Each year Napa decks itself out in valley finery for one of the year’s two famous wine auctions, the other being Auction Napa Valley. Premiere Napa Valley (PNV) is only open to the trade and features rare wine lots that wind up in the hands of the industry’s biggest players at the wholesale and retail levels and find their way into beautiful wine shops, stunning wine lists and in the cellars’ of retailers’ most discerning clients.
Napa Valley vintners go to great lengths to set aside some of our most special fruit, often Cabernet Sauvignon, and create something even more extraordinary than usual for this hallowed trade auction. For instance, Winemaker Michael Scholz has experimented with barrel aging featuring 350 year old French oak. At the grand tasting, we all stand at our stations as our favorite trade friends come through and sample these incredibly rare wines. We like to visit our colleagues’ booths too and have our palates blown away by what they’ve done.
Then it’s time for the live auction. During these nail-biting proceedings, you will find us on the edge of our seats cheering for fellow vintners whose lots are going for record prices and hoping that our lot is also a strong performer. At the same time, there are PNV auctions online to track. Quite the heady experience! Luckily we are at CIA Greystone and there are lots of delicious bites to sustain our high energy.
Why do over two hundred vintners work so hard for PNV? Because PNV proceeds go to the event’s organizing body, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), who use these critical funds to promote, protect and enhance the Napa Valley appellation for future generations.
Interestingly, the NVV was launched back in 1944 by seven famed pioneers: Fernande de Latour of Beaulieu Vineyard, Felix Salmina of Larkmead, Charles Forni of the Napa Valley Co-op, Robert Mondavi of CK Mondavi and Sons, John Daniel Jr. of Inglenook, Louis M. Martini and Louis Stralla. We are so thankful that these founders formalized the very culture of collaboration we enjoy today. Because a rising tide lifts all boats, they realized that working together for the common good of the Napa Valley would benefit all of us. Together, we honor the sanctity of naming conventions like Champagne and Port, we benefit from continued scientific studies of our region, we take Napa on tour around the world and create local press programs, and we share best practices on everything from accounting to social media.
PNV is very much game day for Napa, and we couldn’t raise these critical funds without the hard work of the NVV staff and volunteers including community lay leaders. Our CEO Emma Swain is a past NVV board chair, and she and Winemaker Michael Scholz have co-chaired PNV. Cheers to this February red carpet wine extravaganza!