Barrels of Fun: Bidders Go Bonkers at Sonoma Auction


People paid a lot of money for a lot of wine-in-barrel this past Friday at the inaugural Sonoma County Barrel Auction at the Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa (Calif.).
While the event was lively and enjoyable, it proved to be as frenetic as it was stressful, wrote The Press Democrat’s Bill Swindell, who used bidder Limeng Stroh as an example of the type of pressure felt by bidders pining for premium wine futures. 
“For Limeng Stroh, it was anything but a relaxing Friday afternoon spent sampling some of the country’s finest wines while nibbling on pork loin and organic fingerling potatoes,” Swindell wrote. “It was more like a combination of being in the pit at the Chicago Board of Trade and having the nimble finger skills of a champion video gamer.” 
Stroh was the main subject of the story’s feature photo. 
Her right hand is raised in the air. Her fingers grip a bidding paddle emblazoned with the number “300.” Her head is tilted slightly downward while her eyes are locked on the auctioneer, dead-set on winning the lot.
She spent $24,000 on one lot of barrels, the story said.
Stroh, Swindell said, is the CEO at Full Circle Wine Solutions. She was at the auction on behalf of Los Angeles heavyweight Glen Knight, who bought futures of wine in addition to barrels. 
“He gave me his (maximums),” Stroh told Swindell. “We were texting back and forth what the atmosphere was like and who was bidding. It’s very competitive between them.”
Knight’s bid of $24,000 for a lot of 2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir was tied for the highest at the auction. 
“It’s a precious lot,” Stroh told Swindell. “It’s premium and amazing wineries, at that. It’s just curiosity on how it would turn out.”
Businessman Drew Goodgame was the bidder who tied Knight’s tally of $24,000. Goodgame plunked his money down on more 2014 Pinot from the Russian River Valley. William Selyem Winery was involved in making both lots, the story said. 
“It was a rare opportunity to be able to get that kind of quantity, that kind of quality, and to be able to offer that to some of our best clients,” Goodgame said. 
The intense auction climate required focus, he said. 
“I think your biggest challenge is not to let your passion get in the way of the ledger,” he told Swindell. “We are hopeful we will make a profit on it.”
Proceeds from the auction, the story said, “will go to the Sonoma County Vintners trade group.”

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