2014 marked another successful charity event for the Naples Winter Wine Festival, whose Jan. 25 live auction raised $12.1 million—a 53 percent increase in live sales over 2013 and the highest sales total since 2008. Net proceeds topped out at $13.5 million.
"As always, we have a great formula: great wines, great weather and a great cause," said the event's cochair, Anne Welsh McNulty. "We had a particular energy and excitement."
Some of this year's highest-earning offerings combined collectible wines with travel experiences. Fetching $280,000, the auction's top wine lot featured 10 jeroboams of Opus One ranging from 1979 to 2010, along with a nine-day trip for three couples to Tokyo, London and Napa Valley. A package of four jeroboams from Napa's Staglin and Burgundy's Domaine Michel Lafarge, which included a six-day wine adventure in France, sold twice for $200,000.
Olivier Krug served as the festival's honorary vintner, providing Krug wines to all of the 16 vintner dinners, including a meal paired exclusively with Champagne that he cohosted with Boston chef Barbara Lynch. "Krug was just extraordinarily generous in the support," said McNulty.
The Naples auction has for the past decade been one of the nation's highest-grossing charity wine auctions, topping Wine Spectator's Top 10 Charity Wine Auctions list every year from 2004 to 2012. It maintains a strong commitment to supporting children's charities in Collier County, Fla. "The amounts allotted to our beneficiaries may change, and each year there are new causes, but they're always for children in our community," McNulty said. The festival costs are covered entirely by ticket sales, she added, "so everything raised at the auction under the tent literally goes to the children."