IN his continuing search for the more weird and wondrous in this world, David Ellis says that wine buffs in California’s Napa Valley, this month paid an amazing US$15.8m (AU$20.43m) at an auction of donated wines and wine holiday packages to raise funds for local health care and education.
More than 850 people attended the annual event held in a 40m by 60m air-conditioned tent on a fairway at the Meadowood Golf Resort, taking away purchases ranging from a 12-litre bottle (called a Balthazar) of Cabernet Sauvignon for $500,000, to a 2-week visit for two to eleven of the most prestigious wine estates in Europe for $800,000, and a cruise of the Italian coast from Portofino to Cinque Terre on a private yacht ($320,000.)
The opportunity to taste some of the Napa Valley’s rarest wines with their makers fetched individual bids of a near-quarter million US dollars… and one couple paid $190,000 to take home three dozen bottles of a sought-after label Cabernet Sauvignon, the chance to have dinner on the estate where the wine was made – and with a 2005 Morgan Roadster sports car thrown-in as part of their purchase.
Other lots included travel packages to Rome, Hong Kong and Las Vegas, Italian fashionwear and a trail-bike ride linking ten top Napa Valley wineries.
The charity auction has been held annually for 34 years by Napa Valley Vintners.