There are wine auctions, and then there are wine auctions. Some auctions are held by well-known or little-known auction houses that sell fine wines to collectors and dealers. Others, which tend to put less expensive bottles on the block, are held to raise money for specific organizations. Then there are the auctions that attract participants from close by and—thanks to online bidding—all over the world.
Some auctions focus on specific wines. On May 23, the 2015 Ornellaia, a Super Tuscan, was celebrated with a gala dinner and auction in London. Its 30th vintage is widely regarded as a perfect one and special lots will be sold off, the proceeds benefiting the Victoria and Albert Museum, where the event will be held.
As for North America, easily the most prestigious wine auction is Auction Napa Valley, which is approaching its 40th year. The brainchild of Robert and Margrit Mondavi, it has grown from a local charity auction into a three-day event that attracts thousands of people and has contributed more than $180-million (U.S.) to charities over the past 38 years. In addition to the auctions, wineries throughout Napa Valley host parties and dinners. The auctions themselves include a barrel auction (held this year at the historic Charles Krug winery) and an auction of rare wines held at Meadowood Napa Valley, the Relais & Châteaux resort co-owned by Bill Harlan of Harlan Estate. In addition to wine, the lots on offer include once-in-a-lifetime experiences with winemakers in Napa Valley and abroad.
This year’s Auction Napa Valley runs from May 31 to June 2.
Photos by Briana Marie for Napa Valley Vintners.
Never miss a story. Sign up for NUVO’s weekly newsletter, here.