America’s top charity wine auction outdid itself over the weekend, raising $23 million for children’s charities. The Naples Winter Wine Festival (NWWF), which has consistently held the top spot among charity wine auctions in recent years, was held in-person on Jan. 30 after going virtual last year. All the funds help support underprivileged children in Collier County, Fla., through the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF).
The 22nd annual live auction was held at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, where hundreds of wine lovers packed the tent to bid on 43 experiential-focused lots. Several world-renowned vintners also joined the crowd, including Piero Antinori, Olivier Krug, Veronique Boss-Drouhin and Laura Catena.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, the energy under the tent broke the meter,” NCEF CEO Maria Jimenez-Lara told Wine Spectator. “Although we had fewer attendees and fewer auction lots, the lots were some of the most appealing ever. We were amazed to set a new [NWWF] record and thrilled for what it means to the children we serve.”
The top wine-related lot included a six-night Italian excursion to visit the Antinori estate, along with three double magnums of Tignanello (2011, 2015 and 2017) and three magnums of Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Superiore (2012, 2014 and 2018). The lot sold to two couples for $580,000, then was doubled and sold to another two couples, for a total of $1.16 million.
A trip to Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm hotel and Grand Award–winning restaurant and Napa’s Staglin Family Vineyards sold twice as well for a total of $1.05 million. The lot also included an etched 3-liter bottle of 2015 Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and a case of a personalized Cabernet blend.
“Our family motto is great wines for great causes and our goal is to help that as much as we can,” said Staglin Family Vineyards president Shannon Staglin. The Staglins have worked extensively to help support brain health research. “Since the Naples Winter Wine Auction started in 2001, we’ve connected to the cause and that’s the most important thing.”
Tuscany and Napa weren’t the only destinations that helped raise big sums. A six-day Argentinean excursion through Buenos Aires and Mendoza sold to two couples for $280,000. The lot also included more than 50 bottles of Catena Zapata’s flagship labels, plus 12 bottles of custom-made wine.
“Our lot provides a one-of-a-kind experience in Argentina,” said Catena managing director Laura Catena. “From meeting the most famous local chefs, to a night of opera to learning how to tango to making your own wine, it will certainly be unforgettable for the two lucky couples.”
Since its 2001 debut, NWWF has raised nearly $245 million for NCEF.
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