2010 Naples Winter Wine Festival Auction
Food, wine, celebrities and money for charity
'Blue Skies' Wine Festival dinner
Guests traveled by boat to party in ...
NAPLES — Today, patrons of the Naples Winter Wine Festival gathered at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort at Tiburon in North Naples to take part in the 2010 Expanding Horizons Auction. It’s the Naples Children & Education Foundation’s big fundraiser for children’s charities in Collier County.
5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The preliminary total on the 2010 auction is in - $8.06 million, about $3 million more than last year.
With the auction closed and most attendees out the door, happy on wine and the accomplishment of raising $8 million in five hours, auctioneer Humphrey Butler takes a seat.
He sips on water, but his voice is intact and only a slight line of sweat beads at his brow. He looks energized, but he stays modest.
“I don’t think I could do another 60 lots,” he said. “At that tempo, that’s about as much as you want to do.”
He said the energy in the room outpaced last year by a long shot, when the festival brought in little more than $5 million.
The number of bids, the insistent bidding wars and the number of lots going for more than $100,000 hinted at the commitment of the attendees -- and kept Butler upbeat.
“It was no cause for despondency last year,” Butler said. “We still raised $5.5 million in a desperate market, which is a bunch of money. ... I’m thrilled for them. I really am. Everybody works so hard.”
With Butler’s work done, he said he planned to unwind with a drink.
But after pushing bottles of wine all day, Butler said he wouldn’t touch a glass of chardonnay or burgundy: “I drink beer.”
* * * * *
Lot 50: It’s All in the Cards, It’s All for the Kids – The money bid on this lot will go to support the Naples Children and Education Foundation’s newest initiative, the Children’s Behavioral Health Collaboration. Sold for: $652,850.
Lot 51: Cliff Notes – Medley of double magnum reds from the likes of Chateau Lafite Rithschild, Mt. Veeder, Domaine St. Prefert and others. Sold for: $40,000.
Lot 52: Around the World in 14 Nights – A 14-night voyage aboard The World for two couples utilizing ResidenSea’s “Travel by Design” program. Sold for: $160,000.
Lot 53: Bonanza – Selection of the best single vineyard wines that Paul Hobbs has produced, including a bonanza from Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard. Sold for: $100,000.
Lot 54: Catch Me if You Cannes – Two couples will be among those hosted by jewelry company Chopard for three nights at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and the ladies in the group will receive a Chopard piece. Sold for: $160,000.
Lot 55: That Was Then… - A 2003 Chateau Lynch-Bages presented in a rare double magnum and two nights for two couples at Cordeillan-Bages in Pauillac, France. Sold for: $170,000.
Lot 56: A Big Bite of the Big Apple – A four-day trip to Manhattan for two couples with the best seats in the best restaurants, Yankee Stadium and live tapings of your favorite television shows. Sold for: $170,000.
Lot 57: Makin’ Mighty Tasty Music and a Toast to Tennessee – Two couples will explore Nashville, enjoy a dinner for 15 at your home featuring Gargiulo wines and take home three large format bottles. Sold for: $110,000.
Lot 58: The Tuscan Way – Two couples will have the opportunity to experience Tuscany, as the Antinori family has for generations and share some of the most extraordinary wines ever produced. Sold for: $170,000.
Lot 59: Napa Legacy – Rare 11-year magnum vertical of Lail’s flagship wine, Lail Vineyards J. Daniel Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon (1995-2005). Sold for: $50,000.
Lot 60: A Feast for the Senses – Eight days for two couples on a unique excursion to Koh Kood, Thailand. Sold for: $240,000.
Lot 61: Thanks for the Memories! – A return trip to the 2011 Naples Winter Wine Festival and six bottles form each of the Honored Vintners since the Festival’s inaugural event in 2001. Sold for: $70,000.
4:45 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The total just passed $7 million, which led the crowd to cheer wildly.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are a recession-proof auction,” auctioneer Humphrey Butler proclaimed.
