Today is the 2016 edition of the exceptional Premiere Napa Valley barrel tasting and auction. I say exceptional for two reasons. First, Napa Valley's top wineries get together while producing unique wines as a way preview of the upcoming 2014 vintage releases. These wines tend to be the best that comes out of each of these estates. Tasting these wines is truly a unique experience and I am thankful to have been in attendance each of the last four years. This year, however, I've taken a break from attending because of the birth of Beatrice three months ago. Something about a jaunting off to Napa to taste very expensive wines for the weekend while leaving my wife at home with two young children didn't seem quite fair. I am hopeful that I'll be back next year.
The second reason this event is exceptional is the mere fact that 225 wineries in one of the worlds most premier wine-producing regions get together in cooperating in the name of raising awareness for their region. Now this may not seem like a difficult task, but anyone that works with wineries will understand that getting more than a handful of wineries to cooperate on something is harder than corralling a drunken knife-wielding monkey. Licensed wine retailers and wholesalers from around the world converge in Napa Valley this week call to bid on average $200 a bottle wine. Media and high-profile consumers also fill the valley. I can't think of a better marketing technique to build the reputation of one region with the industry. I think all other wine regions should attempt to mimic this event as best they could. I know I've pushed for Colorado to try something similar, but alas I've been unsuccessful.
Without having the opportunity to have tasted the wines all day yesterday and this morning, I don't have as much to say about the auction as I have the past few years. I'd be willing to bet there are some exceptional wines being offer and some not so great wines. I will make one prediction. I am willing to bet your subscription fee to this blog that the top lot will be one of six producers: BRAND, Continuum Estate, Fairchild Napa Valley, Ovid Napa Valley, Shafer Vineyards, or Yao Family Wines. I also predict that the winning bid on one of these five case lots will exceed $125,000. I know that may seem crazy, but this prediction is based on past results.
This year's auction looks like it will be full of surprises given how many first-time entries there seems to be (oh, how I could taste the Matthiasson lot). I will follow along via Twitter (#PNV16) to see how my favorite producers (and the new kids on the block) fair. As fun and informative as it would have been to taste the wines and talk with the producers, sitting on my couch, dictating this on my iPhone while holding a smiling baby was a pretty good way to spend the morning.