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Auction Napa Valley draws younger audience with Katy Perry performance

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Auction Napa Valley

Thursday: Vintner Welcome Parties at wineries throughout Napa Valley, 6 p.m.

Friday: Napa Valley Barrel Auction at Louis M. Martini Winery, 254 Saint Helena Hwy S, St Helena, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday: Live Auction at Meadowood Napa Valley, 900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Monday: E-Auction, which began May 29, closes at noon.

More information: auctionnapavalley.org

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

The pop star’s mini concert will be transmitted in a nanosecond when cell phones aimed at the multi-platinum singer create a social media blitz on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Her lineup of five or six 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 on Twitter; 81.9 million on Instagram; and 63 million on Facebook. CBC News, a division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, reported in 2017 that Perry made social media history 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 — now sold out — is in its 39th year, while the Napa Valley Vintners, the organization that puts on the auction, is celebrating its 75th year. (auctionnapavalley.org)

“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.”

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 Uber, Lyft and Pinterest having gone public this spring, and Airbnb and Slack expected to go public later this year, there’s a rise in instant multimillionaires of early investors and high-level employees, many of whom live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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

Perry is involved in many philanthropic causes; she has traveled to Madagascar and Vietnam to focus attention on the world’s most vulnerable children while recording public service announcements to empower girls and support adolescents living with HIV/AIDS. The work drew the attention of UNICEF, which gave Perry its Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award in 2016.

At the auction, Perry’s performance is expected to create some spiraling bids, particularly among cult cabernet lots. Here are five that will likely inspire some bidding wars:

Lot 12 — Dalla Valle, which includes two 3-liter bottles – one of its MDV cabernet sauvignon and one of its Maya red wine blend.

Lot 18 — Harlan Estate, which features one 9-liter bottle of its 2001 red wine blend.

Lot 19 — Kenzo Estate, which includes three 3-liter bottles of its cabernet sauvignon, merlot and red wine blend.

Lot 25 — Spottswoode, which features six 750 ml bottles of its cabernet sauvignon.

Lot 26 — Colgin, which includes 3-liter bottles of cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and red wine blend.

Putting Perry in the spotlight during bidding is a smart marketing move considering the challenge some see in engaging millennials with wine.

In his report, McMillan 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.

Auction Napa Valley

Thursday: Vintner Welcome Parties at wineries throughout Napa Valley, 6 p.m.

Friday: Napa Valley Barrel Auction at Louis M. Martini Winery, 254 Saint Helena Hwy S, St Helena, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday: Live Auction at Meadowood Napa Valley, 900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena, 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Monday: E-Auction, which began May 29, closes at noon.

More information: auctionnapavalley.org

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