Philanthropic oenophiles are set to let their altruism pour once more during the 2017 Naples Winter Wine Festival at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla., from January 27 through 29. The benefit comprises gastronomic galas, community outreach, and one of the most successful and respected charity wine auctions in the world—one that Robb Report is donating to with an auction lot of exceptional experiences.
All funds go to the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), an organization dedicated to the support of underprivileged youth in Collier County through programs focused on pediatric health, education, and welfare. Last year alone the festival raised more than $11 million, contributing to a total of $146 million since its inception in 2001.
The fete unfurls on Friday, the 27th, with the opportunity for attendees to meet many of the children they are assisting and witness some of the initiatives in action before sitting down to an elegant lunch. In the evening, every registered participant will be treated to one of 18 vintner dinners hosted at memorable venues (many are the private residences of festival trustees). Each sumptuous spread will pair one the world’s leading sommeliers or winemakers with celebrated chefs.
Among the vaulted vintners on hand will be Pierre Lurton (of Bordeaux’s brilliant Château Cheval Blanc and Château d’Yquem wineries), Gaia Gaja (from Gaja winery in the Piedmont region of Italy), Olivier Krug (of Krug Champagne of France), and Violet Grgich (of Grgich Hills Estate winery in Rutherford, Calif.). And the roster of 18 culinary artists includes such recognized names as Wolfgang Puck (the festival’s chef de cuisine); Michael Tusk (of Quince Restaurant in San Francisco); Nancy Oakes (of Boulevard Restaurant in San Francisco); and Dean Fearing (of Fearing’s Restaurant in Dallas)— a talent pool that has cumulatively garnered 11 Michelin stars and 13 James Beard Awards.
Saturday’s headline auction will be preceded by more fine dining, this time on the lawn of the Ritz-Carlton where chefs from the brand’s most notable locations converge to share their individual specialties. Complementing the occasion will be tastings by more than 30 select wineries from across the globe.
Scheduled from 11 am to 5 pm, the live auction takes place under a tented pavilion and consists of more than 60 lots. Sure to encourage friendly competition among bidders will be Robb Report’s collection of curated opportunities. The four-part package includes accompanying the magazine’s editors in Napa Valley to help select the 2018 Car of the Year by driving a carefully culled selection of the finest new sports cars and luxury vehicles on the market. Next comes a 10-day voyage with Crystal Cruises on the Danube (with penthouse suite accommodation) before returning to Napa to taste and take home several selections from Blackbird Vineyard’s boutique, Bordeaux-style blends. Included will be its esteemed Illustration, Paramour, and Contrarian wines gifted in an imperial-size bottle of each. Finally, the winner and a guest will join the cast of television’s popular comedy Modern Family for a table read of a new script from the show’s eighth season followed by a visit to the set, all at Fox Studio in Los Angeles.
Other generous lots include a getaway to Cuvee’s Vue de Rêves villa in St. Barts (presented with the assistance of Robb Report), a 24-day trip around the world by private jet (arranged by TCS World Travel), and a chance to walk the red carpet at the Emmys and attend the event’s Governors Ball.
The Naples Winter Wine Festival winds down on Sunday with its Champagne brunch—a final time to mix and mingle in an atmosphere effervescent with generosity. Limited to 580 participants, tickets start at $10,000 per couple. (napleswinefestival.com)