BY: Johanna Cyran
Thanks to four days full of wine and community-centric programming for Collective Napa Valley, a philanthropic program for social services in Napa, oenophiles and vintners came together last weekend to celebrate fellowship, to support local youth mental health initiatives, and to taste an abundance of California wines.
“The intention of Collective Napa Valley is to be more accessible, more grounded, and more in touch with everyone who enjoys wine and has a connection to Napa Valley,” says Linda Reiff, Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) President and CEO.
The Weekend in Napa
Attendees dove into the “Together Again Weekend” and explored unique experiences designed to foster connections. Patrons met vintners and gathered to benefit SHINE Napa Valley, a collaborative organization dedicated to increasing access and awareness of mental health services for youth.
The live barrel auction kicked off the first day of events at Louis M. Martini Winery, where barrel sampling was customary, was mingling in the gardens, enjoying live music, tasting bites from local chefs and bidding on barrels of wine.
The barrel auction was the flagship event for the weekend. Up for grabs were some of the most sought-after Napa Valley wines– before they’re bottled, that is. Avid collectors vie for the best lots, hoping to score a highly coveted piece of Napa Valley history. These wines are often one-off blends specifically created for the purpose of the auction.
Sotheby’s guides the process.
“The Collective Napa Valley Barrel Auction provides bidders with the opportunity to acquire Napa Valley’s finest wines currently aging in the barrel. Each winery donates a half-barrel of yet-to-be-released wine for a total of 10 cases of each wine available at the auction. Ten individual bidders will take home a 12-bottle case of each of these Napa Valley wines.”
Photo by Steven Chester, 2023, via Napa Valley Vintners.
Bids are placed by in-person attendees and followers worldwide, enabling guests to partake in a competitive leaderboard-style bidding process. Wine lovers who may not be ready to drop six figures can feel the excitement instead.
“Not everyone can give at grand levels, but everyone can participate and feel part of a bigger community. That’s what we’re aiming to achieve, and it felt like that vision was realized this past weekend, says Reiff.
Photo by Bob McClenahan, 2023, via Napa Vintners.
In addition to the lively barrel auction and the support of the patrons, partner organizations ensured representation for BIPOC winemakers. The weekend’s events showcased many of their products and stories.
The three wineries below partnered with Collective Napa Valley and the Together Again Weekend to promote Napa’s BIPOC vintners.
Malek Amrani, The Vice Wines
“As a vintner, what amazes me the most about Collective Napa Valley is the camaraderie and collaboration of Napa Valley Vintners to host such an amazing event with the purpose of giving back to the future generations of the Napa Valley community.“
– Malek Amrani, founder and winemaker, The Vice Wine
Moroccan-born Malek Amrani, founder and winemaker at The Vice Wine, is dedicated to providing quality, small-batch wines at various approachable price points.
The Vice Wine donated ten cases of their single-barrel batch #3 “Celine,” a Cabernet Sauvignon from a single vineyard in Coombsville. The 2021 vintage, named after their daughter Celine, is a private reserve offering. Celine Napa Valley is an invite-only collection with a limited production of approximately 300 bottles, sourced from the prestigious Napa Valley and made of single-varietal wines.
Unique ways to try The Vice Wine:
- Sip on Sparkling rosé cans, low in sugar & sulfites, portable for the following summer picnic or pool day
- Enjoy a 91-point award-winning 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, “American Paradox.”
- Support the USA Triathlon Foundation, an organization close to Malek’s heart, as a prior Team USA Olympic triathlete, all while sipping a Napa Valley Red Blend. Proceeds from this batch of “The Tri” 2019 Red Blend go towards the Foundation, “so the pleasure of enjoying a glass of wine will contribute to someone’s healthy lifestyle, participation in sports, or even Olympic dreams.”
Book a virtual tasting with Malek himself: choose from a bundle of curated tasting packages and discover The Vice with guidance, storytelling, and energy shared by the winemaker.
Lisa Peju, PEJU
Photo by Bob McClenahan, 2023, via Napa Vintners; Pictured L to R, Danny Fay of TOR and Lisa Peju of PEJU.
PEJU likes to push boundaries. Decades ago, PEJU’s founder Tony Peju sold his wines out of his vineyard estate garage in Rutherford, causing a stir. Today, it is still family-owned, eschewing the recent trend of selling to large conglomerates. Tony Peju, Lisa, Herta and Ariana are still faithfully owning, operating and protecting the brand.
Unique ways to try PEJU:
- 93-point award-winning PEJU 2019 Cabernet Franc
- Visit their Rutherford estate for unique wine-tasting options and explore the gardens, sculpture collections, stained glass, and winding footpaths. Walk-ins are welcome at their tasting room, offering counter, seated, and reserve tastings. The family has welcomed guests since 1983, and you’ll often see Herta Peju herself in the gardens working botanical magic.
- Celebrate PEJU’s 40th anniversary by joining their online auction of 2019 HB Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 3L bottles, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Monarch Justice Center, an organization providing support services and resources for victims of domestic abuse. Six female artists created original labels for the auction, adding layer of unique perspective to the wine.
James Moss, J. Moss
Photo by Bob McClenahan, 2023, via Napa Vintners; Pictured L to R, James Moss of J. Moss, Dan Dexter, and Araibal Sanata of AvinoDos Wines.
A native Texan, James Moss, proprietor and winemaker of J. Moss, moved to Napa in 1998 to turn his dream into reality. Moss learned from some of the best in the business. He learned from winemakers like Mark Jessup (Opus One, Robert Mondavi) and Gustavo Bramblia (Chateau Montelena, Grgich Hills.)
His brand includes appellations from Howell Mountain, Coombsville, and Rutherford. This ultimately creates Cabernets designed to provide consumers with a “Napa Valley Fine Boutique Wine” experience in every sip. (Check out our recent article on discovering Black joy in Napa featuring winemakers like James!)
”Our passion is to produce not just good, but great wines that reflect their vintages and single vineyards from top appellations in the Napa Valley.”
Unique ways to try J.Moss:
- Visit James and Janet Moss at the South Napa tasting room in the Crusher Wine District. Enjoy a salon-style tasting session and a tour of the winery’s production facilities. Ask them about their love story!