Naples Winter Wine Festival uncorks another smashing success
At the close of bidding, the tally for the 2017 Naples Winter Wine Festival’s live auction hit $15,066,000, bringing the total amount raised since the festival’s inception in 2001 to more than $161 million. Bidding for the online auction remained open for a few more days and at closing Jan. 31 generated an additional $183,396 for children in need. Online bids came from people in 21 states beyond Florida, and one came all the way from London, England. Donations specified for children’s health care, this year’s on-the-spot Fund a Need beneficiary, raised $1.6 million to provide the medical attention all children deserve in the areas of oral health, mental health, primary care and vision.
Festival guests from around the world came together to bid on 62 live auction items ranging from once-ina lifetime wine and culinary experiences to limited-edition cars and exotic travel packages. All auction lots were donated, and all proceeds support the festival’s founding organization, the Naples Children & Education Foundation. Through annual grants awarded to more than 40 nonprofit organizations, NCEF has impacted the lives of more than 200,000 children. Grants made possible by this year’s event will be awarded on March 13.
Additional auction highlights:
¦ Two separate bidders each will enjoy a week-long cruise to either the Bahamas or the Caribbean aboard a 126- foot Feadship yacht formerly belonging to Malcolm Forbes, all for a total of $600,000.
¦ $450,000 was raised for a live performance by country music legend Darius Rucker, plus a private dinner prepared by Silver Oak Chef Dominic Orsini and a custom guitar signed by Mr. Rucker and David Duncan of Silver Oak.
¦ A winning bid of $360,000 was made for the first Audi MY18 R8 Spyder to be physically delivered in the United States, a sleek machine that races to 124.3 mph in just 11.8 seconds.
¦ And in celebration of the National Parks System’s 100th anniversary, a winning bid of $340,000 will bring travelers on a luxury excursion through our nation’s most striking landscapes.
In the online auction, the top bid of $13,000 went to a golf experience at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, with transportation to Jacksonville from Naples via private jet. An $8,000 bid reserved one week in a three-bedroom cottage with private dining at Linville Ridge, a luxury summertime refuge in the North Carolina mountains. And $7,000 bought a rare collection of Aloft and Dark Matter Wines, as yet unavailable to the public, along with a private dinner with the Mondavi family at their Howell Mountain property.
Throughout the festival, guests enjoyed wine from more than 30 of the finest wineries representing three continents, five countries and 12 wine-producing regions.
This year’s Honored Vintner was fourth-generation Bordeaux winemaker Pierre Lurton. Culinary master Wolfgang Puck returned to the festival, this time as Chef de Cuisine, and was joined by 17 additional celebrity chefs with a collective 11 Michelin Stars, 13 James Beard Awards and 10 James Beard Award nominations. ¦