SOURCE: Naples Winter Wine Festival

November 20, 2008 16:02 ET

Naples Winter Wine Festival Stokes Auction Fever With Priceless and Unique Lots

All Auction Proceeds Benefit Children's Charities

NAPLES, FL--(Marketwire - November 20, 2008) - The Naples Winter Wine Festival, ranked as one of the top arts and entertainment events for wealthy Americans by the Luxury Institute, unveiled a sampling of the priceless and unique lots up for bid at the Feb. 6-8 auction gala in Naples. The offerings are a mix of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and one-of-a-kind treasures, with all proceeds benefiting underprivileged and at-risk children through the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), the festival's founding organization.

The majority of the 65 lots feature rare wine, mostly large format, bringing together an unrivaled assortment of hard-to-find vintages including various lots that feature a 27-liter bottle from Revana Family Vineyards; five Magnums of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti; a never-before released Salmanazar, which holds a complete case of wine, from Colgin Cellars; and a single lot consisting of a hand-signed Magnum from each of the festival's 28 participating vintners.

A Hollywood-focused lot offers two tickets to the 2009 Primetime Emmy Awards and entitles the winner to be drawn in as a character on The Simpsons TV show. Lots featuring unique and distinctive trips take winners on a wild boar hunt in Tuscany, through the sub-continent of India, to the finals of American Idol or to an "ultimate house party" at Blackberry Farm with special guest and Grammy-award winning artist, Martina McBride. Jewelry lots hold special pieces from Cartier, Chopard and Bulgari, and one lot offers a shopping spree at Tiffany & Co.

"The incredible generosity and imagination behind the 2009 auction lots is generating a great deal of excitement, and we are very grateful to the donors," said Tom Galloway, co-chairman of the festival with his wife Connie, both of whom are NCEF trustees. "Given the challenging economic times, the auction lots have heightened significance for the thousands of children who need our help now more than ever. And with 100 percent of the money raised under the tent going directly to the children, we look forward to making a big difference in their lives."

Also among the one-of-a-kind excursions are a private yacht vacation for 12; luxury trips to Australia, New York, New Mexico and Italy; and intimate vineyard estate dinners. "Vintners have added exceptional experiences to their rare wine lots," said Connie Galloway. "Araujo Estate is presenting a private dinner in their wine caves in Calistoga, Calif., and Il Molino di Grace is hosting an exclusive dinner in an exotic treehouse on their vineyard property in Italy." Other vintner-hosted private dinners include Salvatore Ferragamo's Il Borro, Robert Mondavi Winery, Screaming Eagle, Shafer Vineyards, Cos d'Estournel, Sloan Estate, Domaine Serene, Jorian Hill Vineyard, Dominio de Pingus, HdV Wines and Peter Michael Winery.

In addition to the auction, the festival takes guests on a tour of children's charities that benefit from the auction proceeds, followed by a lunch and wine tasting guided by some of California's finest vintners. On Friday evening, vintner dinners are hosted in the elegant homes of 17 trustees. At the dinners, esteemed vintners and celebrity chefs including Emeril Lagasse, Jonathan Benno, Linton Hopkins, Bob Kinkead and Mary Ann Esposito present a five- to seven-course dining experience. (For complete lists of participating vintners and chefs, visit www.napleswinefestival.com.)

On Saturday, there is a culinary showcase and wine tasting that precedes the auction on the grand lawn of The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples. In the evening, there is a "wine"-down party, and on Sunday, the festival concludes with a celebration brunch.

The Naples Winter Wine Festival has been ranked by Wine Spectator magazine as the nation's top charity wine auction since 2004. The founding trustees had a vision to create an exquisite event that would raise funds for children's charities in Collier County, Fla. Since the first festival in 2001, $69.5 million has been raised toward making a profound and sustainable difference for children in need.

Festival ticket packages are $7,500 per couple; $20,000 for reserved seating at the same vintner dinner for two couples. Tickets are limited to 550 guests. For a schedule of 2009 festivities and more information about the Naples Winter Wine Festival, please visit www.napleswinefestival.com, or call the wine festival office at 888-837-4919.