Is the Economy Back? Here’s a Vinous Indicator

Housing starts generally are a reliable barometer of the health of the economy. According to this report, housing starts were up 6.8% in May.

Another positive sign: The 2013 Auction Napa Valley not only broke its fundraising record—set back in 2005—it obliterated it.

In ’05, before the economic downturn, the annual auction raised $10.5 million. But in the years to follow, as Americans were forced to tighten their belts, that record went unchallenged.

Now, with the 33rd annual auction results revealed, it’s safe to say that quite a few of those belts have been loosened.

The fundraising total for 2013?

$16.9 million.

Has a nice to ring to it, wouldn’t you say?

The top-selling lot—a collection of Napa Valley wines from Dana Estate, along with a trip to winery owner Hi Sang Lee’s native country of South Korea—brought $1.02 million.

Four magnums of you-pick-them wines from the Harlan Estate cellar brought $800,000.

A 12-liter bottle from Screaming Eagle fetched $500,000.

The event’s barrel auction always is a highlight, as wineries donate 10-case lots to the cause. This year’s top 10 lots were:

  1. Shafer Vineyards — $78,000
  2. Realm Cellars — $61,350
  3. Continuum Estate — $59,200
  4. Ovid Napa Valley — $52,500
  5. Cardinale — $44,550
  6. Kongsgaard — $41,550
  7. Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery — $37,200
  8. Gemstone — $34,100
  9. Joseph Phelps Vineyards — $33,050
  10. Vineyard 7&8 — $32,600

Some may consider Auction Napa Valley an exercise in excess, but there’s no denying that it does much good in the community, benefiting health and children’s education efforts. You can read about the “giving strategies” here.

Posted in Wine Buzz
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