Trade auction of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir raises $476,000

By on April 5, 2016
Committee members for the inaugural Willamette: Pinot Noir Barrel Auction are, front row, auction director Victoria Pustynsky; Emily Nelson, associate director Willamette Valley Wineries Association, and Sue Horstmann, executive director of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, and back row from left: Pat Dudley, Bethel Heights; Eugenia Keegan, Gran Moraine; Fritz Hatton, auctioneer; chairman Josh Bergström of Bergström Winery; David Adelsheim, Adelsheim Vineyards; Laurent Montalieu, NW Wine Co., and Ron Penner Ash, of Penner-Ash Wine Cellars.

Committee members for the inaugural Willamette: Pinot Noir Barrel Auction are, front row, auction director Victoria Pustynsky; Emily Nelson, associate director Willamette Valley Wineries Association; and Sue Horstmann, executive director of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, and back row from left: Pat Dudley, Bethel Heights; Eugenia Keegan, Gran Moraine; Fritz Hatton, auctioneer; chairman Josh Bergström of Bergström Wines; David Adelsheim, Adelsheim Vineyards; Laurent Montalieu, NW Wine Co.; and Ron Penner Ash, of Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. (Photo courtesy of Willamette Valley Wineries Association)

NEWBERG, Ore. – It might have been a sign of optimism in the U.S. economy, but the $476,000 raised by the inaugural Willamette: The Pinot Noir Barrel Auction definitely showed that more than 400 wine collectors are bullish on the 2014 vintage in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

On Saturday at the tony Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, the Willamette Valley staged its inaugural trade auction of Pinot Noir. There were 66 producers spotlighted, and they offered up unique lots to a trade-only audience from around the country.

“We are thrilled at the success of this event,” auction chairman Josh Bergström of Bergström Wines said in a news release. “It was an amazing opportunity for retailers, restaurateurs and distributors from all over the world to not only obtain rare bottlings from our best cellars but to further delve into the complex and world class story of Oregon’s Wine community.

“It was time for an event of this caliber in the Willamette Valley,” Bergström continued. “The Oregon wine community sits in a unique moment of time where pioneers and young visionaries are standing together at the same table raising the quality of Pinot noir for the world.”

All proceeds from the auction will support the marketing and branding efforts of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association.

Next year’s second annual Willamette: The Pinot Noir Barrel Auction is scheduled for April 1.

This year’s inaugural Reveal Walla Walla Valley Wine Auction, another trade-only event, is scheduled for April 17-18 in Walla Walla, Wash.

Pinot Noir auction opens with Bergström lot

Paddles are raised during the inaugural Willamette: Pinot Noir Barrel Auction on Saturday, April 2, 2016 in Newberg, Ore.

Paddles are raised during the inaugural Willamette: Pinot Noir Barrel Auction on Saturday, April 2, 2016, in Newberg, Ore. (Photo by Aubrie LeGault Photography/Courtesy of Willamette Valley Wineries Association)

The first item, a five-case lot from Bergström Wines, set the tone by generating more than $10,000 from the bidders. In less than two hours, all 66 lots were auctioned off by Fritz Hatton for a combined total of $467,000 — an average of more than $1,000 per case.

The list included Adelsheim Vineyard, Alexana, Alloro, Anam Cara, Andrew Rich, Anne Amie, Antica Terra, Archery Summit, Argyle, Ayoub, Beaux Frères, Bethel Heights Vineyard, Big Table Farm, Brooks, Carabella, Chapter 24, Chehalem, Coelho, Cristom, Domaine Serene, Dominio IV, Drouhin Oregon Roserock, Dusky Goose, Elizabeth Chambers Cellar, Elk Cove, Erath, Evening Land, The Four Graces, Gran Moraine, Helioterra, Hyland Estates, J. Christopher, J.K. Carriere, King Estate, La Crema, Lange Estate, Left Coast, Lemelson, Maison Roy & Fils, Montinore, Mouton Noir, Owen Roe, Patricia Green, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, Rain Dance Vineyards, Raptor Ridge, Redhawk, REX HILL, Rocky Point, St. Innocent, Sequitur, Siduri, Sokol Blosser, Soléna Estate, Stoller Family Estate, Trisaetum, Vidon, Walter Scott, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Willful Wine Co., Yamhill Valley Vineyards, Youngberg Hill and Zena Crown.

  • A five-case lot of Bethel Heights Vineyards wines from Ben Casteel sold for $10,500 to bidders from Frederick Wildman & Sons in New York City.
  • Ten cases of Pinot Noir from the Yamhill-Carlton and Dundee Hills AVAs by renowned Lynn Penner-Ash for Penner Ash Wine Cellars sold for $16,000 to Houston restaurant Plonk Bistro.
  • A five-case lot from a single barrel of wine made from Antica Terra vineyard by Maggie Harrison for Antica Terra Winery sold for $13,000 to the Sea Island Resort in Georgia.

Ellen Spicknall from Wine Cellars of Annapolis (Md.), an East Coast supporter of Pinot Noir from Oregon, won five-case auctions for debut projects Lavinea ($11,000) and Nicolas-Jay ($7,000). Lavinea is the collaboration between winemaker Isabelle Meunier and wine industry executive Greg Ralston, who worked together on Evening Land Vineyards. Nicolas-Jay is the partnership of famed Burgundy producer Jean-Nicolas Méo and music industry exec Jay Boberg.

“To have an opportunity to get in on the very first vintage of Lavinea was something we couldn’t pass up,” Spicknall said. “The entire event was marvelous, and the people I met are as world-class as their wines. That’s why we love to introduce Willamette Valley wines to our customers at the Wine Cellars of Annapolis. We will be back next year.”

Willamette Valley Wineries Association at 210 members

Wayne Bailey of Youngberg Hill pours at part of the inaugural Willamette: Pinot Noir Barrel Auction on Saturday, April 2, 2016 in Newberg, Ore. The new event featured a 2 1/2-hour trade tasting of the wines about to be auctioned off. (Photo by Aubrie LeGault Photography/Courtesy of Willamette Valley Wineries Association)

Wayne Bailey of Youngberg Hill pours as part of the inaugural Willamette: Pinot Noir Barrel Auction on Saturday, April 2, 2016, in Newberg, Ore. The event at the Allison Inn & Spa featured a 2 1/2-hour trade tasting of the wines about to be auctioned off. (Photo by Aubrie LeGault Photography/Courtesy of Willamette Valley Wineries Association)

The Willamette Valley Wineries Association, led by Executive Director Sue Horstmann, is a nonprofit industry association “dedicated to achieving recognition for Oregon’s acclaimed Willamette Valley as a premier Pinot noir-producing region.”

Horstmann’s group includes 210 members representing wineries and tasting rooms throughout the Willamette Valley region from Portland to Eugene. Memorial Day Weekend in the Wine Country and Wine Country Thanksgiving are the two oldest WVWA-sponsored touring events in Oregon.

For more information or to request a touring map, visit www.willamettewines.com, call 503-646- 2985 or follow on Twitter @wvwines and on Facebook.

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.

One Comment

  1. Victoria Pustynsky

    April 5, 2016 at 9:13 am

    Thanks for this fantastic coverage. Correction: Maggie Harrison’s Antica Terra lot was actually only 5 cases sold for $13,000. Amazing!

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