Festival's wine lots offer fantasy experiences along with great vintages

Wine lots of historic proportions — such as a 65-bottle complete vertical of Château Mouton Rothschild Artist Label series — will command the bidding at the Naples Winter Wine Festival live auction Jan. 26, when 550 guests gather under the auction tent at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples.

The festival's wine lots include the Rothschild Artist Label series; the keys to Cliff Lede's estate and Porsche for a one-month Napa Valley immersion; instant ownership of a vineyard property in Argentina; a vintner-led trip to Paris and Bordeaux with private dinners and tastings with world-renowned vintners; and perfect- and near-perfect scoring bottles of Rhône Valley's most lauded wine, Château Beaucastel.

All of the funds raised by the festival benefit Naples Children & Education Foundation's mission of supporting charitable programs that improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County.

"The generosity of vintners and other lot donors is truly remarkable," said Bob Edwards in a news release announcing some of the major lots. Edwards is NCEF trustee and 2013 festival chair with his wife, Terry. "We are extremely honored by their support of our foundation; awed by their creativity in pulling together such special, one-of-a-kind lots; and excited to get the auction under way."

Following are highlights of rare-wine auction lots to be offered at the festival. Descriptions of all 65 lots will be posted soon at napleswinefestival.com:

The most comprehensive collection of Mouton Rothschild ever offered at a charity wine auction, according to festival organizers. The lot holds 65 bottles of Château Mouton Rothschild in a complete vertical of 1945-2009. It also encompasses the entire collection of Mouton's Artist Label series, all displayed on a Thomas Riley Artisans' Guild custom-made table.

A "heart of Burgundy" lot holds treasures from Domaine Ponsot, a multigeneration winery. The lot comprises one 3L 2009 Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche Cuvée Vieilles Vignes Grand Cru, along with two nights of luxury accommodations in Burgundy for two couples. The lot includes a private tour of Domaine Ponsot, a 10-course finale dinner prepared by Michelin-starred Chef David Zuddas and paired with Ponsot's 12 Grand Crus.

Wine combines with America's Cup for this lot. It includes a case of Kistler Vineyards 750ml bottles (three each). The lot also features a two-night weekend stay aboard the yacht Kealoha during the America's Cup in the San Francisco Bay Area for three couples, a VIP tour and tasting at Kistler Vineyards.

A Hollywood-and-vine lot, with four tickets to the finale of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" in Los Angeles and an exclusive dinner with Ann Colgin and Joe Wender of Colgin Cellars at their Bel Air home, where professional dancers from the show will offer private dance lessons. Topping off the lot are rare reds: 3L 2003 Colgin Cellars IX Estate Napa Valley Red Wine and 3L 2003 Colgin Cellars Cariad Napa Valley Red Wine.

A monthlong, Napa Valley immersion at the private, three-bedroom farmhouse at renowned Poetry Vineyard and have use of vintner Cliff Lede's Porsche 911 convertible for one month. It includes wines from Lede's personal cellear, special dinners, access to the vineyards' concierge team and more.

A Triple Crown experience accompanied by racehorse owner and vintner of highly rated Vérité Winery, Barbara Banke. The trip is for two couples and includes VIP tickets on Millionaire's Row to the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby May 2 and 3, with three nights' accommodations at Banke's home in Lexington, Ky. In addition, the winners receive VIP tickets to the Preakness in Maryland on May 18, and VIP tickets to the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 8, with luxury accommodations during each race

Dinner with a Hollywood star, William Shatner, with a 12L 2004 Domaine Serene Mark Bradford Vineyard Pinot Noir, etched and painted. It also features three nights' accommodations at the private Domaine Serene Winery Hill House in the Dundee Hills of Oregon for four couples, with Domaine Serene wines to enjoy during their stay. It includes a dinner at the home of winery proprietors Ken and Grace Evenstad, with Shatner as a guest.

A wine-adventure lot. The six-night trip includes first-class airfare round trip from New York to Paris and on to Bordeaux. Wine and culinary exploration span the Haut-Médoc and Saint-Émilion regions, with private tours of Château Lafite and Château Latour; all meals are included, with special lunches. For the winner's cellar: six 750ml 2009 Darius II cabernet sauvignon.

An Argentine lot, including instant ownership of 2½ acres of O. Fournier vineyard property within the winery's Santa Sofia Estate in Mendoza, Argentina. Included are six nights of luxury accommodations in Argentina: two nights in Buenos Aires, a night in Mendoza and three nights at the O. Fournier guesthouse. Wine tastings, horseback tour, Gaucho barbecue in the Andes Mountains and more are included.

Marchesi Antinori's Tuscan world. Winners stay two nights at Fonte de' Medici in the Chianti Classico region, with dinners at top restaurants and a private wine tasting in the cellars, followed by dinner at Palazzo Antinori with the Antinori family.

Wine and the Colorado mountains, including a 3L 2007 Gargiulo Vineyards 575 OVX cabernet sauvignon and 3L 2007 Silver Oak Cellars Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon for starters. The winner's trip is for three sports-filled nights for four couples, with private, round-trip airfare, trout fishing, horseback riding, hiking and more. Winners receive custom-made outdoor gear and apparel from purveyor Josh Powell. Couples will dine on cuisine prepared by Master Chef Charlie Palmer. Grammy Award-winning artist Billy Dean and singer-songwriter Radney Foster entertain.

The Naples Children & Education Foundation has raised more than $107 million at the Naples Winter Wine Festival since 2001 to create and expand charitable programs serving underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County.

The festival is ranked by Wine Spectator magazine as the nation's top charity wine auction since 2004.

Festival ticket packages are $8,500 per couple; $20,000 for reserved seating at the same vintner dinner for two couples.

For a schedule of 2013 festivities and more information about the Naples Winter Wine Festival, visit napleswinefestival.com or call 888-837-4919.

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