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Naples Winter Wine Festival Raises Nearly $16 Million for Children

Live-auction bidders at nation's top charity wine auction raised more than $13 million for the Naples Children & Education Foundation
Festival trustees Don and Darlene DeMichele, center, celebrate during the live auction action.
Photo by: Eric Strachan/Courtesy Naples Winter Wine Festival
Festival trustees Don and Darlene DeMichele, center, celebrate during the live auction action.

Brianne Garrett
Posted: February 1, 2019

This story was updated Feb. 11.

The nation's top charity wine auction raised nearly $16 million last week. Murky weather did not dampen the excitement at the 2019 Naples Winter Wine Festival, held Jan. 24–27 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla. Saturday's live auction raised $13 million, surpassing last year's $12.8 million. Since its 2001 inception, the festival has raised more than $191 million for children in need in Collier County, Fla.

"The incredible amount of support that we receive year after year continues to blow us away and we are honored to have been a part of such a successful year," Naples Children & Education Foundation CEO Maria Jimenez-Lara told Wine Spectator via email.

A vertical wine tasting and luncheon on Thursday, starring Burgundy's Maison Joseph Drouhin and Oregon's Domaine Drouhin, kicked off the weekend. That was followed by Meet the Kids Day and a vintners dinner on Friday, which showcased 18 celebrity chefs, including Charlie Palmer and Tom Colicchio, and more than 30 winemakers, including honored vintners Daphne and Bart Aruajo of Accendo Cellars in Napa.

The excitement persisted during the event's live-auction main event, featuring 60 lots offering a range of experiences including fine wine, luxury cars and a trip to the 2020 Olympics. The live auction's Fund-a-Need lot, earmarked for children's mental health initiatives, raised almost $3 million.

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Other top wine lots included a four-person visit to Bordeaux's five first-growths and bottles from the 1982 vintages of Château Haut-Brion, Château Latour, Château Margaux and Château Mouton-Rothschild. The lot sold for $240,000. A lot featuring eight rare double magnums of Screaming Eagle's first Cabernet Sauvignons, from 1992 to 1999, sold for $350,000.

Four couples won the chance to join Shahpar and Darioush Khaledi of Napa's Darioush winery aboard a luxury yacht for a cruise along the coasts of southern Italy and Croatia, and four double magnums of Darioush Darius II Cabernet Sauvignon 2015. The lot sold for $400,000.

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