The Naples Winter Wine Festival has come up with a new way to raise money this year. To support Collier H.U.G.S., a mental health initiative, volunteers with baby blue buckets walked among the tables.
They asked each patron to fill out a number on a card of funds they were wiling to contribute, which would be collected and the total would be how much the lot fetched for the auction.
“For those of you who have felt you cannot contribute or participate in the auction, here’s your chance,” Butler said.
After the buckets made the rounds at the tables, they were taken away so that the funds could be counted and added to the total, which has now surpassed $7 million and last year’s auction, which raised a little more than $5 million.
4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Three-quarters of the way through this year’s auction, the Naples Winter Wine Festival has surpassed its take of $5 million from last year.
“It’s been gathering momentum from the beginning,” said Clarke Swanson, one of the festival’s founding vintners. “It should surpass last year by far. It’s a portence for a very good stock market this year.”
This last comment was made in jest, but there is no denying the fact that last year was a down year for the festival, held in the midst of a recession.
“Not that last year was the greatest year in the world, but I think that people are feeling better,” Jay Baker said. “Last year was a tough year for everyone.”
Baker and his wife, Patty, had just placed their third winning bid, this time on a two-week vacation for three couples to any two Abercrombie & Kent Residence Club resorts, for $150,000.
“I have gotten his Valentine’s Day gift and his birthday present here today,” joked Patty Baker.
The two shared a hearty laugh.
“Funny thing is, I think I have to pay for it,” Jay Baker said in response.
At this point in the auction, the wine has been flowing for a good three hours, leaving the most conservative attendees feeling a little liberal.
Pat and Dave Gibbons had no qualms paying nearly twice as much for a trip at this year’s auction as they bid for a similar trip last year. At $340,000, the Gibbonses will share a trip to South Africa with Brian and Jeanelle Brady to explore that nation’s wine country and landscapes.
“My wife and I have been to Africa a number of times, and we love it each time,” Dave Gibbons said. “I particularly love the game reserves.”
It was the first winning bid of the day for the Gibbonses, but they already had gotten in on the fun through their son and daughter-in-law.
“They placed a bid without even expecting to,” Gibbons said. “So we’ve been getting them involved, too.”
The auction, as of 4:45, with just 11 lots left to go, has raised $5.6 million.
* * * * *
Lot 42: I Dreamed of Africa – Ten-day South African odyssey for two couples through the country’s premier wine regions and landscapes. Sold for: $340,000.
Lot 43: Treasures of Burgundy – Thirty wines – three each from 10 producers and all from inarguably the greatest wine region on the planet, Burgundy. Sold for: $100,000.
Lot 44: Imperial Performance – Rare collection of four large format bottles from Araujo Estate and to celebrate this acquisition, 10 people will join Bart and Daphne Araujo for dinner at their estate in Napa Valley. Sold for: $90,000.
Lot 45: A Vintage with Vrooooooom – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series immersion weekend for two people in Sonoma, private dinners, tastings and blending session at Adobe Road Winery and a commemorative, race day-themed piece of jewelry from Fratelli Piccini. Sold for: $55,000.
Lot 46: As Good As It Gets – Four mammoth 9-liter Salmanazars – one each of 2005 Chateau Haut-Brion, 2005 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion and two 9-liter bottles of the 2009 vintage. Sold for: $150,000.
Lot 47: Care for Kiwi with Your Cabernet – Fourteen-day jam-packed expedition for two couples through New Zealand. Sold for: $100,000.
Lot 48: Neoclassical Music – Four vintages each of Peter Michael Winery Les Pavots Bordeaux Blend and Peter Michael Winery Point Rouge Chardonnay in magnum and two nights for four couples at the Peter Michael Estate. Sold for: $90,000.
Lot 49: In the Cellars of Kings – Collection of magnums from Maison Joseph Drouhin, with two nights in Beaune, France, for two couples, complete with luxury accommodations, private tours, tastings and special meals. Sold for: $140,000.
