Sonoma County Barrel Auction Holds First In-Person Event Since 2019
SoCoBA Live Auction Return Celebrated by Over 350 Trade Members, Vintners and Media
SANTA ROSA, CA (May 11, 2022) – Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) is pleased to announce this year’s results from the 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 Sonoma County’s wine region raised over $445,000 for SCV’s marketing programs and initiatives that support the wine trade and community.
“Attending SoCoBA is a great way to stay connected with my favorite Sonoma County vintners as well as to learn about up-and-coming wineries in the area,” said Wendy L. Heilmann, Director of Wine & Spirits, Pebble Beach Resorts. “Plus, the auction itself is SO much fun! There isn’t a dull moment with that auctioneer on the stage.”
The top three SoCoBA barrel auction lots were “The Big 4” Cabernet Sauvignon from Silver Oak coming in at $30,000; “2021 Neighborhoods” Pinot Noir from Williams Selyem Winery at $27,000; and “Pacific Cuvée” Pinot Noir from Kosta Browne Winery at $18,500. As with every SoCoBA, collaboration between vintners (and beyond!) was encouraged to create unique wines for the auction. The “Kindred Soil” Pinot Noir lot from the pioneering Russian River Valley families of Bacigalupi Vineyards and Rochioli Vineyards and Winery sold for $10,500. The “Isis Cuvée” Chardonnay from Donald Patz of Maritana Vineyards and Isis Daniel, a sommelier and wine consultant known as “The Millenial Somm” on Instagram and TikTok, garnered a $10,000 winning bid.
“It was an honor to work with the OG winemaker, Donald Patz,” said Isis Daniel. “We decided to collaborate on this lot last year because of our love and passion for wine. This Chardonnay cuvée is not only a blend of three premium vineyard sites, but a blend of our palate preferences. I’m so proud of us!”
“Everyone who attended SoCoBA was very excited to see the auction being held in person again,” said Sonoma County Vintners Executive Director Michael Haney. “Our trade buyers and participating vintners brought an amazing energy to the day.”
A group of wine trade visiting from Norway, Sweden and Finland for SCV’s international Sonoma Summit attended the SoCoBA events as part of their week’s program. The Nordic group enthusiastically participated during the auction, placing winning bids on eight lots for resale back in their home country.
Francesco Marzola, an acclaimed sommelier from Norway, described his group’s visit to Sonoma County Wine Country in one word – inspiring. “The diversity of places, climates, grapes 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 those wines will increase in the future in my country, so that by securing those unique wines now, I’ll be positioned as an [import] leader.”
Before the buzz of the bidding, Sonoma County Vintners honored Sonoma County Icons and Innovators from the wine industry and bestowed 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 during the event, just one day after celebrating her 91st birthday. Randy Ullom, Winemaster & Senior Vice President at Kendall-Jackson, was recognized as an Icon for being a pioneer in the California Chardonnay movement. The Benziger Family of Benziger Family Winery was named as an Innovator for their 30-plus years of using certified Biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods. Ames Morison, Co-founder of Medlock Ames, was also named as an Innovator for being a vocal supporter and educator of organic farming and preservation of the land.
In a moving speech, David Ramey of Ramey Wine Cellers recognized winemaking legend Zelma Long, who was seated at his table, and accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sonoma County Vintners and a congressional proclamation recognizing his achievements from Congressmen Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman. The awards celebrated Ramey’s contributions to creating new winemaking techniques and elevating Sonoma County wines on the world stage.
“I all but created my position as assistant winemaker to Zelma at Simi. And so, she gave me my start in the business, for which I am forever grateful,” said Ramey.
The auction events kicked off with a lot tasting preview event on May 5 at Bacchus Landing. Trade buyers spoke with the vintners, tasted the barrel auction lots, and made notes about their favorites before the live auction the next day.
“We own a wine distributorship in Kentucky that focuses on family owned and operated wineries,” said Robert R. Damron of Main Street Spirits LLC. “We believe in first developing a relationship with our wineries before we bring them into our book of wines. Prior to participating in SoCoBA, we had very few Sonoma County winery clients. The experience has led me to add several Sonoma County wineries to our book over the past five years. I believe to effectively market the type of wines we represent, we have to first enjoy working with the producers and telling their story to our clients.”
The 2022 Sonoma County Barrel Auction was made possible with support from Presenting Sponsor American AgCredit and Premiere Sponsor Vintec. Venue hosts were MacMurray Estate Vineyards, Bacchus Landing, and Silver Oak. Major sponsors included 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 planned for May 4-5, 2023!
Please see our online library for downloadable images for photos of SoCoBA. Photo credit: Bob McClenahan.
About Sonoma County Vintners
Sonoma County Vintners is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to raising awareness of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier wine regions. Sonoma County Vintners represents over 200 wineries throughout the county. The organization actively promotes Sonoma County through educational programming; advocates for its members at local, state and federal levels; and contributes to the local communities through our Sonoma County Vintners Foundation. Sonoma County Wine Auction, its annual fundraiser, benefits non-profit organizations 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 nationwide Farm Credit System and is the nation’s fourth-largest Farm Credit Association. American AgCredit specializes in providing financial services to agricultural and rural customers throughout California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico, Nevada and Oklahoma – as well as to capital markets customers throughout the country. 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, Beginning and Small Farmer Program. In addition, the Association provides interest-free loans for qualifying 4-H and FFA AgYouth programs, as well as college scholarships to young people 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 celebrated grape varieties. We grow our grapes where Pinot Noir thrives — in the Russian River Valley and the Central Coast. By carefully tending to each vineyard block and making discerning 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 that stretches back to the early 1850s. In 1941, actor Fred MacMurray bought the ranch as an idyllic family retreat and cattle ranch. In 1996, MacMurray Ranch was transformed to include a world-class vineyard 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 a curated collective of wineries representing a diverse spectrum of grape varieties and winemaking styles. It is located in the heart of Healdsburg at the crossroads of three of Sonoma County’s premier wine regions. Designed to reflect the Lopez family’s deep-seated passion for hosting family and friends, Bacchus Landing welcomes guests to come and stay the day, offering a relaxing escape from everyday life. The three-acre property boasts five spacious, open-air tasting rooms, an artisanal food market serving local wine-friendly bites, a more casual green space with picnic tables and bocce courts, a central piazza with café 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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