Opening Bids: Betting on a Welch

A special barrel of Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon stunned the wine world when it sold for $260,000...

At last year’s Premiere Napa Valley auction, a special barrel of Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon stunned the wine world when it sold for $260,000—or $4,333 a bottle, believed to be the most expensive current release ever in the United States. Now Scarecrow is offering up another juicy lot at Auction Napa Valley: its first 10-bottle vertical collection, with one of each vintage from 2003 to 2012, all produced by winemaker Celia Welch.  

With two acres of circa-1945 “old men vines” at the heart of the blend, Scarecrow has been among the most collectible Napa Cabernets since its first release in 2003, with a following eager to buy wine  from the vineyard that had supplied fruit for Opus One and Phelps Insignia. Each bottle in the Scarecrow vertical is packaged in a custom leather bag. But otherwise, there is “no fancy box, no tour, no picnic,” says Scarecrow’s general manager Lisa Pavageau, referring to Auction Napa Valley’s many lifestyle lots. “It’s all about the wine.” Indeed, this exceptional lot will even skip the paddle-waving madness of the event itself, and will be auctioned online.  

Estimate: $6,000 to $10,000 (market value; sale price will likely be higher). Sale: Auction Napa Valley E-Auction, May 30 to June 6; auctionnapavalley.org

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