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.
Napa Valley AVA is the most famous winemaking region in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. With nearly 43,000 acres of vineyards and more than 300 wineries, it is the heart of fine wine production in the United States. Winemaking started in Napa in 1838 when George C. Yount planted grapes and began producing wine commercially. Other winemaking pioneers followed in the late 19th century, including the founders of Charles Krug, Schramsberg, Inglenook and Beaulieu Vineyards. An infestation of phylloxera, an insect that attacks vine roots, and the onset of Prohibition nearly wiped out the nascent Napa wine industry in the early 20th century. But by the late 1950s and early 1960s Robert Mondavi and other visionaries were producing quality wines easily distinguishable from the mass-produced jug wines made in California’s Central Valley. Napa Valley’s AVA was established in 1983, and today there are 16 sub-appellations within the Napa Valley AVA. Many grapes grow well in Napa’s Mediterranean climate, but the region is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay is also very successfully cultivated, and about 30% of the AVA’s acreage is planted to white grapes, with the majority of those grapes being Chardonnay,