St. Helena, CA --The winning combination of renowned Napa Valley wine, talented chefs and stunning scenery inspired bidders from across the country and around the world to open their hearts and wallets, leaving behind $18.7 million for healthcare and children’s education nonprofits. The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) nonprofit trade association today updated its projected $18.4 million total announced Saturday night, once the final tallies came across the finish line on Sunday. The ascension to new heights of success once again demonstrates the position of Auction Napa Valley, the American Wine Classic, as the world’s most celebrated charity wine event.
“It wasn’t just us who did this,” commented Jeff Gargiulo of Gargiulo Vineyards who, along with his wife Valerie, was one of the honorary co-chairs of the 2014 event. “It was the more than 1,000 Napa Valley vintners, chef teams, donors and volunteers who contributed to Saturday’s Live Auction Celebration who made it happen. Because of their hard work and generosity, our sweet home Napa Valley became $18.7 million sweeter for thousands in the community who will benefit from Auction Napa Valley proceeds.”
Napa Valley’s collaborative spirit of neighbors helping neighbors was shared with guests throughout the weekend’s festivities, which started with Thursday night’s welcome parties, where the casual camaraderie of Napa Valley vintners shone. The fun continued through Friday’s Napa Valley Barrel Auction at the historic and recently renovated Charles Krug Winery and flowed through to intimate dinners at vintners’ homes and wineries that night. The excitement culminated with the Live Auction Celebration on Saturday. For people around the world who could not be in Napa Valley, an E-Auction of more than 175 lots lasted a week, starting June 1 and closed today at noon.
The crescendo of the weekend was Saturday’s Live Auction, consisting of 50 one-of-a-kind lots showcasing the allure of Napa Valley wines, extraordinary adventures and objects of desire. As the thrill of bidding streaked across the iconic white tent, several NVV members spontaneously increased their already generous auction lots to include additional successful bidders who wanted in on the action. In total, seven lots were doubled on Saturday afternoon, helping to contribute to the overall Auction total.
At the end of the Live Auction, the Gargiulos, along with honorary co-chairs David Duncan of Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars and his wife, Dr. Kary Duncan, took the stage to make an appeal for Fund-A-Need, the lot that has no wine, no hospitality or trips associated with it – only the satisfaction that comes from making a difference in the lives of children in need.
Dr. Duncan, who in addition to her medical practice is also the board chair of Clinic Ole Community Health Center, the only nonprofit community health center in Napa County and the Auction’s top funding recipient. “Clinic Ole is the primary source of medical services for one in six Napa County residents,” noted Dr. Duncan. “It impacts almost everyone in our community in one way or another and these services would not be as widely available without Auction funding.”
Dr. Duncan’s words clearly resonated with the audience, as the Fund-A-Need lot drew an emotional response from bidders in increments from $1,000 to $1 million. The online version of Fund-A-Need allowed bidders from anywhere in the world to contribute, with donations starting at $30. In total, 100 bidders contributed to the in-person and online Fund-A-Need lots bringing $3.8 million to the fundraising total, which will support early intervention and prevention of the most pressing issues facing Napa County youth.
“We are amazed and humbled by the beyond-our-dreams results of this year’s Auction Napa Valley,” said Linda Reiff, president and CEO of the NVV, “and we are deeply grateful for the abundance we have been entrusted with. Imagining the difference these funds will make to our most vulnerable residents is a gift for which we thank each and every person who in some way contributed to the magic.”
Saturday’s culinary showcase, including the finale dinner, was guided by The Restaurant at Meadowood’s executive chef, Christopher Kostow and celebrated the interconnected community of Napa Valley winemakers, farmers, foragers, hunters, millers and purveyors. “It was wonderful to work with my fellow Napa Valley chefs and friends for such an amazing celebration of our community, while bringing awareness to local causes. To have played even a small part in such an auspicious event was such an honor,” noted Chef Kostow, the thoughtful recipient of three Michelin stars and a recent James Beard Award.
Food born of same terroir as Napa Valley’s well-cultivated wine grapes and crafted by local chefs played a central role in the sense of place shared throughout the weekend. The fairway at Meadowood Napa Valley, the host of Saturday’s Live Auction since the event’s inception in 1981, provided a lush backdrop for a casual lunch composed by an all-star gathering of Napa Valley chefs.
Now, to the numbers:
Napa Valley Barrel Auction
The NVV is attributing some of the financial success of Friday’s Napa Valley Barrel Auction to a new mobile app that allowed bidders to stay in on the action while strolling the outdoor marketplace, sipping Napa Valley wines and savoring light bites prepared by local chefs and purveyors. Nearly 400 guests used the new technology to secure cases of Napa Valley wine, primarily from the much-heralded 2012 vintage. Top lots included:
• BRAND Napa Valley $83,050
• Shafer Vineyards $55,200
• Continuum Estate $52,750
• Gargiulo Vineyards $51,400
• Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery $46,400
• TOR Kenward Family Wines $39,850
• Joseph Phelps Vineyards $34,300
• Cardinale $33,800
• Stone The Crows $31,650
• Kongsgaard $30,750
Live Auction Celebration
The centerpiece of Auction Napa Valley was the Live Auction where guests enjoyed the thrill of bidding on – and winning – extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime lots of wine, dining, travel, art and truly “ultimate” experiences. Top lots included:
• Raymond Vineyards $840,000
• Mayacamas Vineyards $660,000
• Promontory $600,000
• Napa Valley Vintners and Lexus $580,000
• Opus One $550,000
• Araujo Estate Wines $520,000
• Darioush and Robb Report Magazine $440,000
• Casa Piena $420,000
• Chappellet Vineyard $410,000
• Lokoya $400,000
• Gargiulo Vineyards, Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars $400,000
The 2014 online E-Auction also broke records, raising $490,900. Top lots included:
• Continuum Estate, Freemark Abbey, Mayacamas Vineyards & Staglin Family Vineyard $21,000
• Sherwin Family Vineyards $15,650
• Grgich Hills Estate $12,050
• Napa Valley Vintners $10,150
• Domaine Chandon $9,100
• Levy & McClellan $8,750
• Benessere $8,150
• Heitz Wine Cellars $8,050
• Larkmead Vineyards $7,850
• Pine Ridge Vineyards $7,200
• B Cellars $7,050
Auction Napa Valley is the NVV's annual community fundraiser that for more than 30 years has utilized the worldwide reputation of Napa Valley wines and the scenic beauty of the region to raise funds to enhance the health and wellbeing of the Napa Valley community. To date, the NVV has invested more than $120 million from Auction Napa Valley proceeds in Napa County nonprofit organizations.
About the Napa Valley Vintners
The Napa Valley Vintners nonprofit trade association has been cultivating excellence for 70 years by inspiring its 500 members to produce consistent quality wines, provide environmental leadership and care for the extraordinary place they call home. Learn more at napavintners.com.
B-roll and sample recipes from Auction Napa Valley available upon request.
View and download hi-res photos
View video series from Auction Napa Valley 2014, featuring Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson