February 26, 2007
Rare Wines Roseville Bound

MAJ MARCUS GRAZIANO.JPGSacramento Bee photograph/Michael A. Jones

Napa Valley vintners sold $2.16 million of wine Saturday, and a big chunk of it is going to end up in Roseville.

Marcus Graziano, owner of the wine shop Capitol Cellars Diamond Creek in Roseville, was the second highest bidder at the 11th annual Premiere Napa Valley, where barrels of wines not to be available elsewhere went on the auction block.

Graziano spent a total $250,000 for 15 of the 192 lots sold. Overall, he ended up with 90 cases. He'll have to sell them for an average $231.50 per bottle just to break even. He isn't worried. A year ago he spent $174,000 for 11 lots totaling 55 cases, an average of nearly $264 per bottle, and he's still in business. As of Monday morning, he already had received calls from collectors in Michigan and New Jersey who had heard of his acquisition of labels they cherish. Graziano won't take possession of the wines until this fall.

His purchases included $38,000 for 10 cases of a 2005 cabernet sauvignon by Cliff Lede Vineyards in the Stag's Leap district of the Napa Valley, $28,000 for 10 cases of a 2005 cabernet sauvignon crafted by celebrated viticulturist David Abreu and celebrated winemaker Heidi Barrett for Jones Family Vineyards of Calistoga, and $23,000 for 10 cases of an unusual blend of cabernet sauvignon (80 percent) and zinfandel (20 percent) by Brown Estate in the eastern hills of the Napa Valley.

Over the past 22 years, Graziano has cultivated a community of collectors eager to get their hands on one-of-a-kind wines, and Premiere Napa Valley is one of his principal sources.

Graziano says he also participates aggressively at the auction to help raise the profile of the Sacramento region as a hotbed of wine appreciation. "The Sacramento area has been thought of as a stepchild in the industry, but a renaissance is happening here. The area is growing, and a lot of people are really into wine," Graziano says.

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