NEWBERG, Ore. – It might have been a sign of optimism in the U.S. economy, but the $476,000 raised by the inaugural Willamette: The Pinot Noir Barrel Auction definitely showed that more than 400 wine collectors are bullish on the 2014 vintage in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
On Saturday at the tony Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, the Willamette Valley staged its inaugural trade auction of Pinot Noir. There were 66 producers spotlighted, and they offered up unique lots to a trade-only audience from around the country.
“We are thrilled at the success of this event,” auction chairman Josh Bergström of Bergström Wines said in a news release. “It was an amazing opportunity for retailers, restaurateurs and distributors from all over the world to not only obtain rare bottlings from our best cellars but to further delve into the complex and world class story of Oregon’s Wine community.
“It was time for an event of this caliber in the Willamette Valley,” Bergström continued. “The Oregon wine community sits in a unique moment of time where pioneers and young visionaries are standing together at the same table raising the quality of Pinot noir for the world.”
All proceeds from the auction will support the marketing and branding efforts of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association.
Next year’s second annual Willamette: The Pinot Noir Barrel Auction is scheduled for April 1.
This year’s inaugural Reveal Walla Walla Valley Wine Auction, another trade-only event, is scheduled for April 17-18 in Walla Walla, Wash.
Pinot Noir auction opens with Bergström lot
The first item, a five-case lot from Bergström Wines, set the tone by generating more than $10,000 from the bidders. In less than two hours, all 66 lots were auctioned off by Fritz Hatton for a combined total of $467,000 — an average of more than $1,000 per case.
The list included Adelsheim Vineyard, Alexana, Alloro, Anam Cara, Andrew Rich, Anne Amie, Antica Terra, Archery Summit, Argyle, Ayoub, Beaux Frères, Bethel Heights Vineyard, Big Table Farm, Brooks, Carabella, Chapter 24, Chehalem, Coelho, Cristom, Domaine Serene, Dominio IV, Drouhin Oregon Roserock, Dusky Goose, Elizabeth Chambers Cellar, Elk Cove, Erath, Evening Land, The Four Graces, Gran Moraine, Helioterra, Hyland Estates, J. Christopher, J.K. Carriere, King Estate, La Crema, Lange Estate, Left Coast, Lemelson, Maison Roy & Fils, Montinore, Mouton Noir, Owen Roe, Patricia Green, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, Rain Dance Vineyards, Raptor Ridge, Redhawk, REX HILL, Rocky Point, St. Innocent, Sequitur, Siduri, Sokol Blosser, Soléna Estate, Stoller Family Estate, Trisaetum, Vidon, Walter Scott, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Willful Wine Co., Yamhill Valley Vineyards, Youngberg Hill and Zena Crown.
- A five-case lot of Bethel Heights Vineyards wines from Ben Casteel sold for $10,500 to bidders from Frederick Wildman & Sons in New York City.
- Ten cases of Pinot Noir from the Yamhill-Carlton and Dundee Hills AVAs by renowned Lynn Penner-Ash for Penner Ash Wine Cellars sold for $16,000 to Houston restaurant Plonk Bistro.
- A five-case lot from a single barrel of wine made from Antica Terra vineyard by Maggie Harrison for Antica Terra Winery sold for $13,000 to the Sea Island Resort in Georgia.
Ellen Spicknall from Wine Cellars of Annapolis (Md.), an East Coast supporter of Pinot Noir from Oregon, won five-case auctions for debut projects Lavinea ($11,000) and Nicolas-Jay ($7,000). Lavinea is the collaboration between winemaker Isabelle Meunier and wine industry executive Greg Ralston, who worked together on Evening Land Vineyards. Nicolas-Jay is the partnership of famed Burgundy producer Jean-Nicolas Méo and music industry exec Jay Boberg.
“To have an opportunity to get in on the very first vintage of Lavinea was something we couldn’t pass up,” Spicknall said. “The entire event was marvelous, and the people I met are as world-class as their wines. That’s why we love to introduce Willamette Valley wines to our customers at the Wine Cellars of Annapolis. We will be back next year.”
Willamette Valley Wineries Association at 210 members
The Willamette Valley Wineries Association, led by Executive Director Sue Horstmann, is a nonprofit industry association “dedicated to achieving recognition for Oregon’s acclaimed Willamette Valley as a premier Pinot noir-producing region.”
Horstmann’s group includes 210 members representing wineries and tasting rooms throughout the Willamette Valley region from Portland to Eugene. Memorial Day Weekend in the Wine Country and Wine Country Thanksgiving are the two oldest WVWA-sponsored touring events in Oregon.
For more information or to request a touring map, visit www.willamettewines.com, call 503-646- 2985 or follow on Twitter @wvwines and on Facebook.