SOURCE: Naples Winter Wine Festival
January 26, 2008 21:49 ET
Charity Wine Auction Raises $14 Million in Four Hours
NAPLES, FL--(Marketwire - January 26, 2008) - The Naples Winter Wine Festival raised today $14
million under the auction tent for children's charities, making it once
again the most successful charity wine auction in the world. During the
four-hour auction, attended by 635 guests at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort
in Naples, auction attendees bid on 72 one-of-a-kind, luxury lots, with
winning bids ranging from $45,000 to $1 million. All monies raised under
the tent go directly to children's charities.
"Everyone involved in the festival -- sponsors, donors, chefs and vintners,
trustees, volunteers and guests -- helps thousands of children in need
through their contributions," said Don Gunther, 2008 festival chair and
Naples Children & Education Foundation trustee. "The festival is truly a
labor of love, and its success pays tribute to our theme of Inspiring
The million-dollar bid was for an ultimate "star" experience from Staglin
Family Vineyard for four people, which included tickets to the Oscars, a
walk-on role on Desperate Housewives and Back to You, first class treatment
in Hollywood and a movie-star style getaway to Cabo San Lucas. Other high
bids included $450,000 for a 2009 Bentley Brooklands Coupe and $350,000 for
a 2008 Maserati Gran Turismo.
Among wine lots, 75 bottles of Bordeaux wines from the 2000 vintage raised
$220,000. A winning bid of $150,000 captured the auction's first lot, a
collection of 31 magnums of wine -- each personally selected and signed by
the highly acclaimed vintners participating in this year's festival. A
vertical of Harlan Estate wines from 1990 to 2004 also brought in $220,000.
Fantasy trips and experiences also brought in high bids. A pair of
Screaming Eagle motorcycles sold for $240,000, and a trip to the Olympics
sold for $350,000.
Since trustees of the NCEF founded the festival in 2001, it has raised more
than $69 million to improve the lives of underprivileged and at-risk
children in Collier County, Fla.
Festival events began on Friday, with guests experiencing firsthand how
festival proceeds benefit needy children. A grant luncheon and wine tasting
was followed by intimate vintner dinners at trustees' homes prepared by
famous U.S. chefs and internationally acclaimed vintners. Saturday kicked
off with a wine tasting and culinary feast prepared by The Ritz-Carlton
chefs from across Florida. A wine-down party Saturday evening will be
followed by a Sunday celebration brunch prepared by several WCI
Communities' chefs, with chocolates and desserts prepared by Norman Love,
the festival's first featured chocolatier.
A portion of the funds raised at the 2008 festival will be distributed by
NCEF trustees to children's charities in March, with the remainder held in
reserve for longer-term strategic-giving initiatives. For a complete
listing of auction lots and additional information about the 2008 Naples
Winter Wine Festival, visit www.napleswinefestival.com.