Food & Drink | June 13, 2017 5:00 am

Behind the Scenes at Napa’s High-End Wine Auction

GQ was embedded at 37th annual Auction Napa Valley

What Goes on at Napa's Most Baller Wine Auction
Bidders hold paddles high during the Auction Napa Valley at Meadowood Resort in St. Helena, California, U.S., on Saturday, June 1, 2013. (Erin Lubin/Bloomberg via Getty)

RealClearLife has covered the high-end wine auction market in the past—and even toasted the occasional expert.

It’s a burgeoning field: Emirates Airlines even has its own sommelier—with a $500 million budget—so you know that there’s a lot of money exchanging hands in the market.

One of the biggest events not thrown by a Bonhams, Christie’s, or Sotheby’s, takes place annually in California’s premiere wine destination—Auction Napa Valley—and GQ embedded a reporter at the event.

Here are some of the takeaways from their visit:

-The fundraiser attracts about 2,000 people per year, and this year took place at the Meadowood Resort in St. Helena; it’s raised $175 million since its inception in 1981.

Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola and his wife served as honorary chairs.

-Coppola told GQ that the best bottle of wine he’d ever had was a bottle of Romanée-Conti he drank in Reno while “writing a script for Bill Cosby

-Auction lots included a set visit to Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle, courtesy of Roman Coppola; a one-of-a-kind bag produced by Louis Vuitton and Cannes best director winner Sofia Coppola; a private dinner with three-Michelin-starred chef Christopher Kostow. (The first two sold for $100,000 each.)

-Sofia Coppola described drinking champagne on ice—a favorite of Bill Murray’s, by the way—as “not so chic,” even though she loves to indulge (in France, it’s called a piscine). But she’s high on rosé, something she drank while in Cannes.