Visiting writers reflect on trip to Naples for Wine Festival

Andrew Glazier knows about Naples.

It’s where he grew up and went to high school. It’s where his sister and mother still live.

But he saw another side of Naples last weekend, when he flew here from California to be part of a FAM (familiarization) trip centered around the 2008 Naples Winter Wine Festival.

The festival’s charity wine auction raised $14 million for children’s charities on Saturday.

Glazier expected a high-end event. He expected to see limousines, jets, diamonds and extravagance — and he did. But he was surprised to learn how much the festival has done for children in Collier County.

He joined festival supporters on a trip to Immokalee a week ago to see the charities — and the poor kids — that the event benefits.

“I remember Immokalee when it was a dump and it’s so much nicer now,” he said. “And it’s coming up because of the help from the wine auction.”

He said the whole experience was eye-opening.

“I still think people miss the point,” he said. “It’s really about the kids.”

Glazier, a 1985 Naples High gradudate, was one of a handful of writers participating in the county-sponsored trip last week.

He was the only one who grew up in Naples and, unlike the others, he doesn’t write for a print publication. He reviews wines and covers the wine industry in California through his own Web site, www.backroadswine.com.

Other journalists on the trip included freelancer Mary Ann Treger, who writes for “Style,” a regional magazine in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and “Woman’s Day;” Holley Camp, a food and wine writer for “Executive Traveler;” and Kathy Feeney, a writer for “JaxFax,” a national magazine for travel agents. Two others represented “Cool,” an upscale Brazilian magazine.

JoNell Modys, communications manager for the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau, wined and dined the writers and toured them around Naples. She’s still tabulating the costs, which included air fare, hotel stays and meals.

“I was very happy with who came,” Modys said. “The CVB’s new PR agency helped us recruit some very good people.”

Glazier’s mother encouraged him to participate in the trip, telling him what a big event the auction had become in Naples.

Getting into the festival is difficult for most journalists. At first, Glazier said the bureau was reluctant to pay his way because he wasn’t writing for a known publication.

“I begged and I begged and begged and finally they let me come,” he said.

Glazier did daily blogs about the three-day event and wrote several stories on his Web site. He included photos and he plans to upload video on You Tube.

“I’ve just had a few phone calls from people who have read it,” he said. “The thing is, it stays up forever.”

On his blog about the trip to Immokalee, he describes how he had to fight back tears when hearing stories about the people who had been helped by the charities the festival supports. A young woman who was abused talked about how she found shelter at PACE Center for Girls, and a young Haitian man thanked the Fun Time Early Childhood Academy for taking his daughter in at no cost, as he prepared to send her back to Haiti because he couldn’t afford to take care of her anymore.

Glazier attended one of 17 private vintner dinners last Friday night. He met celebrity chefs and world-renowned vintners, including a few of the Mondavis.

While he was here, Glazier, along with other journalists participating in the FAM trip, toured the area and gathered information to write about some of the nature-based attractions, including Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and a dolphin exploration cruise.

Glazier, who lives in Livermore, Calif., became fascinated with the wine business after writing one story about it for a California newspaper. When his editor said there wasn’t room for regular stories about wineries, he launched his Web site.

Glazier wants to return to the festival next year, even if it means paying his own way.

“I want to be involved. I care about Naples. I really do. I miss it terribly. I wonder why I left sometimes,” he said.

© 2008 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 2

dwyerj1 writes:

I have a website, too. How can I turn it into a money-maker? I need to do something to supplement or take the place of my teacher salary.

Andrew Glazier must have learned something at Naples High that I didn't--and I was there for five years!

Although I know nothing about wine, I've gathered quite a good store of information about Immokalee as well as the nature-based attractions of Collier County, including Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, dolphins and other watery creatures. Anybody willing to share his/her expertise at money-making know how I can sell it?

BackRoadsWine writes:

First, start with the Google "Ad-Sense" program.It will pay you for ads they choose. Second, begin interviewing the attractions you want to promote. Photograph the subjects you want to cover ie Corkscrew, Lake Trafford,Dolphin trips, the Everglades, Clyde Butcher and post them. Use as many relevent search words to describe your site, this will determine the ads Google runs. Next, videotape your subjects and post the videos on "You Tube" this drives people to your site which drives up the clicks in the Google ad sense program. Good Luck and be patient. It takes a few years for a site to build up enough content to start really getting peoples attention. If you post one small item a day you will grow fast. Good Luck -class of NHS 1985

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