The hammer has come down on the 26th annual Premiere Napa Valley wine auction and it has brought in US$2.1 million in total from top markets with 109 lots sold.
The auction was hosted by Napa Valley’s trade association Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) and Sotheby’s from February 23 to 26.
Due to COVID-19 related constraints, the auction was held in both physical and virtual format. It has attracted 50 trade accounts from Europe and Asia and around 70 first time paddle registrants from the US. The growing global bidding base has consolidated the consistent demands for Napa Valley’s high quality wine amid the pandemic.
All proceeds will be directly used in NVV’s programs to promote, protect and enhance Napa Valley.
Wines for this year’s auction came from the 2019, 2020 and 2021 vintages and showcased the diversity of wines beyond Cabernet Sauvignon such as Malbec, Syrah, Nebbiolo, Riesling and Albarino.
Interestingly, some top priced wines coming in at US$325 (HKD 2,540) averagely were produced by collaboration between different winemakers from the region, including the ones by Favia and Hourglass, Buena Vista and Charles Krug, and Reynolds Family Winery and Canard.
Average price per bottle of reds was US$234 (HKD 1,829), proving the strong demand for premium wines amid the difficult times. White wines were also widely extolled with an average price of US$108 (HKD 844) per bottle.
“We were thankful to be able to connect with so many of our long-time partners in the wine business this week. It was a true homecoming event. We were humbled by the support shown and the incredible passion for our wines and our region,” said Linda Reiff, President and CEO of Napa Valley Vintners.
“It was a pleasure to be in Napa Valley with the vintners and the global wine trade to taste the innovative wines that make Premiere Napa Valley so special. The camaraderie and support for the Napa Valley wine region was illustrated by the enthusiasm of bidders both in the room and online. Building the reach of Napa Valley is one of our key goals, so we were pleased to see that close to 30% of the buyers placed their bids online,” said Jamie Ritchie, Worldwide Head of Sotheby’s Wine.
One of the most anticipated wines was the 2020 vintage which made its debut in the auction after enduring “one of the most challenging” years for winemakers in Napa Valley, according to NVV.
In 2020, the winemakers in Napa Valley faced record heat waves and low rainfall, as well as extensive safety protocols under COVID-19 pandemic. Expecting a low-yielding harvest season, some winemakers were further devastated by the two wildfires that happened in fall.
As the harvest for whites was mostly completed before the wildfires, the market expected smaller production from reds for the 2020 vintage.