Every year Auction Napa Valley brings ultra-high-rollers together with Napa royalty (the in-the-biz term for the Valley’s most significant winery owners) for several days of charitable fund-raising. The currency is, of course, wine.
This year’s auction took a Latin theme, thanks to honorary auction chair Agustin Huneeus, Jr, of Quintessa winery and Huneeus Vintners. “I really wanted to infuse this year’s event with my cultural upbringing,” Huneeus said. “That’s why we brought in chef Francis Mallman from Argentina, that’s why we brought in Los Van Van [the Grammy-winning Cuban dance band], that’s why people were greeted with a Pisco punch as they came in. We really wanted to infuse it with Hispanic culture because we’re a big part of Napa Valley, too.”
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The temperatures probably helped contribute to the Latin feel—on Friday, it was 99˚ on the grounds of Robert Mondavi Winery, where the barrel auction part of the event was held. That didn’t stop bidders from going long on special barrel lots from the acclaimed 2014 and 2015 vintages, with the top amount going to star winemaker Philippe Melka’s 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Metisse Montbleau vineyard ($62,100).