Napa Auction Sets New Records For Single Lot, E-Auction, Barrel Tasting, & Blood Alcohol Level.

Live Auction stage at Auction Napa Valley 2015.

Live Auction stage at Auction Napa Valley 2015.

The Auction Napa Valley 2015 came to a close on Sunday night after raising $15.8 million for programs in children’s education and community health. While the total didn’t break the old record, new highs were set for a single Live Auction item, the E-Auction total, the Barrel Tasting total and how many gallons of Cabernet I can drink without falling down.

The Napa Valley Vintners reported, “Since its inception in 1981, the NVV has given more than $145 million in Auction Napa Valley proceeds to Napa County nonprofits.” The proceeds help more than 90,000 clients annually in Napa County, some of whom need the community health assistance after trying to lift all that money.

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Wild, Cultured or GM; Is Yeast a Fermenting Controversy?

Chapter Twelve. Part Five.

Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Fermentation Tank At Il Greppo in Tuscany.

Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Fermentation Tank At Il Greppo in Tuscany.

In an effort to tame the temperamental tribulations of fermentation, men have long tinkered with yeast, and as a result, winemakers now have many types of these little critters in their winemaking arsenal. Despite their differences, the one thing that all yeast organisms have figured out is how to convert sugar into alcohol, which is a far greater achievement than anything my college buddies have done with their lives.

Although wild yeast permeates the vineyards and wineries, many winemakers prefer to use cultured yeasts because they come from well-heeled families. Wild yeasts are uncultivated party animals and are therefore less predictable (of course unpredictable can also mean crazy-good). Think of it this way; uncultivated yeasts are like the wine bloggers of the fungi world but not quite as moldy.

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The (Rutherford) Dust Settles After The Napa Earthquake.

When natural disaster strikes we find ourselves ogling the harsh images on TV. Whether it’s the collapsed façade of a stately building in downtown Napa or the half-submerged skeleton of a landmark rollercoaster at the Jersey shore, these images become the icons of our tenuous hold on life. They remind us of what is truly important – the people we share our lives with.

Aaron Pott pours 2009 Pott Wine “The Oligarch” for Wine Snark in his lab at Quixote Winery.

Aaron Pott pours 2009 Pott Wine “The Oligarch” for Wine Snark in his lab at Quixote Winery.

A week has passed since the earthquake rumbled through Napa and as the dust settles we’re getting a better picture of its effect on the people and wineries of the valley.

I took a quick poll of some winemaker friends and discovered that many fared better than originally thought.  Aaron Pott, Food & Wine Magazine’s “2012 Winemaker of the Year” voiced a popular sentiment heard around the valley when he stated, “We are shaken, not stirred”.

Pott – whose current winemaking duties include Pott Wine, Bello Family, Blackbird, Fisher, Jericho Canyon, Perliss, V22, Quixote, Seven Stones and St. Helena Estate – went on to report, “All Pott’s and Pott Wine is well! Our hearts go out to many that didn’t share our luck.” He then added, “We are busy preparing for harvest.”

This was the first earthquake for New Jersey native Bob Van Dyk of Van Dyk Family Wines

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