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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
Naples Winter Wine Festival Raises More Than $8.5 Million for Children's Charities
World's Most Successful Charity Wine Auction's Grand Total Reaches $116 Million

NAPLES, FL -- (Marketwire) -- 01/26/13 -- An afternoon of bidding during the live auction at the 13th annual Naples Winter Wine Festival raised more than $8.5 million to benefit Collier County's underprivileged and at-risk children. The grand total raised since the first festival in 2001 has reached $116 million. The money raised is distributed through the festival's founding organization, Naples Children & Education Foundation. Wine Spectator has ranked the festival the most successful charity wine auction in the nation since 2004.

The three-day festival, themed 'When Stars Align,' reached the peak of excitement with the live auction at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, in the Grand Lawn Pavilion, where winning bidders were among 500 guests. Lot totals ranged from $20,000 to $750,000.

The top money-raiser among 65 auction lots captured a bid of $750,000 for the fastest, most powerful Ferrari ever made -- the 2013 F12berlinetta. The lot gives the winner bragging rights as one of the first in the U.S. to own this car, as well as entry to a Ferrari driving-experience program. The 2014 Maserati Quattroporte V8, the fastest, four-door Maserati and one of the first to be delivered in the U.S., brought a winning bid of $340,000 and includes VIP access to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and other Maserati events.

A lot that captured multiple bids in a modified Dutch auction for a private Naples concert by the band Chicago, including an exquisite dinner and fine wines, raised $385,000.

Two experience lots raised $280,000 each: one for a trip to the 2013 Cannes Film Festival to walk the red carpet and spend a week at La Grange, a 17th century farmhouse on a private estate in Provence, and a second was a South Africa experience for two couples for 13 nights, with a $100,000 Graff jewelry credit.

On-the-spot donations raised $237,000 for the Lunch Boxes of Love fund-a-need lot that will provide meals for thousands of hungry children and their families.

The top wine lot fetched $180,000 for a rare 65-bottle complete vertical of Château Mouton Rothschild Artist Label series housed in a custom-made display table.

"The stars aligned today in a constellation of generosity," said NCEF trustee Bob Edwards, festival chair with his wife, Terry. "We are enormously grateful to everyone under the auction tent for sharing their treasure so our most vulnerable children can reach their potential."

"Every bid helps change children's lives," said Terry Edwards. "NCEF trustees and our supporters are passionate about making a difference, whether it is providing eye exams for 8,000 underprivileged children and glasses for hundreds who need them, or distributing nearly 2 million meals for children whose families are at poverty level. When others can't, NCEF can, because of so many generous people."

Among other top wine-centric lots were:

  • a trip to Paris and Bordeaux with private dinners and tastings with world-renowned vintners led by Darioush vineyards proprietors was auctioned for $220,000;
  • ownership of 2.5 acres of O. Fournier vineyard property in Argentina and a six-night Argentine escape for two garnered a high bid of $180,000;
  • a 5-Liter bottle of each of Vérité's three, 100-point wines from 2007, along with VIP access to the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, which brought $130,000; and
  • the keys to vintner Cliff Lede's estate and Porsche for a one-month Napa Valley immersion inclusive of a horizontal of 2009 Poetry Cab scored a lofty bid of $130,000.

Experience lots that charmed bidders included:

  • a 22-day, around-the-world trip for one couple on a luxury jet traveling to exotic locales such as Panama, Easter Island, Fiji and Bali gained a commanding bid of $240,000;
  • a glamorous, four-night Parisian trip for eight ladies, with private visits to several legendary fashion houses, commanded a bid of $220,000;
  • a nine-night, exclusive escape for four couples to three of Aman Resorts' premier North American properties came in at $200,000; and
  • a four-night trip to Scotland for eight gentlemen, with accommodations at Kinross House -- a 17th century Scottish Neoclassical mansion -- complete with hunting and fishing on property, golf and more, went for $150,000.

Festival events spanned three days, including a tour of children's charities; intimate vintner dinners at the homes of NCEF trustees and supporters where celebrity chefs, including the festival's Chef de Cuisine Michael Anthony prepared the cuisine, with wines personally poured by the festival's Honored Vintner Barbara Banke of Vérité Winery and other nationally and internationally acclaimed vintners; a wine-down party post-auction; and a celebratory Sunday brunch.

NCEF's mission is to create and expand charitable programs serving underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County. The foundation currently supports more than 22 grantees and provides grants for long-term strategic initiatives focused on children's early learning, medical/oral health, out-of-school programs, behavioral health and childhood hunger. As a direct result of NCEF investments, more than 150,000 children have had their lives improved. NCEF has 56 trustees that govern the foundation and host the festival.

The 2014 festival will be held Jan. 24 - 26. For more information, visit

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Andrea Steffy
Public Relations Counsel, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and PR

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