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Outstanding 2015 Napa Valley Vintage Inspires Feverish Bidding at Premiere Napa Valley

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Wines from the high quality but low yielding 2015 harvest took center stage at today’s 21st annual Premiere Napa Valley barrel tasting and futures auction, hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) nonprofit association. The 62 successful trade bidders, including 12 that had not previously purchased lots, showed their enthusiasm for acquiring the limited-release offerings through fast-paced, energetic paddle-raising that resulted in $4.2 million to support the mission of the NVV.

New this year was a greater emphasis on the Premiere Napa Valley Online Auction where 20 percent of the lots were sold. Open to trade bidders anywhere in the world, 270 accounts from California to Canada to Japan registered to bid on the 45 lots that were available exclusively online generating nearly $500,000 of the day’s total sales. Moving 45 of the lots online also shortened the length of the live auction by an hour.

“We’re thrilled with the outcome of this year’s Premiere Napa Valley,” said Michael Honig, chair of the NVV Board of Directors and president of Honig Vineyard & Winery. “It’s been more than 20 years since the NVV created America’s first barrel futures tasting and auction for the trade. As the industry leader, we cannot rest on our longstanding success. We want the Premiere Napa Valley brand to be coveted around the world. Our purposeful, strategic decision to sell more of this year’s lots exclusively online was a major step toward achieving this goal.”

Premiere Napa Valley features small lots of unique wines sold as futures exclusively to retailers, restaurateurs and wholesalers who become the sole owners of the wines they purchase at the auction. The Premiere Napa Valley portfolio showcases some of Napa Valley’s rarest and highest quality commercially available wines. Upon release, every bottle is hand-signed and individually numbered by the winemaker.

Of the 217 total lots up for sale this year, 189 or 87 percent were from the 2015 harvest, the fourth in a string of Napa Valley vintages being heralded for high quality. “The wines we tasted from the 2015 vintage were extraordinary,” said Michael Osborn, founder of Wine.com, who purchased lots in both the Premiere Napa Valley live and online auctions. “Although the harvest was smaller, that seems to have paid off in terms of quality for Napa Valley. From hillside wines to those from the valley floor, everything we tasted from this vintage was truly great.”

Top selling lots of the day included Scarecrow Wine, Alpha Omega, Arkenstone, Silver Oak Cellars, Robert Mondavi Winery, Honig Vineyard & Winery, Rombauer Vineyards, Shafer Vineyards, a group lot from Arrow&Branch/Caldwell/Covert/Italics wineries, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Dalla Valle Vineyards and Staglin Family Vineyard.

Today’s barrel tasting and auction capped off a week that has come to be known as one of the best in Napa Valley for its wine tasting and education events, along with a sense of homecoming for those who come back year after year. “The whole week was filled with high energy and we had the chance to share our wines and further build relationships with our partners in the trade,” said Andy Erickson of Favia Erickson Winegrowers, who along with wife Annie Favia led this year’s event organizing committee. Added Favia, “Today the wine community came together to celebrate Napa Valley. That’s what Premiere is all about.”

Collectors wishing to obtain one-of-a-kind Premiere Napa Valley wines for their own cellars can search the portfolio by vintage, grape variety, AVA, producer and where to buy at premierenapavalley.com.

About the Napa Valley Vintners

The Napa Valley Vintners nonprofit trade association has been cultivating excellence since 1944 by inspiring its more than 525 members to consistently produce wines of the highest quality, to provide environmental leadership and to care for the extraordinary place they call home. Learn more at napavintners.com.

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