I’ve actually been coming to the auction for many years, beginning when I was an executive at Tri-Star Films. At that time – as now – auction bidders were invited to two “experiences” – typically a lunch and dinner though they have changed it recently – and our “experience was a hayride up to Schramsberg Vineyard driven by the late Jack and Jamie Davies. It was an incredible experience to have such an intimate conversation with winemakers and just a few other guests.
So in the last few years, the Napa Valley Auction has changed things up a bit and are offering even more experiences to bid on during the auction, so in addition to wine you get a fabulous event. And this year I was in the audience when the bidding went crazy for the Raymond Vineyards’ 2014 Auction Napa Valley Live Lot involving a luxury visit to the 2015 Academy Awards with all the trimmings (lux airfare, lux hotel, evening clothes to wear to the Awards and all the parties) that was created in unison with the Weinstein Company.
Here’s what the auction book says: Hollywood Glamour, including a private, VIP table at the Weinstein Company’s Oscars weekend parties, private jet transportation, a red carpet premiere of new Weinstein Company film, evening gown and tuxedo appropriate for the festivities, and a collection of rare Raymond wines, including a 9L bottle of Raymond Generations signed by the cast of a Weinstein Company film.
People went wild for that lot which earned $840,000 for Napa Valley charities when two bidders each offered a winning bid of $420,000, and Raymond Proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset agreed to double the lot, making it the highest-earning lot among the fifty offered at the Live Auction on Saturday, June 7th, 2014. The record-setting auction brought in a total of $18.7 million for healthcare and children’s education nonprofits.
“Auction Napa Valley 2014 was a remarkable moment for Napa – again exceeding all records and expectations and we are thrilled that we were able to contribute to the Napa community and the charities that have come to rely on the generous funding of the donors at the Napa wine auction,” said Jean-Charles Boisset, proprietor of Raymond Vineyards and the Boisset Collection. “It’s thanks to the incredible stewardship of the Duncan and Gargiulo families, and the remarkable leadership of the Napa Valley Vintners. The NVV has done so much to promote the Napa Valley while ensuring that the vibrancy of Napa wine provides strong and meaningful support to all members of the Napa community. Among the many organizations and regions that we support through our wineries in France and California, the commitment of vintners in the Napa Valley is an example to us all.”
I met Jean-Charles several times in France and NYC and he is a VERY charming and genuinely nice guy. It’s great he is doing such fabulous things for his new community of Napa.