ST. HELENA On a day when the temperatures soared in the mid-90s, an estimated 2,000 people wandered throughout the Raymond Vineyards property to eat, drink and bid on 100 barrel lots as part of the Napa Valley Barrel Auction.
The second day of the four-day Auction Napa Valley featured samples of wines from 102 vintners, culinary bites from 47 Napa Valley restaurateurs and barrel samples of 2011 and 2012 cabernets. The latter were available in 10-case lots for bidders. Auction Napa Valley continues with its sold-out live auction Saturday afternoon at Meadowood Napa Valley and ends with Sunday brunch, also at St. Helenas Meadowood resort.
Garen Staglin and his family are honorary auction chairs of the 2013 Auction Napa Valley, presented by the Napa Valley Vintners. Of the barrel auction, he said the 2012 vintage is one of the absolute great years in the Napa Valley.
He thanked Jean Charles Boisset and the Raymond Winery team for hosting the barrel auction. They were so generous, they emptied out their barrel room and put all their wine in another storage facility offsite so we could have the room, he said.
The Staglin family has been a key part of Auction Napa Valley and other charity wine auctions for years. I grew up as the son of an Italian immigrant, Staglin said. I was the first person from our family to graduate from college and I feel blessed to live in this wonderful country that provides the opportunity to work hard and stay focused. We have had some success, we feel it is important to give back to our community and causes we care about.
He added, Being generous gives us way more joy than anything we could possibly do, so why not?
Vintner Darioush Khaledi, who has donated one of the 46 live lots that will be auctioned off Saturday afternoon, said he has participated for years in Auction Napa Valley. Why?
Because this is our valley, we are fortunate to have it, now we have to participate and help those who need it.
In its 32 years, Auction Napa Valley has given away more than $110 million to local nonprofits that provide health care, youth education and affordable housing.
The Darioush lot is a 14-day cruise on The World, the largest private mega-yacht on earth. As with most of the lots, it comes with Napa Valley wines, meals and overnight stays. Khaledi said his lot last year sold for $280,000. We are hoping to pass it, he said.
Ivo Jeramaz, vice president, Vineyards & Production for Grgich Hills Estate, was pouring a chardonnay produced from 23-year-old Wente clone vines that he obtained from Larry Hyde. He said Grgich Hills Estate has participated in 27 auctions because its a great charity event, he said.
Its not about a particular vintner, but about the Napa Valley, and all the money goes to local charities, he said. Heaven forbid that you should need to go to a local hospital, but if you do, lots of money goes there and its better than hospitals in San Francisco.
Karen Mitchell, owner of Model Bakery in St. Helena and Napa, said she has served food at all the wine auctions, and served picnic lunches in big baskets at the first one with Narsai David and Molly Chappellet at Meadowood.
She continues to participate because I believe in the community. The wineries all support us as a business and they are all our friends, she said. Its part of living here in the valley.
Vintner Paula Kornell, who recently started her own wine consulting business, was pouring Ziata sauvignon blanc for her friend and Ziata owner Karen Cakebread. Kornell has been to every auction and has been on each years organizing committee, except for the past two years.
Her favorite memory? Oh my God, there are so many of them, she said. Probably the best memory was the old tradition of the entire organizing group getting in the Meadowood pool after the auction was finished. Those days are long gone, but they were really great.
Fritz Hatton, who will share Saturdays auction duties with Ursula Hermacinski and Humphrey Butler, who Hatton said hes known for 35 years. Hatton, of St. Helena, said hes been the ANV auctioneer for more than two decades, He said he doesnt know what to expect on Saturday.
Its very difficult to predict. I never know exactly what to expect, thats why I keep doing this because charity auctions are full of surprises, he said. But theres going to be quite a bit of action in the tent (Saturday).
He added the incredible amount of work put in by the Staglins, the Gargiulos and the Napa Valley Vintners staff will pay off one way or another. I think theres going to be some satisfaction at the results.
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