Auction Napa Valley raises $15M for health, education nonprofits
Wine aficionados at the beginning of June poured $15.7 million into the 37th annual Auction Napa Valley, a fundraiser for local nonprofits.
The fundraiser by trade association Napa Valley Vintners pulls in funds for community health and children's education organizations. Last year, auction proceeds went toward $8.8 million in grants to more than two dozen nonprofits plus $6 million committed toward OLE Health's new south Napa clinic.
About $170 million has been distributed from Auction Napa Valley proceeds since it started.
'The funds we raised this weekend will help strengthen families and make the seemingly impossible possible for tens of thousands of our neighbors,' said Inglenook's Roman Coppola about the May 31–June 3 event. Also honorary chairpeople of the event were his parents, Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola, his sister Sofia and niece Gia.
A live-auction celebration was held June 3 at Meadowood Napa Valley, which has been the host venue every year since the fundraiser started in 1981. The top single lot of the day was donated by Dalla Valle Vineyards and included a 6-liter bottle of the winery's red wine blend Maya, named for proprietor Naoko Dalla Valle's daughter, and a week-long excursion with the Dalla Valles to some of their favorite spots in Naoko's native Japan.
'Auction Napa Valley brings Napa Valley's vintners together to raise funds for worthy causes,' said Naoko Dalla Valle. 'Our winery has been a supporter for close to 30 years and I am proud that my daughter Maya has joined me in carrying on this tradition that is so meaningful to our community. Giving back is very important and close to our hearts.'
The bid for the day's top fundraising lot, from Colgin Cellars, was tripled and raised $2.1 million. It included a horizontal collection of large-format bottles of their 2007 wines combined with trips to Napa Valley and Champagne. A horizontal collection is a group of three or more different bottles of wine from the same vintage, according to WineBid.com.
The bid for the Antica Napa Valley lot also was tripled, bringing in $1.5 million. It was a joint lot from Antinori Family Wine Estate and Staglin Family Vineyard, featuring 10 large-format bottles and a luxurious guided trip to Italy's Tuscany region.
Bidding was held in a big white tent designed like a 1930s nightclub, and featured a live jazz band and a nostalgic dance troupe.
Following the live auction, the 900-plus guests dined al fresco on the fairway with Italian family favorites prepared by Francis Coppola himself, backed by local chefs John Sorensen and Alejandro Ayala and the Meadowood events culinary team.
After that, it was back to the big tent for dancing to a private performance by soul singer-songwriter Leon Bridges of Fort Worth, Texas.
On June 2, 2,000 guests gathered at the Coppola's Inglenook estate for the barrel auction. Inside the winery's caves, bidders tasted wines with vintners then vied for the 108 lots. Each were 10 single cases of Napa Valley wine releases.
The auction had a new feature this year, wine and food pavilions surrounding the Inglenook fountain. They had popular Napa Valley wine varieties paired with food prepared by six of the Coppola family's favorite Napa Valley restaurants and chefs:
• Roberto Bonefont Jr. of Angèle
• David Nuno of Brasswood Bar + Kitchen
• Polly Lappetito of Ciccio
• Culinary team of Galpão Gaucho
• Masaharu Morimoto of Morimoto
• Cindy Pawlcyn of Mustards
Other events included vintner-hosted dinners and parties June 1–3 and a farewell brunch for the weekend's top bidders June 4.
The next Auction Napa Valley is set for May 31–June 3, 2018, chaired by the Mondavi sisters of the Peter Mondavi Sr. family. Tickets will go on sale in early February.
CORRECTION: Napa Valley Vintners gave $6 million to the OLE Health project, not $8 million as originally stated.