The Naples Winter Wine Festival is ranked among the top 10 arts and entertainment events for wealthy Americans. This ranking by the Luxury Institute is based on exclusivity, quality and prestige. Since 2004, the festival has earned the distinction of being the most successful charity wine auction in the nation according to Wine Spectator. The event brings many of the world’s finest vintners and chefs together with wine collectors and philanthropists for a three-day gala in picturesque Naples, Florida.
This January, some of the most revered names in the world of wine and many of the nation’s most noted celebrity chefs will gather together at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, Florida for the 2014 Naples Winter Wine Festival. Held on Fri/Jan. 24 – Sun/Jan. 26, the annual event is one of the most successful charity wine auctions in the nation and the primary source of funding for the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF). Over $110 million has been raised since the festival’s inception in 2001, helping to improve the lives of more than 150,000 underprivileged and at-risk children. For the first time, three women trustees of the NCEF are serving as co-chairs of the event. Linda Richards Malone, Anne Welsh McNulty and Adria Starkey have combined their talents and connections to amass one of the most impressive arrays of live auction lots yet offered in the festival’s 14 years. Vintner Olivier Krug of Krug Champagne and Chef Bill Telepan of Telepan and Telepan Local in New York City will be honored at the event for their charitable efforts.
This year’s theme, “Celebrate the Journey,” is a traveler’s dream with auction lots including extravagant one-of-a-kind trips to Argentina, Aspen, Australia, Botswana, Cyprus, Ecuador, France, Italy, Israel, Morocco, Napa Valley, Nashville, New Orleans, Nepal, New York, New Zealand, Switzerland, Tanzania and Zambia, and “around the world” trips on yachts and private jets. Car lovers will have the opportunity to bid on a 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith and a LP720-4 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Lamborghini Aventador which also includes a driving experience at the Palm Beach International Raceway.
Culinary and wine experiences are bar-none with lots such as “Triple Treat: Around the World with Opus One” featuring a 10-day trip and first-class airfare to Tokyo, London and Napa with private dinners with chefs Nobu Matsuhisa and Heston Blumenthal, as well as a visit to the legendary winery in the Napa Valley. Screenwriter and film producer Robert Mark Kamen (“Karate Kid,” “Gladiator”) brings Hollywood glamor to the event with a 6L vertical of Kamen Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and a walk-on role on his upcoming film “Judgment of Paris.” The winner of the Krug Champagne lot will receive one of six produced Krug L’Ephemere Eternel sculptures by Veronese, and will have reason to celebrate for years to come with a collection of prestige cuvee bottles spanning over 40 years (1961-2005) and totaling an impressive 66 liters. Other exceptional lots are offered by Domaine Serene, Gargiulo, Harlan Estate, Hilliard Bruce, Kistler, Morlet Family Vineyards, Ornellaia, Shafer, Skipstone, Staglin and Vega Sicilia, among others.
Guests also enjoy wine tastings throughout the festival’s three days, beginning with Meet the Kids Day, during which attendees witness charitable dollars at work as they interact with children who have benefited from festival proceeds. They also attend intimate dinners prepared by celebrated chefs at private homes of NCEF trustees with wines selected and poured by renowned vintners.
Festival ticket packages are $8,500 per couple; $20,000 for reserved seating at the same vintner dinner for two couples. For a schedule of 2014 festivities and more information about the Naples Winter Wine Festival, visit www.napleswinefestival.com or call 888-837-4919.