The return of live auctions celebrated by more than 350 trade members, winegrowers and media
SANTA ROSE, CA (May 11, 2022) – Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) is pleased to announce the results of this year’s Sonoma County Barrel Auction (SoCoBA) presented by American AgCredit and held in person at MacMurray Estate Vineyards on Friday, May 6, 2022. These “Never Before, Never Again” wines showcasing the spectacular diversity of the Sonoma County wine region have raised more than $445,000 for SCV’s marketing programs and initiatives that support the wine trade and community.
“Participating in SoCoBA is a great way to stay connected with my favorite Sonoma County winemakers and learn more about up-and-coming wineries in the area,” said Wendy L. Heilmann, director of wine and spirits, Pebble Beach. Resorts. “Plus, the auction itself is so much fun! There’s never a dull moment with this auctioneer on stage.
SoCoBA’s top three barrel auction lots were Silver Oak’s “The Big 4” Cabernet Sauvignon at $30,000; Williams Selyem Winery’s ‘2021 Neighborhoods’ Pinot Noir at $27,000; and Pinot Noir “Pacific Cuvée” from Kosta Browne Winery at $18,500. As with every SoCoBA, collaboration between winemakers (and beyond!) was encouraged to create unique wines for the auction. The “Kindred Soil” batch of Pinot Noir from the pioneer Russian River Valley families of Bacigalupi Vineyards and Rochioli Vineyards and Winery sold for $10,500. “Isis Cuvée” Chardonnay from Donald Patz of Maritana Vineyards and Isis Daniel, a sommelier and wine consultant known as “The Millennial Somm” on Instagram and TikTok, landed a winning bid of $10,000.
“It was an honor to work with OG winemaker, Donald Patz,” said Isis Daniel. “We decided to collaborate on this batch last year because of our love and passion for wine. This Chardonnay cuvée is not just a blend of three premium vineyards, but a blend of our taste preferences. I’m so proud of us!
“Everyone who attended SoCoBA was very excited to see the auction once again being held in person,” said Michael Haney, executive director of Sonoma County Vintners. “Our commercial buyers and participating winemakers brought incredible energy to the day.”
A group of wine professionals from Norway, Sweden and Finland for the SCV International Summit in Sonoma attended SoCoBA events as part of their weekly schedule. The Nordic group enthusiastically participated in the auction, placing winning bids on eight lots for resale in their home country.
Francesco Marzola, a renowned sommelier from Norway, described his group’s visit to Sonoma County wine country in one word: inspiring. “The diversity of places, climates, grape varieties and styles is much wider than expected and really deserves a deep dive! I attended the auction originally out of curiosity, but after tasting the lots on Thursday, I realized that…the presence of these wines will increase in my country in the future, so by securing these unique wines now I will be positioned as a [import] leader.”
Ahead of the bidding buzz, Sonoma County Vintners honored Sonoma County wine industry icons and innovators and presented the organization’s first Lifetime Achievement Award. Audrey Sterling, co-founder of Iron Horse Vineyards and pioneer of the Green Valley appellation was recognized as an icon at the event, just one day after celebrating her 91st birthday. Randy Ullom, Winemaster & Senior Vice President at Kendall-Jackson, has been recognized as an icon for pioneering the California Chardonnay movement. The Benziger Family of Benziger Family Winery has been named an Innovator for their more than 30 years of using certified biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods. Ames Morison, co-founder of Medlock Ames, was also named an innovator for being a strong supporter and educator of organic agriculture and the preservation of the earth.
In a moving speech, David Ramey of Ramey Wine Cellers paid tribute to wine legend Zelma Long, who sat at his table, and accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sonoma County Vintners and a proclamation from Congress recognizing his accomplishments from members of the Congressmen Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman. The awards celebrated Ramey’s contributions to creating new winemaking techniques and elevating Sonoma County wines to the world stage.
“I practically created my position as Zelma’s assistant winemaker at Simi. And so, she gave me my start in the business, for which I am eternally grateful,” Ramey said.
