Sonoma County Barrel Auction coming May 4
The 2023 Sonoma County Barrel Auction is right around the corner, with the two-day Healdsburg-based event kicking off with an auction-lot tasting preview at Bacchus Landing on Thursday, May 4, followed by a live auction at MacMurray Estate Vineyards on May 5.
Presented by the Sonoma County Vintners, the auction will raise funds for the wine trade organization, which provides marketing and policy advocacy to its 250 winery members and the Sonoma County wine region. The auction also supports the organization’s foundation arm, which raises funds for nonprofits across the region.
Last year's event, the first in-person auction post-pandemic, raised $445,000. While this doesn’t match pre-pandemic totals, it’s an increase over 2021’s virtual auction total of $271,375.
Open to wine trade members and media from around the world, the live auction will feature small lots of “Never Before, Never Again,” one-of-a-kind wines created exclusively for the event by Sonoma County wineries. The goal is to provide trade buyers exclusive access to limited-edition wines for resale to customers and collectors of ultra-premium wines.
“This is such an important and impactful program for Sonoma County Vintner members because it gives them valuable facetime with visiting trade and media and an opportunity to build new, meaningful relationships,” said Michael Haney, executive director of Sonoma County Vintners. “I’m thrilled national and international trade continue to travel to Sonoma County every year to bid on world-class wines made by our Sonoma County vintner community.”
The live auction will feature 66 lots created by a total of 74 winemakers and one AVA association, with some made by multiple wineries who collaborated to produce a single bottling. Among the most exciting is Lot No. 56: The Legend: Joe Rochioli, Jr., a 2022 pinot noir, Rochioli Riverblock, Russian River Valley from Williams Selyem, Rochioli Winery and Gary Farrell Winery.
“In remembrance, this lot is our vinified tribute to the hard work, vision, inspiration and legacy of Joe Rochioli, Jr. (1934-2022), with a wine that is profoundly special to us and the relationship we continue to cultivate with the next generation,” the auction catalog states. “Like Joe, it can never be replicated, just celebrated.”
This year, the Sonoma County Barrel Auction will present a Lifetime Achievement award to Tom Klein, proprietor of Rodney Strong Vineyards, who has played a significant role in Sonoma County’s wine industry since 1989. Under Klein’s direction, the winery became an early leader in philanthropy and sustainability and the first carbon-neutral winery in Sonoma County.
The Icons of the Year award will go to Lee Sr. and Carolyn Martinelli, proprietors of Martinelli Winery, for the Martinelli family’s 100-year legacy of farming and winemaking in Sonoma County. Innovator of the Year will be presented to Theresa Heredia, director of winemaking at Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery, for her efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion at Gary Farrell and across the wine industry.
The 2023 Sonoma County Barrel Auction is free to attend.
For more information or to register, visit barrelauction.sonomawine.com.
You can reach Staff Writer Sarah Doyle at 707-521-5478 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @whiskymuse.
Wine & Lifestyle Reporter
Wine is the indelible heartbeat of Sonoma County. As the wine industry continues to evolve, my job is to share the triumphs, challenges and trends that affect our local wine region, while highlighting the people — past and present — who have contributed to its success. In addition, I cover spirits, beer and on occasion, other lifestyle topics.
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