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 twelve year management career for Christie’s in North America and the Far East, Fritz took a musical sabbatical on the West Coast in the early 1990s, and conducted his first auction for the Napa Valley Vintners in 1992. Out of his musical and wine country experiences with his winemaker friend John Kongsgaard emerged a wine brand with a musically inspired name: Arietta. In 1995 Fritz returned returned to Christie’s as Director of Christie’s U.S. Wine Auction Department, and remained until he returned to California in 1998 to launch Arietta with his wife Caren. He remained with Christie’s as Consultant and Principal Wine Auctioneer, before joining Zachys Wine Auctions in 2002. He continues to conduct all commercial wine auctions for Zachys, as well as numberous charity wine auctions nationwide, in addition to overseeing the production and sales of Arietta.
Fritz and Caren Hatton reside in Saint Helena, California with their two daughters, Libby and Hattie. A native of Michigan, Mr. Hatton is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and a summa cum laude graduate of Yale with a degree in English Literature. He returned to Yale as one of the first students to enroll in the new Yale School of Organization and Management, from which he received an M.B.A. in 1979. Apart from family and wine, his 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.
Helped organize Christie’s first wine auction in the US (1981)
First wine charity auction: Peninsula Center for the Blind, Woodside, CA (1983).
Sonoma County Wineries Showcase, American Heart Association San Francisco, Peninsula Center for the Blind beginning in 1985, auctions for over a hundred other charititable organizations auction thereafter
Auctioneer for Auction Napa Valley 1992-present. 1992: first auction exceeding $1 million: 2000: most expensive bottle ever sold: 6L 1992 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, $500,000. 2013: highest total for any charity wine auction: $16.9 million
Director, Christie’s Wine Department US 1995-8. Organized largest wine auctions conducted to date. Largest lot: $420,000 for 50 cases of Mouton Rothschild 1982
Founded the Napa winery, Arietta, in 1996. Fritz and Caren Hatton become sole owners in 2005. With Andy Erickson serving as winemaker, Arietta grows to 3,000 cases and five wines.