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EatBeat: Naples Winter Wine Fest Nets $8M at Wine Auction

February 3rd, 2010 · 1 Comment

Naples Pops $8 million at wine auction – the richest wine charity in the U.S.

By Christopher Sherman, guest columnist

What recession?

Wine lovers at the tenth annual Naples Winter Wine Festival in Naples opened their wallets and hearts in a big way, chipping in $8 million for troubled children across Collier County, reversing two years of declining receipts.

Beats Napa by $2 million

The results from bids on bottles of rare wines, luxury trips and the like was $3 million more than last year, when the auction felt the biggest pinch of the recession. It’s also substantially more than the annual auction in Napa Valley ($5.9 million last year) making it one of the richest wine charities in the world and rivaling the famous auction at the Hospices de Beaune in Burgundy.

Prince Robert

French wines top lot list

The top selling wine lot of the day was $150,000 bid for four 9-liter salmanazars of Ch. Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion. The chateau’s proprietor, Prince Robert of Luxembourg, had initially donated two bottles from the 2005 vintage, but after visiting the children’s charities supported by the auction, doubled his lot, adding two virtual salmanazars of the new 2009 vintage not yet bottled.

“I think the 2009 will be among the finest vintages we’ve made in two centuries,’’ Prince Robert told me.

Top selling wine lots

Other top wine lots included:

  • $140,000 for sixteen double magnums of great Burgundies donated by baseball’s Rusty Staub.
  • $120,000 Harlan Estates , ’94, ’97, 2001, 2002 donated by the Harlans, who were this year’s honored vitners
  • $65,000 for 12 bottles of Screaming Eagle, 1999-2005
  • $100,000 for 30 Burgundies, including nine 2005 DRC’s
  • $80,000 for 100 bottles of top Australians, including verticals of Penfolds Grange and Hill of Grace
  • $90,000 for four 5- and 6 liter bottles of Araujo Estate with dinner at the French Laundry
  • $50,000 for an 11-year vertical of Lail Vineyard’s rare J Daniel Cuvee

Trips, TV roles, and NASCAR passes draw

Of the 61 lots at auction, some included wine together with trips to Thailand and New York, cruises, NASCAR passes and even a walk-on role on the sitcom Modern Family, and they drew big money as well. The top non-wine lot brought $440,000 for a weeklong cruise on a 170-feet-yacht in the Mediterranean.

Francis Rooney, who chaired this year’s auction, said the group never predicted numbers for this year’s auction given the tough economy, so he was delighted that 500 people came up with $8 million.

“I’m gratified that this community dug so deep.’’

Christopher Sherman writes about wine and food on the B-21.com blog, and for Florida Trend magazine’s dining section.

Tags: The Eat Beat: Restaurant News · Today in the World of Food

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Ben Starling // Feb 4, 2010 at 1:47 am

    As a fundraiser, I love hearing about other events. When the 2010 ended, I was thrilled when I read the final numbers in the Naples Daily News.

    One thing is for sure, an event this size requires a lot of deep pockets and even more dedicated volunteers.

    My hat is off to all involved!

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