Naples Winter Wine Festival Raises over $33 Million for Children’s Charities

Wine

America’s top charity wine event, the Naples Winter Wine Festival (NWWF), has pushed the bar even higher, raising $33 million—its highest total yet—for children’s charities at its annual gathering on the last weekend of January. The event brought together approximately 650 wine lovers in a tent outside the Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburón, to compete for lots combining travel and culinary experiences with rare wines, including many large-format bottles.

This was the 24th iteration of the auction, which benefits the Naples Children and Education Foundation (NCEF). “We are extremely thankful to everyone who contributed this year, which will allow us to further achieve our mission of improving the educational, emotional and health outcomes of underprivileged and at-risk children in our community,” Ralph Stayer, this year’s festival chair, told Wine Spectator.

Top Auction Lots Combine Luxury Travel with Elite Wines

The Naples event is distinguished not only by the impressive amounts of money it raises but also by the chefs and winemakers it attracts from the world’s most prestigious restaurants and wine regions. This year, notable wineries supporting the auction included Château Cheval Blanc, Staglin Family Vineyard, Marchesi Antinori, Caymus and many more.

The weekend included a fund-a-need campaign, which raised over $7.8 million to support early learning and mental health initiatives, as well as an online component, which raised over $1 million. Online lots included a VIP experience at an Andrea Bocelli concert, bottles of Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon and a four-bottle collection of Screaming Eagle.

Auctioneer Humphrey Butler encouraged the crowd to bid on lots ranging from a deluxe Mediterranean cruise to a stay at Château d’Yquem. (Lane Wilkinson)

The culminating live auction took place on Saturday, Jan. 27 and raised over $25 million from 50 lots, 46 of which included wine. The top lot, “Sailing the Turquoise Waters of the Mediterranean,” sold for $2.7 million—the highest amount for a single live-auction lot in the event’s history. The lucky bidders will enjoy a 7-night cruise for six couples aboard a 312-foot super-yacht, complete with a crew of 27.

As in recent years, other lots featured deluxe travel packages, exquisite dining experiences and rare wines—often all three. Vinous highlights included a collection of 39 large-format bottles from each of the auction’s participating vintners (including Château Pontet-Canet and Opus One), magnums of Antinori Toscana Solaia, magnums of Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne Rare (paired with a private tasting with chef de cave Émilien Boutillat), double magnums of Ovid Napa Valley, methuselahs (six liters) of Harlan Estate Napa Valley, and more.

For the speed demons in the crowd, there were even singular automobiles up for grabs—a custom 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre, the maker’s inaugural all-electric vehicle, earned a winning bid of $1.4 million, while a 2024 Aston Martin DB12 Volante convertible went for $650,000.

Auction Supports Southwest Florida Children in Need

The weekend began on Thursday afternoon with a pre-festival lunch and tasting for 40 guests at Wine Spectator Grand Award winner Bleu Provence. The tasting was led by Pierre Lurton, of Château d’Yquem, and featured a 10-vintage vertical of the legendary Sauternes dating to 1962. That evening, guests enjoyed a kick-off party at Naples’ Campiello restaurant, where vintner Véronique Boss-Drouhin (of Oregon’s Domaine Drouhin and Burgundy’s Maison Joseph Drouhin) and chef Paul Bartolotta were honored.

On Friday morning, attendees learned about NWWF’s impact on local children during the annual “Meet the Kids Day.” That evening, guests enjoyed meals prepared by celebrity chefs—complete with wine pairings by a team of participating vintners and sommeliers—in the private homes of festival trustees and at other exclusive locations.

 The crowd cheers the results at the Naples Winter Wine Festival

Festival proceeds support a range of children’s charities in Southwest Florida. (Lane Wilkinson)

Funds raised by NWWF support close to 90 nonprofit organizations focused on enriching the lives of at-risk and underprivileged children in Collier County, which includes Naples and Marco Island. Over 300,000 local children have been served to date.

This year’s auction brings the total amount raised for NCEF since 2001 to almost $302 million. Next year’s festival, which will mark 25 years of the event, will again take place at the Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburón from Jan. 24–26, 2025.


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