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(April 6, 2019; Newberg, Ore.)—The Willamette Valley Wineries Association surpassed all previous records with a milestone achievement today when 92 lots of wine sold for more than $1 million at the fourth annual Willamette: the Pinot Noir Auction at The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, Ore.

“This auction was a clear demonstration of the public’s growing interest in Willamette Valley Pinot noir, and the stunning quality of the 2017 vintage,” said co-chair Eugenia Keegan, Oregon General Manager for Jackson Family Wines.

The average price paid per bottle this year reached $160, representing a 29% increase over the previous year, and a stunning 81.5% increase since the inaugural auction in 2016. This year’s sale had 89 winery participants, an increase from 78 in 2018. Including sponsorship and ticket sales, the total revenue this year hit nearly $1.1 million.

The auction featured 86 one-of-a-kind Pinot noir lots and six collaborative Chardonnay lots from the 2017 vintage, made in quantities of five, 10 or 20 case. All proceeds will fund future marketing and educational initiatives of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association.

Veteran wine auctioneer Fritz Hatton began the sale by challenging bidders to push the auction past the $1 million threshold for the first time. Raised glasses and paddles filled the room, and onlooking vintners cheered for the success of fellow winemakers. The auction reached its goal on the final lot, when a collaborative bid, split between six bidders, reached $60,000 for a five-case offering of Pinot noir from Duck Pond Cellars.

Auction highlights:

  • Lot 92: Five cases of Duck Pond Cellars Pinot noir, “First Blood”: $60,000
  • Lot 89: Five cases of Domaine Serene Pinot noir, “Barrel 23”: $54,000
  • Lot 75: Five cases of Antica Terra Pinot noir, “Alder Creek”: $32,000
  • Lot 25: Five cases of Alexana Winery Pinot noir, “I’ll Have Another”: $30,000
  • Lot 63: Five cases of Bethel Heights Pinot noir, “An End, A Beginning”: $26,000

Now in its fourth year, the 2019 auction attracted a standing-room-only crowd of 450 members of the wine trade and media. The 128 bidders represented 26 states and three countries.

“This year’s effort exceeded our wildest expectations,” says Shirley Brooks, 2019 Auction co-chair and VP of Sales and Marketing for Elk Cove Vineyards. “It is a privilege to host the trade to our region every year, and we look forward to having them back again next year.”

Amidst a toast to the success of this year’s auction, 2019 co-chairs Eugenia Keegan and Shirley Brooks introduced the 2020 auction chair David Millman, managing director of Domaine Drouhin Oregon. The 2020 Willamette: The Pinot Auction will be held April 3 and 4. Licensed wine sellers, including retailers, restaurateurs and wholesalers, can find more information or request a ticket by visiting www.willamettewines.auction.

About Willamette Valley Wineries Association 
The Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA) is a non-profit industry association dedicated to achieving recognition for Oregon’s acclaimed Willamette Valley as a premier Pinot noir–producing region. Currently, the WVWA has nearly 250 members representing wineries and tasting rooms throughout the Willamette Valley region from Portland to Eugene. To learn more about The Willamette Valley Wineries Association visit: willamettewines.com.

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