05.01.2015  
 

Sonoma Barrel Auction Raises $460,000

Wineries from 14 districts in Sonoma County join for first wine-trade sale

 
by Jim Gordon
 
“sonoma
 
Glenn Siegel (right) of Wine Spectrum, one of the top bidders at the Sonoma County Barrel Auction, chats with Corey Beck, president of the Sonoma County Vintners and director of winemaking at Francis Ford Coppola Presents.
Santa Rosa, Calif.—The first-ever Sonoma County Barrel Auction brought more than $460,000 in bids today for 71 one-of-a-kind lots of wine ranging from a rare Sauvignon Musqué from Dry Creek Vineyard to a 20-case lot of Williams Selyem Reverence Pinot Noir blended from seven heritage clones.

Two hundred wine trade buyers from as far away as Taiwan and media representatives attended the event at the Vintner’s Inn, where winemakers poured all of the auction lots for tasting in the morning, followed by lunch and the auction.

While Sonoma wineries and their numerous organizations supporting individual American Viticultural Appellations conduct many fundraising events throughout the year, this one was unique in that wineries from all the AVAs came together to present Sonoma County in a single venue and totally focused on the wine trade.

“I am very proud to see us all together in one room,” said Corey Beck, director of winemaking for Francis Ford Coppola Presents and president of the Sonoma County Vintners, the auction’s sponsoring organization. “Our county is very diverse, so we asked ourselves what can we do as a group to show the great diversity and quality of Sonoma County wines.”

Carolyn Stark, executive director of the vintners group, was very pleased with the bidding, saying it exceeded expectations of a total under $400,000. Proceeds from the event will go back to the various AVA organizations to support their individual marketing and other efforts, Beck said. Fourteen of the county’s 17 AVAs participated.

Glenn Siegel of Santa Rosa, Calif.-based retailer Wine Spectrum was one of the biggest spenders, bidding $13,000 for a five-case lot of Martinelli Winery Pinot Noir; $7,500 for another five-case lot of Linked Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as several other lots.

As owner of a 25-year-old local retail operation selling to consumers around the country, Siegel said he came to support the wineries but also found good value in the wines being auctioned.

The two most expensive lots both sold for $24,000: the Williams Selyem Reverence and a 20-case lot offered as a joint effort from three wineries: Joseph Swan Vineyards, Kosta Browne Wines and Williams Selyem.

An usual aspect of the auction was that all the lots offered had to pass inspection by a panel of six master sommeliers and a master of wine. Evan Goldstein, himself a master sommelier and operator of Full Circle Wine Solutions in San Francisco, organized the panel and participated himself.

Goldstein said the idea of “curating” the wines was to make sure that all the wines would be topnotch and represent Sonoma County well. Several wines that the panel had questions about were modified by the winemakers after they heard the panel’s critique, Goldstein said.

Various AVAs involved hosted their own events for trade and media before and after the main event. The organizers have set April 29, 2016, as the date for the next auction.

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