holds for its promotion and protection efforts of the Napa Valley appellation.
Premiere Steering Committee member John Skupny of Lang & Reed Wine Co. said, "We always say, this is our annual 'bake sale', and we are delighted that our top clients made time to join us, we love this event. It gives us a chance to roll out the red carpet to those who support us all year long."
"In spite of the economy, the energy this year was terrific, everyone was really up-beat and the whole valley felt like a party, and very welcoming. We had a terrific time and won some great wines that we look forward to adding to our already great list of PNV wines in our store," said, Glen Knight of The Wine House in Los Angeles.
The event was noteworthy because of things new as well as seasoned, with long-time auctioneer Fritz Hatton being joined at the podium with first-time PNV auctioneer Michael Davis of Chicago. Top-priced lots this year included two first time entries-and new NVV members-Scarecrow Wine and Ovid Napa Valley, which brought in top revenues alongside long-time Napa Valley legends such as Silver Oak Cellars, Shafer Vineyards and Joseph Phelps Vineyards. Additionally this year, Premiere had 17 new successful trade bidders and 27 new member wineries in the line up.
The top bidder was once again Gary Fisch of Gary's Wine and Marketplace, with three stores in northern New Jersey, who won 37 lots totaling 255 cases of wine--a 27% increase over his 2008 purchases. Fisch said, "As usual, we found a lot of great wine, and we are excited about the '07 vintage, it's showing beautifully." The wines auctioned represented not only Cabernet Sauvignon, but also Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Nero d'Avola, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah, Zinfandel and even a sparkling wine.
The top-selling lots of the day were Scarecrow Wine, bringing $80,000, and Ovid Napa Valley, bringing $42,000, both five case lots, sold to long-time bidder and wine broker Ichizo Nakagawa of Nakagawa Wine Company of Tokyo, Japan.
PNV was the centerpiece of a week-long immersion into Napa Valley and its wines by wine trade and media. As well as the open houses and special tastings leading up to Premiere, the four-day annual Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood Napa Valley, a signature program of the NVV in partnership with Meadowood and the CIA, brought 60 of the nation's top wine writers as speakers and attendees. More than 150 wineries showcased their wine to conference attendees representing the New York Times, Bloomberg News, Bon Appetit Magazine, and scores more.
Additionally the NVV hosted an influential group of wine professionals from the UK, Canada, Japan and Sweden for Experience Napa Valley, a week-long, in-depth exploration of Napa Valley with nearly 80 vintners participating in this program. Two attendees from Japan were successful PNV bidders. And for the third year, the NVV hosted a Vintage Perspective Tasting for more than 250 wine trade and media for a snap-shot of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, vintages 2004, 2005 and 2006 on Friday at the CIA's Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies.
Work is already underway for the 14th annual Premiere with Stag's Leap Wine Cellar's Jeff McBride as chair and which will take place on Saturday, February 20, 2010.
Highest Revenue Lots of the Day
Lot 160 Scarecrow Wines $80,000
Lot 148 Ovid Napa Valley $42,000
Lot 40 Silver Oak Cellars $27,000
Lot 22 Shafer Vineyards $24,000
Lot 133 Joseph Phelps Vineyards $22,000
Lot 7 Keenan Winery $20,000
Lot 116 Lewis Cellars $20,000
Lot 125 Robert Foley & Switchback Ridge $19,000
Lot 76 Beringer Vineyards $18,000
Lot 94 Cardinale $17,000
Lot 5 Duckhorn Vineyards $16,000
Lot 79 Hourglass $16,000
Lot 91 Realm Cellars $16,000
Lot 44 Continuum $15,000
Lot 10 Oberon Wines $15,000
Lot 180 Hewitt Vineyard $15,000
Lot 176 Revana Family Vineyards $15,000
Lot 50 Saintsbury $15,000
Lot 140 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars $15,000
Lot 15 Judd's Hill, Salvestrin & Schweiger Vineyards $14,000
Lot 52 Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery $14,000
Lot 11 Jones Family Vineyards $13,000
Lot 16 Vineyard 29 $13,000
Lot 86 O'Shaughnessey Estate Winey $13,000
Lot 87 PlumpJack Winery $13,000
Top Bidders of the Day
Gary's Wine and Marketplace-Madison, NJ
Nakagawa Wine Company-Tokyo, Japan
The Wine House-Los Angeles, CA
Petroleum Club-Oklahoma City, OK
Cliffewood Wine Syndicate-Little Rock, AR
Meritage Wine Market-Encinitas, CA
Hi-Time Cellars-Costa Mesa, CA
Willow Park Wine & Spirits-Calgary, AB
Capitol Cellars-Roseville, CA
Bounty Hunter-Napa, CA
Jacob Liquor Exchange-Wichita, KS
Vin de Garde Houston,-Sugarland, TX
Tokyo American Club-Tokyo, Japan
Lakeside Beverages-Granite Bay, CA
About the NVV
The Napa Valley Vintners is the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation as the premier winegrowing region. The organization celebrates its 65th anniversary this year. From seven founding members in 1944, today the association represents nearly 350 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 www.napavintners.com.
Communications Director-Napa Valley Vintners
Contact: Terry Hall, Communications Director 707-968-4217 firstname.lastname@example.org