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Katy Perry performing at Auction Napa Valley

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Will Auction Napa Valley go viral when Katy Perry launches bidding June 1?

The pop star’s mini concert will be transmitted in a nanosecond when cell phones aimed at the multiplatinum singer create a social media blitz on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Her lineup of 5 or 6 songs will likely include “Dark Horse,” “Roar” and, of course, “California Gurls.”

Perry is the consummate network to tap into; the singer/songwriter has 9-digit followers –– 107 million Twitter; 77.4 million on Instagram; and 64 million on Facebook. CBC News reported that Perry made social media history in 2017 by becoming the first person in the world to reach 100 million Twitter followers.

Were organizers looking for a millennial to pose as the new poster child for the auction in light of Rob McMillan’s annual report? The founder of the Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division reports that millennials aren’t yet embracing wine consumption as many had predicted and the U.S. wine industry will be challenged over the next five years.

Choosing Perry to engage millennials wasn’t a deliberate move, according to Paula Kornell of Kornell Wine Company, the Saturday chairman for Auction Napa Valley. However Kornell said it’s an opportunity to draw attention to Auction Napa Valley at an interesting crossroads. The auction is in its 39th year, while the Napa Valley Vintners, the organization that puts on the auction, is celebrating its 75 year.

Tickets are now on sale for the auction and details, including package options, can be found at auctionnapavalley.org. The weekend’s main event –– the live auction –– will be at St. Helena’s Meadowood Napa Valley. Ayesha Curry will be among the chefs from Michael Mina’s restaurant empire, greeting guests as they cook over open-fire pits on the manicured lawn.

Curry and Perry, both under 34, are poised to tap into a new category of wealthy bidders: the millennial nouveau riche. With Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Slack and Pinterest all expected to go public, it will make instant multimillionaires of early investors and high-level employees, many of whom live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“We’re constantly needing to shake the auction up,” Kornell said. “We’re constantly looking for new followers … social media does give it a wide outreach.”

Kornell said a vintner’s connection with Perry created the opportunity and “Katy’s global philanthropic efforts are perfectly aligned with the charitable work that benefits the children and families by Auction Napa Valley proceeds.”

Putting Perry in the spotlight during bidding is a smart marketing move considering the course correction needed to engage millennials with wine.

McMillan, in his report, writes: “Damaged financial capacity is a major component but cannabis legalization and a cumulative negative health message surrounding alcohol have combined to temporarily stall the growth and adoption of wine among young consumers … Baby boomers still lead in total wine purchases, but they’re moving into retirement, adjusting to living on a fixed income and declining in both their numbers and per capita consumption.”

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5310.

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