Auction Napa Valley, the annual fundraising event held at Meadowood in St. Helena, California, featured steamy temperatures, Chef Francis Mallmann’s open-fire pit cooking and the infectious music of 30-piece Cuban band, Los Van Van. But that’s not all. Model and actress Kate Upton was also present and creating plenty heat of her own, especially on the dance floor.
Honorary auction chair Agustin F. Huneeus met his dual goals of raising money for local education and community health causes, and throwing one heck of a memorable party. In total, this year’s auction brought in $14.3 million.
Upton was there in support of Tusk Estates and its lot in conjunction with Amuse Bouche Winery. Their “True Warriors of Wine” contribution featured a jewel-encrusted Golden State Warriors NBA championship ring, along with a methuselah and six magnums of Center Bank, a one-of-a-kind Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Franc-Merlot blend made by Philippe Melka and Heidi Barrett. If that weren’t enough, a jeroboam of Golden State Warriors wine signed by all the players was also in the mix, as was a magnum each of Amuse Bouche and Tusk Estates’ inaugural vintages.
Rounding out the package was a VIP courtside experience at a 2017 home game and signed jerseys from each of the team’s starters. The lot raised $520,000 and was later matched for a fundraising total of $1.04 million.
The “Warriors” package drew in only slightly less than the top lot of the day—a chance to travel to South Africa with Staglin Family Vineyard, complete with private chef and safari guide. The voyage sold for $700,000 but was expanded to include another couple, raising the total to $1.05 million.
“50 Years, 50 Guests, 50 Bottles,” which included a bounty of 50 rare bottles from Robert Mondavi Winery and dinner for 50 at The French Laundry, raised $520,000. For the winery it was a chance to reflect on their 50th anniversary, and raise a glass to Margrit Mondavi, who was in attendance.
Other high-drawing auction lots included a buy-in dinner at Opus One, five 3-liter bottles of Harlan Estate, a jewelry and wine package from Scarecrow Wine, and party for 20 hosted by Quintessa with rare bottles and more, the last of which drew in $680,000.
The evening’s Fund-a-Need event, raising money for children’s health and well-being, pulled in $2.1 million from a room of generous bidders, including $500,000 from Jackson Family Wines’ owner Barbara Banke.
Top Live Auction Lots
- “Fund-a-Need,” $2.1 million from 100 paddle holders
- “Into Africa, Incomparably” donated by Staglin Family Vineyards, $1.05 million
- “True Warriors of Wine” donated by Amuse Bouche/Tusk Estates, $1.04 million
- “The Quintessential Vintner Experience” donated by Quintessa, $680,000
- “A Night Full of Stars” a buy-a-spot lot donated by Opus One, $660,000
- “50 Years, 50 Guests, 50 Bottles” donated by Robert Mondavi Winery, $520,000
- “Etched Into the Hillside” donated by Harlan Estate, $500,000
- “Luminosity” donated by Scarecrow Wine, $440,000
- “The Grand Heist” donated by Blackbird Vineyards and Bvlgari, $360,000
- “Rooms with a View” donated by Antica Napa Valley – Antinori Family Wine Estate, $320,000
Top Barrel Lots
- Melka Wines, $62,100
- Shafer Vineyards, $60,050
- Vice Versa, $54,800
- The Mascot, $47,750
- Cardinale, $42,050
- Continuum Estate, $37,450
- Stephens Estate, $37,250
- Paul Hobbs, $36,700
- Chappellet Vineyard, $36,400
- Arkenstone Vineyards, $35,800
Top E-Auction Lots
- Grgich Hills Estate, $17,550
- Sherwin Family Vineyards, $11,550
- HALL Wines, $10,000
- Cliff Lede Vineyards, $8,050
- Napa Valley Vintners and Riedel, $8,050
- Kapcsandy Family Winery, $7,600
- Beringer Vineyards, $7,050
- Clif Family Winery, $6,050
- Levy & McClellan, $6,050
- Benessere Vineyards, $6,000