The 13th annual Naples Winter Wine Festival Auction took place January 24-26 under the mild Florida sun, its 42 lots amounting to $12.5 million pledged which surpassed last year’s $9 million, all of which is earmarked for a range of children’s charities overseen by the Naples Children & Education Foundation.
Restrained ostentatiousness was the general tone for the auction’s introductions of sommeliers, chefs, and those representing the many top wineries participating. “Bid high, bid often, it’s all for the kids!” it went with auctioneers Lydia Fernet of Christie’s and auction veteran Humphrey Butler leading the charge for the pocketbooks of the 550 attendees. All wines offered were at least in magnum with the first lot going for 100,000, rising rapidly to 450k by lot 6, making the sum total of those first six lots exceed $1m.
Yours truly had the fun of taking the accompanying photo of SFWS founder David Glancy in a car he surprisingly didn’t actually own (I guess teaching somms doesn’t pay enough to afford a Lamborghini). “This was my second year working the event as a sommelier for one of the Vintners’ Dinners and also during the live auction. There are several Vintners’ Dinners at various private homes in Naples and this year I was fortunate enough to work the Gargiulo/Swanson dinner,” as most wineries featured as auction lots also participated in evening dinners at auction supporters homes. “I have been amazed at how many people donate so much of their time to plan and run this event each year and the generosity of the attendees. The wineries and wine professionals participating in the festival are among the biggest names, personalities and talents in the business.”
That said, your author also had the pleasure of time passed in the company of noted winery owner Laura Catena and wine poet Larry Stone who “was privileged to participate this year with Olivier Krug and the Morans at their dinner with the great Boston Southie Chef Barbara Lynch,” said the Master Sommelier. “The leaders of the Naples Wine Festival have improved the organization of the event over the years and have become a welcome part of the community at large. The team who worked at the Morans’ with me were dedicated, happy and an integral part of the event; sommelier Liset came from Naples’s Sea Salt, with Ruth & Cliff Manchester of Cape Cod’s Bramble Inn playing a big part in the wine service.”
In addition to Catena, Stone enjoyed visiting with Dick & Ann Grace, Ken & Grace Evenstad, Barbara Banke, Peggy Furth, the Staglin family, Sur Lucero, and “so many other great people. On the way out of town, my driver was glowing about the difference this auction has made for the welfare of people struggling in Collier County. It capped off my weekend.”
Below are the participating somms, wineries, chef w/restaurants they represent:
- Kathy Morgan MS @ Shafer Vineyards w/Joseph Lenn of Blackberry Farms
- Luis Reyneri and Chris Birnie-Vischer @ Domaine Serene w/Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene
- David Glancy MS @ Gargiulo/Swanson w/Angelo Ariana of The Factory Kitchen
- Sean Meyer @ Staglin’s w/Jonathan Cartwright of The White Barn
- Liz Dowty @ Allegrini/Darioush w/Nadia Ortega of Mendoza Argentina
- Jason Heller MS @ Dana Estates and Domaine Laroche w/Mark Kiffin of Compound
- Ian Cauble MS @ Opus One w/Christopher Kostow of Meadowood
- Larry Stone MS @ Krug w/Barbara Lynch of Menton
- Rachel Lowe @ Craggy Range/Hall w/Carrie Nahabedian of Naha
- Jason Carlen @ Kistler/Ornellaia w/Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia
- Sur Lucero MS @ Lokoya w/Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern
- Chris Miller @ Martinelli and Silver Oak w/Bill Telepan
*Have you ever been to the Naples Winter Wine Festival Auction? *What was your favorite part?