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Inside The Napa Valley Wine Auction 2010

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And now we bring you the first installment of The Swill, wherein certified sommelier and Hip Tastes book and blog author, Courtney Cochran, brings you the latest gossip and findings from the wide world of wine.

[Photo: Ashley Teplin]

Guests at the past weekend’s 30th annual Auction Napa Valley, awkwardly nicknamed “The Granddaddy of All Wine Auctions” by its promoters, came by the hundreds. They brought with them Champagne wishes and redoubtable appetites for Morimoto steamed pork belly sandwiches, assorted fascinating and just-plan-wrong pastel outfits and an irrepressible urge to spend a cool $1 million on barrel futures of some of Napa’s top wines. Between catching up with Napa people like The Wine Bible author, Karen McNeil, and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, some newsy bits rose to the surface.

1) Master sommelier and TV host, Andrea Immer Robinson and her husband have something new coming down the pipe this fall: a new Web site featuring daily tastings that could finally be a viable competitor to Gary V.

2) Brian Brown of Round Pond winery in Rutherford just scored 94 points on his debut vintage. He’s one of the youngest vintners in the valley.

3) This year’s event raised an impressive $8.5 million for sundry Napa Valley charities. Live lots at Saturday’s Auction proper at Meadowood raised the majority of the funds.

4) To give you an idea for the kind of things the well-to-do spend money on here, a Hong Kong billionaire reportedly spent $200,000 on a single six-liter bottle of Screaming Eagle. Right. He said it was the perfect size to carry home.

5) And the favorite tweet from the whole thing recounts the following stats: 23,500 dishes served, 7000 Riedels polished, 2000 napkins folded, 1,436 Tweets, 900 seat cushions tied, 365 staff. Whew!

by Courtney Cochran