Naples Winter Wine Festival Proves Big Giving Is Back
Big giving is back at one of the year's grandest wine events. The Naples Winter Wine Festival in Naples, Florida was held over the weekend. It raised $12 million for Collier County's underprivileged and at-risk children during the live auction of 70 one-of-a-kind auction lots. The total was healthily above last year's $8.1 million and over double the $5.1 million raised in economically gloomy 2009. The total nearly grazed the $12.2 million record set in 2006. The festival has brought in over $94.5 million since it began in 2001.
Approximately 580 festival guests were seated under a giant tent set on the grand lawn of The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples bidding on lots that ranged from $30,000 to $1 million. The million-dollar lot was an 8-foot-tall bronze sculpture, Reina Mariana, by artist Manolo Valdés. The 2,000-pound sculpture had traveled to the festival grounds from New York City's Columbus Circle, where it had been on display. The top wine lot, modestly called Perfection, was a total of 100 bottles of 100-point wine in a custom cabinet. It equaled the highest bid of a wine-only lot in the festival's history at $400,000. A 39-bottle collection of Sine Qua Non, many in large format and including 100-point wines, captured a winning bid of $160,000; a 25-year complete vertical of Shafer's Hillside Select and 24 bottles of the vintner's Silver Anniversary Sensation, when released in 2013, resulted in a high bid of $150,000; and four magnums of Colgin Cellars IX Estate Napa Valley Red Wine went for $130,000.
This festival always features beautiful cars. This year a 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia sports coupe went for $950,000. A fully restored 1956 Corvette, which came with a Napa Valley driving trip, was auctioned for $300,000. A trip to the 2012 Olympics in London went for $400,000. Three lots commanded bids of $240,000 each, including one that featured a private magic lesson by David Blaine, lunch with TV's Regis Philbin, and dinner with TV's Judge Judy at her home, and another that included a Los Angeles adventure for two couples with tickets to the Emmy Awards, two walk-on roles on Showtime's Californication, and dinner at Bouchon with a private tour guided by Chef Thomas Keller.
People were in a giving mood, Lunch Boxes of Love, a fund-a-need lot for on-the-spot donations, raised $656,520 to help end hunger for children in Collier County.
The 2012 festival will be held Jan. 27-29. For more information about the Naples Winter Wine Festival, visit www.napleswinefestival.com.