Sonoma County Vintners Association Barrel Auction, SoCo 2015
September 3, 2015 | David Marberger
Our industry is truly about entertainment and enjoying the finer things in life, big or small. We make buying decisions based on how they make us feel. And whenever you are able to find a new bottle of something exciting, and it is better than what you perceived it to be – or you felt it tasted twice as good as the price you paid – you’re excited. It’s a moment of discovery, and you’ve found a gem. Now, you want to share that find with your family and friends, hence the entertainment part.
Well, Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits recently had the opportunity to shop in a venue of unique and rare wines that will never be duplicated again at the famous Sonoma County Barrel Auction, presented by the Sonoma County Vintners. They were produced in such small quantities that they are assured to be gone in the blink of an eye. Fortunately for you, if these wine pique your curiosity, there will be an opportunity to taste and to get to know the talent behind the creation of these gems.
Here is the back story…
In the very early morning hours of Thursday, April 30, Katie, Phill and I boarded a plane to San Francisco, California. After a relatively easy flight and a short drive we arrived at Cardinale Winery in Napa Valley for a brief tasting, box lunch and industry chit-chat. By noon, we were on our way over the mountains to MacRostie Winery to taste through the first 30 wines that would be auctioned off the next day. Each of these wines were Wine Makers choice, created solely at their discretion with the best grapes available to him or her, in whatever style they chose.
We spent about two hours tasting and talking with winery representatives about the styles and flavors that were up for auction the following day. Jockeying for position among the other retailers from around the country who were there to find the same thing we were after – a wine that best represented it’s pedigree with character and quality far above normal production wine.
Let me tell you, that’s no easy task.
Considering there would be over 70 ‘lots’ of wine on the auction block the next day, we still had some sampling work to do. So we got back in the car and drove south to Patz & Hall Winery to sample another 20 dealer’s choice wines. Between the note taking, following the GPS directions, slamming the cups of coffee and making sure we had a solid game plan, we had our work cut out for us. (Again, no easy task.)
Our very long day ended back in Napa with a fantastic dinner at Long Meadow Ranch. We had a lot to discuss to make sure, if we were lucky enough to bring anything back, it was what we thought our customer base would be excited about.
The next day, Friday, May 1, we ventured to the Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa were the auction was to take place. There, we had the second opportunity to re-taste any wine that we thought was interesting or that we just had not had the time to get to the day before. We felt pretty good about the 8 or so wines we focused on, but we really did not know what to expect once the bidding started so we had to have several contingency plans. Fortunately those plans were not needed.
At the end of the day, we had the winning bids on three different wines from reputable, quality wineries, and we are extremely proud to be able to bring them to you beginning in the winter of this year. The best part? Each winning bid also comes with a visit from the wine maker to Annapolis at which time we will introduce the wine to those who are interested.
We look forward to introducing you to these very special, and extremely limited availability, wines in the near future. Please ask any of us for more details. We would love to share the experience with you.
Oh, and for the record, we flew home on the ‘red eye’ later that night. We were on the ground in California for less than 36 hours, just to bring you these truly unique wines. And we hope you enjoy drinking them, as much as enjoyed finding them for you!