3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Lot 34: Creole Getaway – Three nights for two couples at Swanson Vineyards’ Creole guest cottage – enjoy a private tasting and dinner with Elizabeth and Clarke Swanson as well as two cases of 2005 Swanson Vineyards Schmidt Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. Sold for: $65,000.
Lot 35: Bobbies, Beefeaters and Big Ben for Breakfast – Ten days in London for two couples, filled with sumptuous meals, unbeatable theater, castles, gardens and more, Sold for: $170,000.
Lot 36: Cardinale Bliss – Two couples will enjoy three days and two nights of luxurious accommodations at the private Cardinale Estate guesthouse, dinner at La Toque, private tastings and a Jeroboam of 2006 Cardinale Estate. Sold for: $75,000.
Lot 37: Et Tu, Bruno – Three exceptional Double Magnums from Bruno Giacosa as well as two nights for one couple in Pollenzo, Italy. Sold for: $80,000.
Lot 38: Hill of Dreams – 2003-2005 Vertical of Colgin Cellars Tychson Hill Cabernet Sauvignon and a private dinner for three couples prepared by Thomas Keller, with a little help from your group. Sold for: $160,000.
Lot 39: A Fabulous Fortnight for a Sensational Six – One week for three couples at two Abercrombie & Kent Residence Club properties (two weeks total) – choose Lake Tahoe and Punta Cana, or maybe Deer Valley and Hawaii. Sold for: $150,000.
Lot 40: The Original Rhone Ranger – An incredible lot of Chateau Beaucastel Hommage a Jacques Perrin & Chateau Beauvastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape, bottles big and small, assembled here as a collector’s dream come true. Sold for: $65,000.
Lot 41: Design Star – Rare collection of Harlan Estate in Double Magnum format and three nights for four couples at the incomparable Meadowood in Napa Valley. Sold for: $120,000.
3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Trustee Judith Licgeois became the envy of several women in the room when she bid $130,000 to have dinner with Academy Award-winning actor Robert Redford.
“It’s pretty cool, isn’t it?” she said, beaming.
Licgeois said she was attracted to the lot because it also included a three-night stay at Meadowood, but said dinner with Redford was “the icing on the cake.”
Licgeois, who has been a trustee for seven years, said the auction is really special.
“The lots they pull together are incredible and really inspire people to give,” she said. “You know it is all going toward the children, so you are willing to pay twice, three times what you normally would.”
The volume in the tent is reaching a fever pitch as volunteers and patrons waive noisemakers while auctioneer Humphrey Butler eggs them on.
“You can take a bath in Burgundy for the next 12 months,” he told potential bidders, introducing a group of Burgundy wines in the double magnum format.
After 28 lots, the formula seems to be working.
The auctioneers so far have helped raise $2.82 million.
Shortly after surpassing the $3 million mark in funds raised from the auction, The Naples Winter Wine Festival got some help from its newest high bidder.
Tom Lund bid $440,000 for a one week Mediterranean cruise about the Feadship Yacht Dream for six couples.
Lund declined to speak to reporters after his win.
Lot 20: Imperial Power - A never-before offered vertical of six Imperials of Shafer Vineyards’ Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon from 2000 to 2005. Sold for: $100,000.
Lot 21: Your Castello or Mine? – Seven nights for four couples at Castello di Casole in Tuscany with wines from the property as well as award-winning wines form Bodega Chacra. Sold for: $200,000.
Lot 22: The Sweet Sixteen – All-star lineup of Burgundian powerhouses, all featured in double magnum format. Sold for: $140,000.
Lot 23: Days of Wine and Roses – Three large format Domaine Serene Monogram Pinot Noirs, Riedel glassware ad a four-night stay in Oregon for four couples, including a private dinner prepared by Emeril Lagasse. Sold for: $160,000.
Lot 24: Live the Wine Country Dream with Robert Redford – One-year honorary membership at Napa Valley Reserve, three-night stay at Meadowood for two couples and dinner with Academy Award-winning actor and director Robert Redford. Sold for: $130,000.
