Wine auction drowns previous record

The 2014 Premiere Napa Valley annual wine auction nearly doubled last year's totals. The vast majority of the wines that sold at the barrel auction were 2012 vintages and the high prices they garnered supported the industry claims that 2012 was the best Napa vintage year in recent history. All told, the auction brought in $5.9 million, while last year's haul paled in comparison at $3.1 million. The most expensive wine to sell was 60 bottles of a 2012 cabernet sauvignon from Scarecrow called "Toto's Opium Dream: Scene III." The bottles were sold to a Los Angeles retailer for a total of $260,000, or $4,333 per bottle.

Napa Valley wines
The Napa Valley wine growing region in California is a fairly new development in the history of wine production. While there were vineyards in the area as early as 1861, there wasn't much interest in Napa Valley wines until about 50 years ago. It was the Paris Tasting in 1976 that really launched California wines onto the world stage. At that event, California cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay were put against French Burgundy and Bordeaux in a blind taste test. The result was two California wines winning top honors – a Chateau Montelena chardonnay and a Stag's Leap Wine Cellars cabernet sauvignon. Since then, Napa Valley has become one of the greatest wine growing regions in the world.

Expensive taste
The fine wine auction in Napa Valley regularly sells bottles for incredibly large sums. The average wholesale price per bottle at this year's auction was $283, up from an average of $160.75 in 2013. The spike in prices at this year's auctions reflects the received wisdom regarding the quality of the 2012 vintage. There were 225 lots to hit the block at this year's auction, ranging in size from 5-20 cases. Each of the barrel lots were created specifically for this auction, making this event an opportunity for vintners in the region to display their own special creations in an effort to generate buzz about their wineries. Of the more than 600 attendees, there were only 73 successful bidders, mostly large-scale retailers.

Collectors can always find something intriguing on iCollector. Our listing of international auctions allows individuals to place absentee bids from their home computers, providing an easy and secure way to add to any collection.