Auction Napa Valley comes to Jarvis
by PAUL FRANSON (Napa Valley Life Magazine article)
This year for the first time, the Auction Napa Valley Barrel Tasting and eAuction, as well as its Taste of Napa Valley, will be held on Friday in southern Napa Valley at Jarvis Estate. Aside from recognizing that the southern part of the valley also has many vineyards and wineries, the event recognizes Jarvis' commitment to the environment. In addition to telling the world about the great wines of the Napa Valley, the Napa Valley Vintners have been spreading the word about how serious its members are about green business practices. Jarvis offers several examples of this trend.
To start with, William and Leticia Jarvis (center in above photo) constructed their winery entirely underground, which dramatically reduces its environmental footprint, including the need for heating and cooling its tanks and barrels.
Jarvis also entirely solar powered, has an electric car-charging station in its parking meadow and has received Napa Green certification. Its vineyards occupy only 37 of its 1,300 acres, with the rest left in their natural state.
On June 1, two thousand people will converge on Jarvis Estate for the curtain-raiser for the Auction weekend's festivities, showcasing the great wine and food that characterize Napa Valley.
Under massive, billowy canopies in the meadow leading up to the cave, some of the region's most renowned chefs will offer tastes of their signature creations, while vintners pour complementary wines, typically lighter whites and rosÚs for the usual warm weather and for a change from the intense Napa Valley Cabernets and other wines waiting inside the cave. It's a unique chance to see the winery's amazing underground chambers, which are never used for events other than by Jarvis itself.
Jarvis' Barrel Chai (shown in the photo at top), the largest man-made underground winery chamber in the world, will be turned into a giant marketplace featuring barrels of the top wines from Jarvis and ninety-nine other Napa wineries.
Guests can taste the still-aging wine from barrel and then place bids on their favorites. The bidding is often furious as participants vie for a chance to purchase some of Napa's best bottles, wines that won't be released for several years. The ten highest bidders for each lot will receive a case of that wine once it's bottled.
In addition to the giant underground rooms that will be used for the barrels, visitors will also get a chance to tour the unique underground winery. It is shaped like a giant wheel, with part of the perimeter used for barrel storage, and part for crushing, pressing and fermentation. Two diagonal spokes bisect the circle, and an unusual underground stream with a small waterfall (shown in the photo above) follow one spoke.
One large chamber also contains a collection of cut giant amethyst geodes; another, the size of two basketball courts, lies beyond.
Those who purchase full four-day passes for Auction Napa Valley for $2,500 or three-day passes for $1,000 can attend the festivities. If any opening are left, some tickets for the Barrel Auction and eAuction with the food festival may be available for $350. Volunteers get to attend as well as work there, too. And of course, the Auction moves back up valley to Meadowood for the big event on Saturday.