Tuesday, June 28, 2011

NASCAR's Kurt Busch Takes Martin Estate into the Winner's Circle

When Kurt Busch invited the Martin Estate team to join him in the pit during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on Sunday, it not only included true front row exposure to the NASCAR action, but also the sweet taste of victory inside the Winner’s Circle, where Busch and his girlfriend Patricia Driscoll raised a Jeroboam of Martin Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon to celebrate his first place triumph.

Petra, Greta and Greg Martin greeted Busch with a three liter bottle of Martin Estate Reserve at Sonoma’s Infineon Raceway as a thank you for the amazing day ahead of them, and for sending a helicopter to pick them up. It was an action packed and thrilling day on the race course, as Busch walked Greg Martin through the pre-race check list and confided his plan of only making two pit stops in the 219 mile race. Later, during the race, the Martins watched the crew in awe as they changed the tires and refueled the car in less than 30 seconds. “We just knew that Kurt was going to win this year”, Petra Martin said, “ but we did not want to say anything in order not to jinx it. But when he took the lead in the beginning of the race, we had no doubt and kept our eyes glued to the leader board. We believe in excellence, and Kurt is a master of the race course.”

It's been a thrilling summer for Martin Estate off the race track, too. The Martin Estate team toasted a decade of growing and making wine on June 18, with a poolside release party. Petra and Greg pulled out all the stops for Martin Estate's 10th anniversary celebration. Renowned New York designer Erin Fetherston and bespoke Italian leather shoe designer Michael Toschi joined the Martins for the occasion, along with a host of the winery's friends and family and one of San Francisco's favorite food trucks, RoliRoti. The porchetta was mouthwatering, especially with a glass of 2009 Martin Estate Rose of Cabernet.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Au Natural: Going Wild at Martin Estate Vineyard

At first glance, Martin Estate's eight acre Puerta Dorada Vineyard appears to be lacking good house keeping this summer. The truth is, while we’ve taken our weed eaters to the perimeter of our 12-acre property, the vineyard itself still has a wild and unruly cover crop of what only looks like weeds growing vigorously between every other row. What appears to be neglect, however, is our natural approach to managing the unseasonably late rainfall this year. These grasses and grains are working hard to wick excess moisture out of the ground.

“This semi-permanent cover crop also creates competition with the vines, which reduces the vigor, keeping our quantity down but our quality high,” Martin Estate Winemaker Frederic Delivert says.

“Once we feel the soil has dried out to just the perfect point,” Martin Estate Proprietor Petra Martin says, “our Carraro tractor will finally make its way through the rows to make everything look tickety-boo.”

In the meantime, we welcome the weeds as a working cog in the Martin Estate Vineyard Management Team.

Monday, June 6, 2011

History-Making $100 Million Milestone Surpassed as Napa Vintners Bring in $7.3 Million at Charity Event

For the first time in its 31 year history, rain--and lots of it--fell on the main event of Napa Valley's renowned charity wine auction held on the lawn of Meadowood Napa Valley in St Helena, Saturday, June 4. While Mother Nature opened up the skies and let it pour, the bidders rallied together opening their wallets and pouring $7.3 million into auction revenue that will provide for the region's charities.

Perennial bidders John and Sandra Thompson of Woodside, CA were caught up in the excitement of the rainy Auction Napa Valley. Mr. Thompson said, "What was most interesting about this year's Auction was that, in light of the weather, people turned out and really, really opened up and had a good time. The weather didn't seem to deter the bidding at all."

Mrs. Thompson: "Actually I think it brought people together and they had fun with it."

Mr. Thompson: "So it was an amazing experience--absolutely amazing."

The fairway at Meadowood, which has served as the Live Auction's venue since its inception in 1981, has seen typically beautiful weather with daytime highs in the low 80s most often--and even a few notable warmer years--but never rain and temperatures in the mid-50s in June, which is typically one of the three driest months of the entire year in Napa Valley.

The member vintners offered up forty lots at the Live Auction on Saturday for bidding that followed the ultimate Napa Valley picnic prepared by Napa Valley star chef Cindy Pawlcyn with inspiration from her three iconic restaurants: Go Fish, Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen and Mustards Grill. Originally planning to offer open-air seating, the event organizers quickly rallied to find additional tents to create complete coverage from arrival to the main tent. So while heads were dry, the lawn turned in spots to mud and the well-planned auction fashion included rubber boots of every style and color. All of the planned 800 attendees joined the festivities.

The Live Auction opened with a flair as professional dancers took to the stage to entice bidders to raise their paddles on a collection of wine in magnum from dozens of Napa Valley producers that were packaged with professional ballroom dance lessons and a trip to the next season's finale of "Dancing with the Stars" in Hollywood. The lot sold for $70,000 to a bidder from Menlo Park, CA.

Hands-down the most heartfelt lot of the day was the one with no prize to be won other than the goodwill of helping provide for programs for children's health and wellness: the Fund a Need Lot 24. Carrying balloons and cupcakes for a high stakes bake sale were 25 children who have benefitted from the wellness funding. Taking the stage with the youngsters was the Rombauer Family, 2011 Auction Napa Valley honorary chairs, led by patriarch Koerner Rombauer. A total of 132 bidders brought in a total of $1.1 million including five $100,000 bids.

Read the full press release
View Auction Napa Valley photos

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Live Auction Napa Valley Coverage

Happy Auction Week!

As Auction Napa Valley kicks into high gear, check out our website for videos, photos and tweets that capture the weekend's festivities.