Lot 25: Benovia’s Birthday Bash – Selection of Benovia wines, private air for three couples to Sonoma to experience Benovia’s historic Cohn Vineyard with accommodations, tastings and tours. Sold for: $70,000.
Lot 26: The Noblest of the Noble – Jeroboam of 2007 Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche Cuvee Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru and a visit to Beaune, France for two couples. Sold for: $95,000.
Lot 27: Futurama – Retrospective of the greatest vintages of Dominus Napa Valley Proprietary Red from the 90s in a variety of formats. Sold for: $90,000.
Lot 28: To Live and Dine in L.A. – A trip for two couples to enjoy meals and wines in the company of celebrated chefs, vintners, actors and Judge Judy, plus a walk-on role on the television show “Modern Family.” Sold for: $200,000.
Lot 29: Picture Perfect Visit to the Vineyard of Oz – First-ever released Double Magnum of Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon accompanies a trip to the winery, a brunch and professional photography session for two couples. Sold for: $40,000.
Lot 30: Rhapsody en Bleu – Six course-wine dinner at Bleu Provence for eight couples – a vinous tour through the regions of Champagne and Burgundy and finishing in Portugal with port. Sold for: $180,000.
Lot 31: Dream Come True – One-week Mediterranean cruise aboard the 170-foot Feadship Yacht Dream for six couples Sold for: $440,000.
Lot 32: Book of Dreams – A selection of large-format wines from Jackson Family Wines, Anakota and Verite. Sold for: $25,000.
Lot 33: The Big Lot – The largest collection of fine wine in the auction – 100 bottles of pristine Australian perfection including selections from Penfolds, Henschke and Torbreck Sold for: $80,000.
2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The auction has surpassed the $2 million mark.
After the 21st lot, a seven-night trip to Tuscany that went for $200,000 even, the bidding is soaring.
With a few big lots under their belts, and a few good-old-fashioned bidding wars, the excitement in the room is climbing upward, too.
Lee Anderson is waiting for one key indicator to know when the room has truly hit fever pitch, though.
“I’ve seen it where you get so excited you want to tip your table over,” Anderson said. “Hopefully, it’ll get that way.”
In the previous hour, Anderson managed to secure the lot he had been eyeing: a collection of two wines from Grace Family Vineyards in California, etched with the logos of this year’s beneficiaries, for $40,000.
Anderson has won this lot four years in a row, creating a “vertical” collection -- a set of wines from the same vineyard representing a succession of years’ vintage.
“I feel that we’re off to a great start,” Anderson said. “Items are going higher than they did last year. When I give (these wines) back, I hope it goes for a really high number.”
One of the biggest-ticket items yet has been a seven-day “Bahamian escape” for three couples on Foots Cay island, part of which will be spent exploring the Bahamas aboard a private luxury yacht. The winners, Ann and Bill Bain, both wine festival trustees, quickly became two of the most popular people in the room.
The Bains waited until bidding just barely slowed below the $300,000 mark before jumping in, and soon found themselves locked in a bidding war with Judy Sheindlin, of “Judge Judy” fame.
Sheindlin and the Bains both seemed to agonize over their next bid, with Sheindlin, drawing a line across her neck, as if to say “no more.” But she jumped in for one more bid, at $320,000. Auctioneer Ann Colgin looked to the Bains next.
“They’re thinking about it,” she said slyly, before turning back to Sheindlin.
For the Bains couple, their deliberations yielded one more bid, which turned out to be the winner -- $340,000.
Lot 13: Stay Thirsty – Two double magnums of 2007 Dominio de Pingus with a private tour of the winery and dinner with Peter Sisseck for two couples. Sold for: $35,000.
Lot 14: Guess Who’s Coming to Tee Time? – Mystery golf tour for seven through America’s Northeast. Sold for: $360,000.
