2012 Auction Napa Valley: The American Classic

Photos provided by Napa Valley Vintners' Association and Emmanuel Lupe

If you have a passion for great American wines, enjoy culinary experiences and love to attend exclusive and exciting vintner parties, the Auction Napa Valley is an event you cannot afford to miss.

Auction Napa Valley, the Napa Valley Vintners’ annual community fundraiser is the most celebrated charity wine auction in the world, having given more than $100 million to health, youth and affordable housing non-profit programs. Founded in 1981, under the vision of Robert and Margrit Mondavi this quintessential showcase of Napa Valley’s best wine, food and outstanding hospitality has grown to be a four-day gathering held each year the first weekend in June.

The Napa Valley Vintners’ annual community fundraiser 2012 Auction Napa Valley brought more than $8 million in spirited bidding, as guests from across the country and around the globe gathered for the most celebrated charity wine auction in the world. With picture-perfect weather, the quintessential Napa gathering of wine and food lovers was by all measures a great success.

The Chappellet family of Chappellet Vineyard and Winery served as honorary chairs for the 32nd annual event. Guided by the creative vision of the family’s matriarch Molly, art installations that celebrated the origins of what makes Napa Valley so spectacular along with a keen look at the life cycle of the grapevine awed attendees at every turn upon arrival at Live Auction events at Meadowood Napa Valley on Saturday. Recorded sounds of birds and other wildlife, vineyard workers and calming Zen-like music were synchronized with live-performance jazz and classical music that enhanced the theater of the art installations in the beautiful lawn and wooded setting at Meadowood.

Meadowood resort is one of the true luxury resorts in Napa Valley offering golf, tennis, croquet, hiking, swimming, fitness, spa, wine education and a Michelin three-star restaurant dining experience, all on a private 250-acre estate. The Restaurant at Meadowood offers a casually elegant dining experience featuring a modern approach to Napa Valley cuisine by Chef Christopher Kostow. Meadowood features cozy cottages, elegant suites and spacious lodges in a private, forested setting. Fireplaces add a romantic glow to most guest rooms and terraces offer ideal settings for quiet contemplation or intimate dining.

The 800 attendees that included bidders, vintners and media dined on Napa Valley’s signature fried chicken picnic lunch from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc prepared by the restaurant’s chef Dave Cruz. Served in a wooden wine box, the meal was complemented by scores of vintners pouring crisp, refreshing whites and roses—perfect for summer sipping as well as reds. Trumpeters heralded the start of the Live Auction where rousing bidding began and stayed strong through the 40 offerings—including the finale and top earning lot, Fund A Need which brought more than $1.2 million for children’s health and education initiatives. Here, there was no prize to be captured other than the satisfaction of helping children.

Lot 31 offered by Chappellet Vineyard brought the top dollars of the day, a $720,000 combined total, from two dueling bidders at $360,000 who were both made winners when the Chappellets generously agreed to double the lot. After the final gavel, merriment moved onto the lawn where renowned chef Emeril Lagasse provided the perfect mix of signature flavors with his creative edge.

One of the most appealing aspects of Auction Napa Valley and what sets this charity auction apart are the private dinner parties held in intimate settings in vintners’ homes and wineries on Thursday and Friday evenings. From casual in-vineyard barbecues prepared by the vintners to lavish spreads by top toques, and everything in between are how the evenings of Auction weekend are spent.

On Thursday, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars welcomed a lucky group of 50 bidders to the property to experience the breathtaking beauty of the estate while enjoying their iconic wines at their Auction Napa Valley Hospitality Dinner. “The Ultimate Estate Experience” event was a progressive dinner where attendees enjoyed food and wine in four different settings on the stunning Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars property. Celebrated Chef Mark Dommen of San Francisco’s One Market Restaurant created signature dishes. His modern take on American cuisine earned the restaurant a Michelin star for the 5th year in a row in the 2012 Guide

One of the most exclusive Napa Chic dinners was Lokoya’s Friday dinner. The Lokoya dinner, “Racing & Wine on the Mountain,” was set high atop their Veeder Peak Vineyard. The guests were hosted by Winemaker Christopher Carpenter, and Formula 1 race car driver Stefan Johansson, while overlooking Napa Valley from a lofty 1,700-foot elevation. Having challenged their culinary team to make the trek, the landscape inspired them to craft a cuisine to match the wines. Among the stunning Mayacamas Mountains, the guests discovered the key to Lokoya –unparalleled vineyard sites. The Mayacamas setting is the source for the powerful yet elegant Lokoya Cabernets. They share a little insightful perspective about the life of one of Napa Valley’s preeminent vineyards.

Mark your calendar, the next Auction Napa Valley is set for May 30-June 2, 2013.

About The Author

Emmanuel Lupe is the former executive automotive and luxury travel editor for Jetset Magazine. Emmanuel travels all around the world to cover sporting events such as F1 and sports car racing. He test drives the most luxurious cars as soon as they are unveiled! Lupe also attends auto shows, new car launches and luxury car events behind the scenes to make sure Jetset readers are the first to learn about them! He also travels the globe to discover the best hotels of the world and unique and exotic destinations so Jetset readers can follow in his footsteps right after him! For editorial consideration please contact editor@jetsetmag(dot)com.

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