Naples Winter Wine Festival tops $106M in 12 years for children’s charities

— Surpassing the $100 million mark in charitable giving was cause for celebration at the 12th annual Naples Winter Wine Festival charity auction, which raised $12.2 million during the live auction and reached a grand total of $106.7 million raised since 2001. One hundred percent of auction proceeds benefit Collier County’s underprivileged and at-risk children through Naples Children & Education Foundation, the festival’s founding organization.

Gathered at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, in the Grand Lawn Pavilion, winning bidders were among 580 guests. Lot totals ranged from $35,000 to $1.2 million for 67 auction lots. The top money-raising lot captured multiple bids in a modified Dutch auction that totaled $1.2 million for a private concert by Grammy-award winner LeAnn Rimes. The concert and reception will be held at a Naples beachfront estate, with cuisine prepared by Tom Colicchio of “Top Chef.”

Festival events spanned three days, including a tour of children’s charities; intimate vintner dinners at NCEF trustees’ homes where celebrity chefs including Tony Mantuano and Wolfgang Puck prepared the cuisine, with wines personally poured by winery proprietor HRH Prince Robert of Luxembourg and other internationally acclaimed vintners; a wine-down party post-auction; and a celebratory Sunday brunch.

NCEF’s mission is to create and expand charitable programs serving underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County. The foundation currently supports more than 20 grantees and provides grants for long-term strategic initiatives focused on children’s early learning, medical/oral health, out-of-school programs, behavioral health and childhood hunger. As a direct result of NCEF investments, more than 150,000 children have had their lives improved. NCEF has 69 trustees that govern the foundation and host the festival.

The 2013 festival will be held Jan. 25-27. Information: www.napleswinefestival.com.

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