Premiere Napa Valley is an annual barrel tasting and wine auction open only to the wine and beverage trade. Held each February in St. Helena, Calif., the auction is sponsored by Napa Valley Vintners, a professional association of 250 Napa Valley wineries. Proceeds from the auction support the organization’s educational and other programs. The auction is an important event in the wine industry because members make special cuvées for the auction. Winemakers make a barrel or less of their auction cuvées. Premiere Napa Valley wines, which are Cabernet Sauvignons or other red varietals, are not widely available to the public. Restaurateurs and retailers who purchase these cuvées market them as the “best of the best.” As part of our commitment to bringing rare and fine wines to our customers, WineBid.com participates in the Premiere Napa Valley auction and each year purchases a cuvée which we offer exclusively through our auctions.
Howell Mountain AVA in Northeastern Napa Valley was the first of Napa Valley’s sub-appellations, earning its own designation in 1984, just a year after Napa Valley became an appellation. As the name suggests, the AVA is in one of the highest elevations in the area. Every vineyard in the appellation is at least 1,400 feet above sea level. Some vineyards are as high as 2,200 feet and because of their altitude most of the AVA’s vineyards receive more sun than vineyards at lower elevations, which are affected by fog from the Pacific Ocean and the San Pablo Bay. Howell Mountain was home to vineyards in the late 19th century, but winemaker Randy Dunn is considered the area’s most influential modern pioneer. Dunn moved to Howell Mountain in 1979, acquired property and began making exceptionally rich Cabernet Sauvignon. The AVA also grows Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. There are 600 vineyard acres within Howell Mountain AVA.
One of the most widely grown grape varieties, it can be found in nearly every wine growing region. A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a hardy vine that produces a full-bodied wine with high tannins and great aging potential.