Lot 15: Family Affair – A pair of red and white double magnums from Morlet Family Vineyards with a day of touring and tasting in Knights and Napa Valleys for three couples. Sold for: $20,000.
Lot 16: One Word Says It All – A collection of Chateau Lafite Rothschild in a variety of formats from 1985, 1989, 1999 and 2002. Sold for: $110,000.
Lot 17: Passage to Paradise – Seven-day Bahamian escape for three couples exploring private Foots Cay Island and cruising the islands aboard a private, luxurious motor yacht. Sold for: $340,000.
Lot 18: It’s a Wonderful Visit! – Discover the Sonoma Valley with exclusive tastings, meals and luxury accommodations for two couples; remember your adventure with selectons from Opus One, Skipstone Ranch and O’Shaughnessy Estate. Sold for: $48,000.
Lot 19: Blowin’ In the Wind – Two exceedingly rare double magnums of Beaucastel’s Hommage a Jacques Perrin and a two-day immersion into Chateauneuf-du-Pape, France for two couples. Sold for: $95,000.
2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m
Retta Singer was ready to say “uncle.”
After bidding $150,000 to attend the “Project Runway” season seven finale in New York, and to attend Fashion Week, she could go no higher, she said.
She was lucky that her bidding adversary made the same decision after $145,000.
Singer, who splits her time between Naples and Nashville, Tenn., was gushing excitement after her win.
“I’ve been wanting it ever since the (auction lot) catalog came out,” she said. “I love Michael Kors -- wear him.”
Singer’s winning bid will send her and another person -- her husband, she said -- to fly a private jet to attend the “Runway” finale at the Lincoln Center during New York’s Fashion Week, as well as the 2010 Michael Kors Fall Runway Presentation. There, she will get a $5,000 Michael Kors makeover.
“Being in Fashion Week in New York -- I’ve always wanted to go,” Singer said.
She was surely egged on by auctioneer Ann Colgin, who pushed the appeal of seeing supermodel Heidi Klum to both the men and the women in the room. After Colgin had exhausted herself pushing the first eight lots, auctioneer Humphrey Butler took over.
He heckled, cajoled and pumped up his bidders, invoking a bidding war between Bob Scott and Fran McGlothlin, who was the eventual winner of Lot 10 at $100,000.
When the lot hit $65,000, he shouted, “The woman’s gone mad!”
When he couldn’t coax Scott to go any higher, he knew just what to say: “Mr. Scott, you’ve disappointed me.”
That did the trick, until McGlothlin bid $75,000.
“I’m beginning to fall in love with you, on table 27,” he shouted.
At last, when Scott had bid $95,000, and paused to take a sip of water, Butler took his cue for one final jab.
“You can drink as much as you want to, you’re not getting out of this,” he joked to Scott.
But he did -- whether it was to his chagrin or his relief, as McGlothlin placed one final bid to win the lot, a collection of magnum-sized bottles of wines, one from each vintner featured in this year’s wine festival.
After the first 12 lots, the total raised has reached $695,000.
Lot 8: Have a Heart – One Salmanazar each of Grace Family Vineyards Caberne Sauvignon and Blank Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon etched especially for the festival. Sold for: $40,000.
Lot 9: Wisconsin & The Windy City – Five days, four nights for two couples exploring Chicago and Kohler, Wisc., including meals at Tru and Spiaggia, breakfast at Tiffany’s, White Sox tickets, luxury accommodations and golf at Riverbend. Sold for: $65,000.
Lot 10: 10th Anniversary Present – A “cellar-filler” of magnums from all of the 2010 Naples Winter Wine Festival vintners. Sold for: $100,000.
Lot 11: From Many, One – A 2003 to 2005 vertical of Domane J.L. Hermitage Rouge in double magnum format. Sold for: $28,000.
Lot 12: Sloan Exclusive - A 2003 to 2005 vertical of Sloan Estate Napa Valley Red in double magnum format and a private dinner for 10 at your own home, featuring Sloan Estate wines. Sold for: $85,000.
