The wildly popular and always sold-out barrel auction and marketplace event of Auction Napa Valley was the place to be on Friday afternoon with thousands of stylishly dressed party-goers roaming the grounds of Rubicon Estates in high spirits and with roused appetites. Rubicon Estates in Rutherford, with its festively decorated outdoor patios and lawns for the Marketplace, deep cellars for the barrel auction and spacious upstairs for the e-auction, provided a comfortable venue for guests to explore, taste and seriously bid.
The rare threat of rain held back, allowing guests to savor barbecued beef, pork sliders and vegetarian dishes all-day-long at the Marketplace, with whites, roses and sparkling being served outside, and the barrel auction reds poured inside the historic Rubicon cellars. Music provided the mood, with rock bands such as Wristrocket inspiring guests to dance on the lawn by the afternoon.
The auction action was never far away with a leader board on the main lawn being constantly updated for those enjoying the food outside at the Marketplace. Inside the packed cellar for the barrel tasting and auction, the energy was palpable, the buzz real, with several auction boards inciting guests to taste the latest leaders’ wines and counter-bid. Vintners were heroic to the cause by having their best people out in front, with owners and winemakers such as Genevieve Janssens, Doug Shafer, Chris Howell and Mike McGrath tirelessly engaging with guests. By the afternoon, barrel auction leaders included Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select and Bounty Hunter’s Blind Justice, a 100% cabernet from Tokalon Vineyard in Oakville.
Upstairs in the main house, the e-auction continued until 3:00 pm with laptops almost continuously visited. According to guests, the e-auction was easy to use and just as exciting due to participation from around the world.
The barrel tasting and auction and marketplace was a prelude to the main live auction taking place on Saturday afternoon. By the crowds and energy taking place on Friday, Saturday’s event should be a winner!