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About Our Auctioneer
Vintner and Wine Auctioneer
Fritz Hatton and his immediate family own Arietta, one of Napa’s top producers of Bordeaux-style blended wines. He is also the nation’s most experienced wine auctioneer, having begun his career in Christie’s Wine Department in 1980. After a 12-year management career with Christie’s in North America and the Far East, Fritz took a musical sabbatical on the West Coast in the early 1990s. He conducted his first auction for the Napa Valley Vintners in 1992, and in 1995, returned to Christie’s as director of Christie’s U.S. Wine Department.
Out of Fritz’s musical and wine country experiences with his winemaker friend, John Kongsgaard, emerged a wine brand with a musically inspired name: Arietta. In 1998, Fritz returned to California to launch Arietta with his wife Caren Hatton.
He remained with Christie’s as consultant and principal wine auctioneer, before joining Zachys Wine Auctions in 2002. Fritz continues to conduct all commercial wine auctions for Zachys, as well as numerous charity wine auctions nationwide, in addition to overseeing the production and sales of Arietta.
Fritz and Caren reside in Napa, California with their two daughters, Libby and Hattie. A native of Michigan, Fritz is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and a summa cum laude graduate of Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. He is one of the first students to enroll in the Yale School of Organization and Management, from which he received an MBA in 1979.
After family and wine, Fritz’s major interest is classical music, and he is just as happy playing the piano as he is encouraging bidders to turn cash into collectible wine.
1981: Helped organize Christie’s first wine auction in the U.S.
1982: Auctioned his largest lot: $420,000 for 50 cases of Mouton Rothschild.
1983: Conducted first wine charity auction, for the Peninsula Center for the Blind in Woodside, CA. Served as auctioneer for more than a hundred other charitable organization auctions thereafter.
1992: Conducted first auction exceeding $1 million in proceeds.
1992-present: Auctioneer for Auction Napa Valley.
1995-1998: Served as director for Christie’s Wine Department and organized their largest wine auctions conducted to date.
1996: Fritz and Caren co-founded the Napa winery, Arietta, becoming sole owners in 2005. With Andy Erickson serving as winemaker, Arietta has grown to 3,500 cases and eight wines.
2000: Auctioned the most expensive bottle ever sold: 6L 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon for $500,000.
2014: Generated the highest total for any charity wine auction, $18.7 million.