1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
In case anyone under the tent at the Ritz-Carlton forgot why they were at the Naples Winter Wine Festival auction, 11-year-old Max Hatch was there to remind them.
“Thank you for helping me,” said Max, who was at the Festival with fellow children from the YMCA of the Palms. “Bid high and bid often.”
Bill Harlan, the Honored Vintner for the 2010 Naples Winter Wine Festival and owner of Harlan Estate in Napa, said he was reminded of the saying, “What one can never pay in gratitude, he can pay in kind.”
“All of us under this tent are fortunate,” he said. “Now, it is our turn to pay in kind.”
Trustees Retta and Elliott Singer took those words to heart, scooping up two of the first eight lots of the auction, including a trip to New York to see the Project Runway finale for $150,000.
“I get very excited,” said Retta, who was doing the bidding for the couple. “I love to bid. It’s better than shopping.”
The Singers, who have been trustees since the festival began a decade ago, said they were happy to be at the auction and able to help.
“It’s about helping the children. They have such a wonderful need,”
Elliott Singer said.
2010 Naples Winter Wine Festival Auction Lots - 1 through 7
Lot 1: Salon Select – A collection of Champagne Salon Cuvee S spanning 15 years, featuring the most significant vintages from that period. Sold for: $25,000.
Lot 2: The Stuff of Legend – A 2002 to 2005 vertical of Screaming Eagle wine plus an elusive double magnum of 1999 Screaming Eagle. Sold for: $65,000.
Lot 3: Tip Top Pinot – Magnum of 2007 Bergstrom Vineyard Pinot Noir,
including a tasting and dinner for six at the Berstrom Estate in Oregon. Sold for: $22,000.
Lot 4: Food-and-Wine Laden, She is the Maiden, Keewaydin – Forty-eight bottles of Ananda Bordeaux, three bottles of Champagne Drappier Grande
Sendree and a lunch cruise along the Naples coast for 10 people. Sold for: $55,000.
Lot 5: Waiting Game – A double magnum of 1994 Vega Sicilia Unico Riserva, the largest size made by Vega Sicilia, which has been cellared at the winery until its release for the 10th anniversary for the Naples Winter Wine Festival. Sold for: $35,000.
Lot 6: The Ultimate Soren-Slam – Play a round of golf with Annika Sorenstam at Reunion Resort in Florida and take home a double magnum of autographed Annika Syrah. Sold for: $30,000.
Lot 7: Make It Work, People – Fly on a private jet to the Project Runway finale at Lincoln Center during New York’s Fashion Week, as well as the 2010 Michael Kors Fall Runway Presentation. Meet Heidi Klum and get outfitted with a head-to-toe Michael Kors makeover at Marissa Collections. Sold for: $150,000.
Noon to 1 p.m.
“One, two, three, four!”
The crash of cymbals and the beat of drums kicked off an afternoon of bidding at the Naples Winter Wine Festival auction.
The drum line from Barron Collier High School launched into a rhythm that rocked the most stoic of auction attendees, as volunteers for the festival banged tambourines and shook maracas to the beat.
As the drum line began just outside the tent, a line of children, beneficiaries of charities that receive funds from the festival, filed past with volunteers from YMCA of the palms. Some held their ears, while others grooved along to the beat, shaking pigtails and pumping their fists.
Meeting the children is the highlight of the festival, Deborah Harlan said.
“To hear each child’s story, each one is stunning,” Harlan said.
With her husband, Bill, the Harlans represent the festival’s honored vintners for the year.
The couple own Grace Family Vineyards of California, and have attended the wine festival every year since its inception, at the prompting of fellow vintner Clarke Swanson.
“We didn’t know what we were getting in for, but it has turned out to be fantastic,” Bill Harlan said.
The Swansons contributed Lot 8 to this year’s auction, a collection of two wines from their vineyard etched with the logos of all of the wine festival beneficiaries.
For the past three years prior to this year, Lee Anderson, a nine-year attendee, has won the bid for these wines.
