The SOMM Journal

February / March 2016

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6 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016 first press by Deborah Parker Wong / photos by John Curley PREPARATIONS FOR SONOMA COUNTY'S SECOND ANNUAL BARREL AUCTION are well underway. Slated as a live auction of curated wine futures from the county's top growers and winemakers, proceeds from the auction which takes place on April 29 at the Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa support the marketing efforts of the Sonoma County Vintners. With a greater number of lots being offered and more than half of last year's bidders already signed on, Carolyn Stark, director of the Sonoma County Vintners, is optimistic, "There has been early interest in the auction this year and we believe they will be wowed again by the quality and diversity of our Sonoma County wines." Stark intends to improve on the format by combining smaller AVA preview events to better accommodate produc - ers and buyers. "Maintaining value for the trade is important," said Barbara Cox, director of marketing and communications for the Sonoma County Vintners. "They can then offer these world-class wines to their clients and collectors." After last year's hugely-successful inaugural event in which 71 lots were auctioned to raise $461,700, the wheels have been set in motion as an elite jury of masters assembled to evaluate potential lots in a search for quality. The two lots that tied for the highest bid of $24,000 in 2015 were both Pinot Noir blends: a Russian River Valley Swan Selection named "The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost" from the trio of Joseph Swan Vineyards, Kosta Browne Winery, and Williams Selyem Winery, and Williams Selyem Reverence, a blend of seven different heritage clones from 10 of the most prestigious vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Glen Knight of The Wine House in Los Angeles and Drew Goodgame of Porthos Wine Ventures in Sausalito won the lots respectively. Bagged and numbered bottles of some exemplary lots from the first day of tasting found their way to the table. Dinner was hosted at the Crown House, the private residence of Rodney Strong vintner Tom Klein. As a Master of Wine and a Master Sommelier. panelist Doug Frost has the distinction of hold- ing the two most-coveted titles in the wine industry.

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