Napa… and Beyond!

California: 22 June – 22 July 2010

Ironically, whilst in the middle of considering having our auction in Hong Kong, we happened to come across a convention hosted in Napa on exactly this issue! Set up by a whole host of officials from the US and Hong Kong trade organizations, we, along with many California wineries, were heavily informed on Hong Kong export potential. And so, with eyes glistening while envisioning the success of our auction for the Lao Foundation, we emerged from the talks with strengthened determination for our endeavor!

And with the same magnitude that Hong Kong showed its promise, the California vintners came to fulfill theirs. From the 6 liter donation of St. Supery’s famous Elu wine, to even others that we weren’t able to visit, we were greeted by enthusiasm encouragement all around California (with more Napa wineries to show themselves soon)!

St. Supery: St. Supery has made an amazing donation: A 6 Liter bottle of their Elu 2006, one of the most highly sought after wine at the winery and through the St. Supery mailing list! We had a great tour of the very tourist friendly winery (there are all kinds of events going on, like chocolate-wine pairings!) and saw firsthand why it’s an un-missable stop for Napa visits. Started by the Skalli family of France in the late 70s, St. Supery has been making Napa-worthy Cabernets and Sauvignon Blancs with high acclaims and great response. This amazing donation will sure to do the same in Hong Kong as we move closer and closer to our aspired goal for the auction!

Herb Lane vineyards: In the eastern hills of St. Helena in the Napa Valley, HL Vineyards began cultivating grapes as a hobby in the late 80s, selling the small production to neighboring winemakers. With the success of their friend’s wines coming from their hillside vineyards, and the realized potential coming from the grapes, Herb Lamb Vineyards began its own wine production in the early 90s, with only about 100 cases being produced (now the production of this very boutique winery is not more than 150 cases!) We had a great wine-and-cheese tasting with Jennifer Lamb on her porch which overlooks the vineyards with each of us enthralled by conversation! Two bottles of their iconic Cabernet Sauvignon (2004) will be showcased at the auction!

Wente: Wente Vineyards thanks to Eric Wente has been a long time supporter of our project as both being an official project sponsor from the start and by sponsoring our column in Mutineer Magazine. The donation of a 3 liter bottle of ‘Charles Wetmore’, is a great contribution, signed by all members of the Wente family! Wente Vineyards, having started in 1883, remains the oldest continuously run family winery in the United States! That’s impressive! Producing a great assortment of quality wines, this 5th generation company is holding very true to its legacy, and we owe an especially grateful thanks to Eric Wente for seeing our dream through and helping make this project a reality for the world and especially for the charity auction of next year!

Rudd: Rudd winery is the perfect example of how artisanal-like handcrafted fine wine in the setting of a serene and gorgeous winery can be made – all thanks to the passion of an entrepreneur with a longstanding dream of winemaking. Started by Leslie Rudd in 1996, Rudd winery can hold to its standards of the finest wine production thanks to a financial backing supporting every decision to further quality over all things else. We are very happy thus to share this vision at our Hong Kong auction, with a bottle of 2006 Oakville Estate!

Hollywood and Vine: From the name, you might think a Hollywood star who wanted to make his own wine. And it’s exactly the case, times two! We had a great talk, tour, and tasting with Doug Barr, co-owner of Hollywood and Vine, and spent a very interesting time hearing this story! With friend Bruce Orosz, the Hollywood duo (Doug was an actor now turned screenwriter and Bruce an agent for most all careers in the entertainment industry) called upon gifted Napa Valley winemaker Celia Welch to produce the small-volume high-quality wines! Producing their wines at a well known custom-crush facility in Napa (where Anja is pictured here with Doug), Hollywood and Vine has donated a 2006 bottle of their premium ’2480′ wine, which will go far in Hong Kong to show the boutique class of refinement that Napa can achieve!

Grateful for the Additions: We are very pleased to say that wineries which we were unable to visit ourselves while in California will still be participating in our auction to raise funds for Laos. We are proud to announce now that some of these generous vintners include: Jonata winery of the Santa Ynez Valley, Hall winery of the Napa Valley, and Amuse Bouche, also from Napa!

Amuse Bouche (French for ‘Amusement of the mouth’) was a joint venture between Heidi Barrett (aka the “Wine Diva of Napa” as TIME magazine described her, and a winemaker of some of the best cult wines coming from Napa) and John Schwartz. The winery matches fine wines and fine art and have both available for the appreciator. They have donated a bottle of 1.5 liter Amuse Bouche 2008, bottle # 199 out of 200. This will be a showpiece at the auction and we are very grateful for this!

Unveiled in 2005, Hall winery is an estate of over 500 acres in the Napa Valley’s premium Rutherford region, encompassing the legendary ‘Sacrashe Vineyards’. Creating limited production wines of Bordeaux blends, Hall has donated a 1.5 liter bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 towards our cause, a great addition highlighting the power of serious fine winemaking. And Jonata winery, in the Santa Ynez Valley, with winemaker Matt Dees, has also come on board to share fine wine for the cause, and we are very eager to showcase their donation of a 1.5 liter Red Wine 2006 towards our charity auction! Thank you!


~Anja and Georges

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