“I’m hoping to buy this year’s lot,” he said, adding that the wines are increasing in value.
While some collectors stash these wines away to drink when they have aged, or cherish them like a valuable piece of art, Anderson has big plans for these wines.
“Some day, I’ll give them back to the wine festival,” he said.
Trustee Francis Rooney, who chairs this year’s event with his wife, Kathleen, said this kind of generosity is what makes the auction so exciting.
“What I would say is in these difficult times, everybody is digging deeper,” Francis Rooney said. “The kids need us more than ever.”
Rooney pointed to one of this year’s most unique lots, a cash-based lot that invites bidders to pledge their money toward a mental health initiative. However, this lot is all about heart -- the winning bidder won’t take home a fancy car or a fabulous trip. The only point of Lot 50 is to pledge money to benefit the Children’s Behavioral Health Collaboration.
“We think that we’re doing something special for the kids by adding a mental health initiative,” Francis Rooney said. “We’ve seen these cash calls and cash-oriented lots in other events work well. Given the times that we’re in, it’s important to be imaginative.
11:30 a.m. to noon
Tracy Scurto was enjoying a piece of tuna under a tent outside the Ritz-Carlton Tiburon before the 2010 Naples Winter Wine Festival Auction got under way.
“I love this part. We always come early because I love to eat,” she said.
Guests arriving to the auction certainly had a bevy of food choices to greet them, including prosciutto bruchetta with heirloom tomatoes and aged goat cheese, braised veal cheek with carrot puree and lamb sliders.
They also met a table that had more than 300 different labels of wine in every major varietal, including pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon.
“We have multiple vintages and every vintner at the wine festival is represented,” said Bruce Nichols, the manager of wine service for the festival and owner of A Nichols Worth of Wine. “Many of the wines we serve have been donated from the collections of he trustees.”
And some of the wine was from vintners who hope to be featured in the future. That group includes actor Kyle MacLachlan, whose desired Bear wines were among those featured.
Josh Bergstrom, owner of Bergstrom Winery in Oregon, said he was impressed by the event.
“It’s pretty amazing,” he said. “This is one of the best orchestrated and most luxurious events I have ever seen. The organization is top notch and everyone is motivated to the cause.”
Jamie Gregor, director of marketing and communications at Youth Haven – one of the organizations benefiting from the festival, said she hopes those who came to bid are motivated today.
“What this has done for the children in the community and for the organizations that work with children in the community is incredible,” she said. “It has brought us together to solve problems of children and families.”
Gregor said the Naples Children and Education Foundation’s mental health initiative for children is bringing an important issue facing families to light.
The children are what it is all about, Scurto said. While she had items that she had her eye on, including the opportunity to dine with actor Robert Redford, she said helping the children of Collier County is why people buy tickets.
“The kids – it’s what it’s about,” she said.
11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m
People beain to gather for the auction at 11 a.m. The bidding begins soon and continues until about 5 p.m.
The stage was set on Friday night, when it was all about the wine, the cuisine, the entertainment and the elegance at lavish dinners in the Naples area.
Friday's dinners and charity visit
With the guests seated and wine flowing, it would seem there is nothing left to do but eat, drink and be merry. But Shirlene Elkins had just one more surprise up her sleeve.
If it was the wow factor that the 32 guests needed Friday evening at one of several Naples Winter Wine Festival dinners, Bob and Joan Clifford certainly supplied it.
Children in need shook hands with those in a position to provide that help as trustees, patrons, chefs and vintners were introduced Friday to the 23 benefiting charities of the Naples Children & Education Foundation’s Winter Wine Festival.
A few weeks back, Larry Andrews and Lee Anderson, along with their wives, went to a dinner where their host opened up a 3-liter bottle of 1921 Petrus, one of only nine such bottles known to be in existence. It tasted like it was bottled last year. “If you were blindfolded, you would have thought it was fresh,” Andrews says. "It was amazing,” Anderson says. “It was almost 90 years old and still so vibrant.”