Entrance to Napa Valley Wine Auction, Meadowood Resort, St. Helena, CA - June 1999 Photo: Faith Echtermeyer
The Napa Valley Wine Auction
This annual event held in St. Helena each June has
become the largest and most successful charity wine auction in the
United States since it began in 1981. Hundreds of wine enthusiasts
and auction-goers from across the nation, as well as a growing
number of international guests, travel to the Meadowood resort in
Napa Valley to participate in a gala weekend of tastings, dining,
art shows, and auctions. As the auction has grown in stature along
with the California wines it showcases, the auction has acquired a
sense of acclaim few envisioned in its homespun beginnings, raising
millions for local health care needs. A record-breaking $9.5
million was raised at the 1999 event, sponsored by the Napa Valley
Borrowing grape varieties and winemaking skills from
Europe, Napa Valley's earliest vintners learned by trial and error,
a few of them producing wine that gained national recognition more
than a century ago. After decades of weathering economic upheavals
and American's evolving tastes, Napa Valley winemaking has come of
age; its wine are among the world's finest. Most of Napa's wines
are varietal, produced primarily from the grape variety indicated
on the label. Among the region's best known wines, chardonnay and
cabernet sauvignon top the list. Other white varieties include
chenin blanc, gewurztraminer, muscat blanc, riesling, sauvignon
blanc, semillon, and viognier. Red varietals are cabernet franc,
charbono, gamay beaujolais, merlot, petite sirah, pinot noir,
sangiovese, syrah, and zinfandel.
During the struggling years of the Second World War,
1943 marked an important point in the valley's wine history, when a
group of vintners came together to share ideas on grape growing and
wine making. This group laid the foundation for the Napa Valley
Vintners Association, a non-profit trade organization representing
177 Napa Valley wineries in marketing and promotional activities
throughout the United States and abroad. Its twin objectives are
raising funds for non-profit organizations that serve those in need
in Napa Valley, and educating consumers about the region's wines.
Since 1981, the auction has donated nearly $16 million to local
charities. More than 1,000 community volunteers, committee members,
and bidders contribute to the event's success each year.
Documentation includes a videotape of the 1999
auction; a 238-page 1999 auction catalog; the 1999 schedule of
activities; and ten 1999 color slides.
Originally submitted by: Mike Thompson, Representative (1st District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.