We might not be able to travel to Sonoma County at the moment, but that does not mean you can’t access some of the most exclusive wines available in the county. For the first time the annual Sonoma County Barrel Auction is going online this year to allow wine buyers to bid from anywhere in the world for never to be seen again wines from the region’s top producers. The auction takes place between June 16 to June 18 and the chance to bid for “Never Before, Never Again”. Here’s how it’s going to work…
Lots of five, 10 and 20 cases of never to be sold again wines will be up for grabs – online – at the 2020 Sonoma County Barrel Auction. Beckie Gilbert, trade relations manager for the auction, explains how it is going to work.
Can you tell us the background to the Sonoma County Barrel Auction?
The Sonoma County Barrel Auction is now in its sixth year. It was designed to showcase the diversity of Sonoma County and its remarkable wines. Each year the Sonoma County Barrel Auction gives trade buyers the opportunity to visit Sonoma County, discover new collectibles and hidden gems, and purchase these wines for resale to their customers and ultra-premium wine collectors. Through the years our winery members have made incredible connections with trade buyers around the world.
How is it organised and what producers are allowed to submit wines for the auction?
The Sonoma County Barrel Auction is organised by the Sonoma County Vintners who engage with sponsors and partners on the execution of the auction each year. Any winery members that produce wine in Sonoma County are encouraged to submit a one-of-a-kind wine crafted exclusively for the Barrel Auction.
Is there any criteria to what wines can be put up for auction in terms of their quality, age, the amount?
Each winery submits a five, 10 or 20 case auction lot. The wines must be crafted from Sonoma County and have a Sonoma County appellation. Each wine is also crafted each year to be “Never Before, Never Again” and is a unique wine that is not available anywhere else. These wines demonstrate the world-class quality that consumers can expect from Sonoma County.
Who is allowed to bid for the wines?
The Sonoma County Barrel Auction is open to trade buyers (retailers, restaurants, distributors, importers). US trade must provide their resale license number during registration in order to bid. [See details below for how international buyers can register and take part by contacting Beckie directly].
How do people go about bidding for the wines – this is the first time you are doing this online?
The 2020 Sonoma County Barrel Auction will be hosted utilising the Greater Giving platform, an all-in-one secure auction bidding website. Registered trade participants will be provided with a personal bidding link. That link will take them to their own bidding page where they will have access to bid on any of the auction lots in the Sonoma County Barrel Auction. For ease, participants can access their personal bidding page on a computer, tablet or via mobile device.
This is the first time the Sonoma County Barrel Auction will be hosted online however the Sonoma County Vintners has an established relationship with Greater Giving.
How it is it going to work? What is the process?
There is no charge for trade buyers to attend the virtual event and bid during the online auction, a credit card number is required to secure their online “paddle” along with their resale license number. Registered trade buyers are provided with a Master Bidding Excel (searchable by all criteria including lot number, varietal, AVA, lot size, etc.) so they can plan their bidding in advance of the auction. They can use their personal bidding link to access their bidding site and “favourite” lots they plan to bid on before the auction goes live. Participating vintners will have access to view the online auction and watch the action on June 16 – 18, 2020.
How do you know if you have been outbid and need to potentially bid more for the wines?
When participants register, they will submit their email and mobile phone number. If they have been outbid, they will receive a text or email alert. They can also pre-set a maximum bid and let Greater Giving do the bidding for them, with higher bids placed only if there are additional buyers bidding on the same lot.
Any highlights of wines that have been auctioned in recent years?
Last year trade bidders vied for top lots which included Silver Oak’s “First of Its Kind” 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon which sold for $40,000 and Williams Selyem’s “The West Side” 2018 Pinot Noir at $33,000.
Any real highlights from this year’s auction that are expected to raise the most money?
Silver Oak and Williams Selyem have returned with extraordinary auction lots once again for the 2020 auction. They are joined by other top returning producers including Kosta Browne, AldenAlli by Dan Kosta, CHEV (a new brand by Michael Browne), Pride Mountain Vineyards and many more. Visit the Sonoma County Barrel Auction website to learn more about this year’s incredible auction lots: https://barrelauction.sonomawine.com/wines/.
What is the money raised used for?
Proceeds raised from the auction support the marketing initiatives of Sonoma County Vintners.
- If you would like to take part in the auction then contact Beckie Gilbert on firstname.lastname@example.org who can help set you up with an online registration. The registration site does not allow international addresses or phone numbers, so Beckie will provide a personal registration service.