Some years ago, a chap wandered into the Stonier cellar door looking for a gift. An extraordinary series of events resulted in him buying an entire Barrique (25-dozen) of Reserve and Single-Vineyard Pinot Noir. He walked away having shelled-out $14,000 for a share of one of the region's better vintages.
I was reminded of this extravagance when reading about Willamette Valley winemakers hosting their first-ever trade auction, The Pinot Noir Barrel Auction. This inaugural event was held in May 2016 and raised a whopping $722,000 for the Willamette Valley Wineries Association. The afternoon saw sales of various lots of wine, from 5-case lots (one of which sold for $10,000) to a single barrel that sold for $19,500. All proceeds went to supporting the marketing and branding efforts of the local vignerons’ association.
The event was driven by a leadership group who spent years ensuring its success. They held back the launch until the right vintage came along so they could open the show with a bang. 2014 was a vintage that would tell the world how good the wines from Willamette Valley are.
Having also had a brief but similarly dynamic viticultural history as Oregon, the Mornington Peninsula wine community sits in a unique moment of time where pioneers and young visionaries are at the same table raising Pinot Noir quality year-to-year. Is it time to launch an industry auction here as well?
With plenty of wine still in barrel, there's lots of excitement around the 2015 vintage. Even guarded winemakers slip a knowing wink about their wines. It’s a vintage that seems to have delivered wherever vines grow. From the volcanic to lighter loam soils, the wines are all singing from the same happy clapping hymn book.
I’d love to see the MPVA establish a dedicated steering committee to work toward a Mornington Peninsula Barrel Auction. With 2015, the quality would be assured. It’d be exciting to see how much money could be raised and the media coverage the region would achieve from such a prestigious and exciting event.