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Napa Wine Auction 2009: Did It Beat Naples?

Well, that depends on how you measure it. This article in the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the actual auction--the glitzy live one over dinner--only raised $4.3 million, not even half the $10.3 mill of last year. It was also just short of the $5.06 million raised by the Naples (FLA) Winter Wine Festival, Napa's upstart rival in the glamorous, luxury-wine-auction-for-charity business.

However, the official press release from the Napa Valley Vintners Association puts the total at $5.7 million, if you include things like the online E-Auction and the various other events during the 4-day extravaganza. Nevertheless, it's the live auction that really counts, so you have to give the official nod to Naples.

However, Napa can still be proud and even claim somewhat of a moral victory. After all, the last few years they had been getting trounced by Naples by margins of 50%, so this year's photo finish is a win of sorts. Furthermore, Naples has the advantage of featuring the greatest wines of the entire world (a lot this year included five magnums of wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, donated by the estate's co-director, Aubert de Villaine--it went for $150,000) to entice its wealthy bidders, while Napa focuses mostly on wines within its own borders. So hold your head high, Napa! You did good this year.