The auction events kicked off with a lot tasting event on May 5 at Bacchus Landing. Commercial buyers spoke to winemakers, sampled lots from the barrel auction and took notes on their favorites ahead of the live auction the following day.
“We own a wine distribution company in Kentucky that focuses on family wineries,” said Robert R. Damron of Main Street Spirits LLC. “We believe in developing a relationship with our wineries first before we include them in our wine book. Prior to participating in SoCoBA, we had very few customers at Sonoma County wineries. led me to add several Sonoma County wineries to our book over the past five years.I believe that in order to effectively market the type of wines we represent, we must first enjoy working with producers and telling their stories. story to our customers.
The 2022 Sonoma County Barrel Auction was made possible with the support of Presenting Sponsor American AgCredit and Presenting Sponsor Vintec. The venue hosts were MacMurray Estate Vineyards, Bacchus Landing and Silver Oak. The main sponsors were Tonnellerie CADUS and AnA Selection, G3 Enterprises, DIAM Closures and TricorBraun WinePak. Supporting sponsors included: Sonoma Millworks, Silicon Valley Bank, Sonoma County Tourism, J Vineyards & Winery, The Posh Privy and Recology.
Save the date for next year’s SoCoBA scheduled for May 4-5, 2023!
About Sonoma County Winemakers
Sonoma County Vintners is Sonoma County’s leading wine voice, dedicated to raising awareness of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier wine regions. Sonoma County Vintners represents more than 200 wineries throughout the county. The organization actively promotes Sonoma County through educational programs; advocates for its members at the local, state, and federal levels; and contributes to local communities through our Sonoma County Vintners Foundation. Sonoma County Wine Auction, its annual fundraiser, benefits nonprofits throughout the region. To learn more about Sonoma County Vintners, visit SonomaWine.com.
About American AgCredit
Founded in 1916, American AgCredit is part of the National Farm Credit System and is the fourth largest farm credit association in the nation. American AgCredit specializes in providing financial services to agricultural and rural customers in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico, Nevada, and Oklahoma, as well as capital markets customers in all the countries. Financial services provided by American AgCredit include production and mortgage financing, equipment and vehicle leasing, crop and life insurance, lines of credit, and the Young, Beginner and Small Farmer Program. In addition, the Association offers interest-free loans for qualifying 4-H and FFA AgYouth programs, as well as college scholarships for youth interested in agriculture. Learn more at www.AgLoan.com.
About MacMurray Estate Vineyards
With vineyards in California’s most sought-after pinot noir regions, MacMurray Estate Vineyards is synonymous with one of the world’s most famous grape varieties. We grow our grapes where Pinot Noir thrives – in the Russian River Valley and the Central Coast. By carefully nurturing each parcel of vines and making wise choices in the cellar, we create wines that reflect the unique terroir of each estate vineyard while showcasing the elegant flavors of the delicate Pinot Noir grape. Our namesake in the Russian River Valley, the 1,500-acre MacMurray Ranch has a rich farming history dating back to the early 1850s. In 1941, actor Fred MacMurray purchased the ranch as an idyllic family retreat and cattle ranch. In 1996, MacMurray Ranch was transformed to include a world-class winery with 450 acres of pinot noir and pinot gris vines, ushering in a new era for the legendary Sonoma County property. Learn more at MacMurrayEstateVineyards.com.
About Bacchus Landing
Founded by siblings Monica and Francisco Lopez, along with their parents Al and Dina, Bacchus Landing is an organized collective of wineries representing a wide range of varietals and winemaking styles. It is located in the heart of Healdsburg, at the crossroads of three of Sonoma County’s major wine regions. Designed to reflect the Lopez family’s deep passion for welcoming family and friends, Bacchus Landing invites guests to spend the day, providing a relaxing escape from everyday life. The three-acre property features five spacious outdoor tasting rooms, an artisan food market serving local wine-friendly bites, a more laid-back green space with picnic tables and bocce courts, a central plaza with cafe tables, a full commercial kitchen, and a variety of spaces for corporate meetings and events. For more information, please visit BacchusLanding.com.
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