(January 29, 2020; Portland, Ore.)—On April 4, 2020 the Willamette Valley Wineries Association will host the nation’s top wine trade and media for the Fifth Annual Willamette: The Pinot Noir Auction at The Allison Inn in Newberg, Ore. The trade-only Auction will present 87 lots of 2018 Pinot noir, a vintage already being heralded as a modern classic. The Auction will also feature a selection of seven Chardonnay lots, made in collaboration by current and past Auction chairs. Each lot of Pinot noir and Chardonnay is one-of-a-kind, produced in quantities of 5, 10 or 20 cases, and will only become available to consumers through resale by the winning bidders—wine wholesalers, restaurants and retailers.

“We created Willamette: The Pinot Noir Auction as an opportunity to invite the wine trade to experience the very best our region has to offer,” says David Millman, 2020 Auction chair and managing director of Domaine Drouhin Oregon. “Over the past six decades the Willamette Valley has become recognized world-wide for Pinot noir, and the continued interest in and growth of our trade auction surely demonstrates that our little region is special. The 2018 wines featured in this auction capture all of the qualities which have come to define Willamette Valley Pinot noir.”

The 2018 vintage has been likened to a “Goldilocks” year, defined by a comfortably warm growing season and heightened by a “cool” final ripening, enabling grapes to develop complexity while maintaining freshness and achieving textbook balance and ripeness. Wineries throughout the valley have been challenged to create special lots, reflecting the very best of this outstanding vintage.

“Any bottle bearing the official Auction label represents a statement of quality, an ability to age and a promise of being the best the Willamette Valley has to offer,” says Millman.

Now in its fifth year, the Auction continues to attract growing interest from the trade. The 2019 Auction was attended by 450 members of the trade, with registered bidders representing 29 states and 3 countries. Willamette Valley Pinot noir also continues to grow in popularity among consumers. According to Nielsen, sales of Oregon wine at U.S. retail rose 12.4% in 2018 compared to 1.5% for the rest of the industry.

Attendees are invited to arrive on Friday, April 3, for pre-auction festivities including seminars, welcome tastings and winemaker dinners hosted by participating vintners. A lot preview tasting will take place on the morning of Saturday, April 4 at The Allison Inn, followed by the live auction, conducted by veteran wine auctioneer Fritz Hatton.

Attendance is limited to licensed wine sellers, including retailers, restaurateurs and wholesalers. Licensed members of the wine trade who are interested in attending may obtain tickets by visiting willamettewines.auction. Members of the press may complete a Media Credential Request Form at willamettewines.auction/press.

About the Willamette Valley Wineries Association 

The Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA) is a non-profit industry association dedicated to achieving recognition for Oregon’s acclaimed Willamette Valley as a premier Pinot noir-producing region. Currently, the WVWA has nearly 230 members representing wineries and vineyards throughout the Willamette Valley region from Portland to Eugene. To learn more about The Willamette Valley Wineries Association visit: willamettewines.com.

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