Escape to Naples (Fla.) for a Good Cause

Wine has a long history with charitable activities, ranging from wineries donating bottles for silent auctions at fundraising events to full-blown festivals benefitting specific organizations or causes.

One of the biggest is the Naples Winter Wine Festival in Naples, Fla. It not only benefits a good cause, which you’ll read about below, but it also provides an excuse for those who live in cold climes to enjoy a few days of warmth in the middle of winter.

Here are excerpts from a press release on the event…

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The Naples Winter Wine Festival, a top wine and food charity event, has secured an extravagant lineup of cruise and yacht trips to be offered at its 12th annual auction on Jan. 28 in Naples, Fla.

Festival patrons will have the chance to bid on exclusive excursions through Central America, Croatia, Northern Europe and Burgundy, by sailboat, yacht or cruise ship.

All of the auction’s proceeds 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 foundation has raised more than $94.5 million at the Naples Winter Wine Festival since 2001 to create and expand charitable programs. As a direct result of the investments of NCEF, more than 125,000 children have had their lives improved.

The foundation is governed by a nine-person board, representing 69 trustees, and currently supports 23 grantees and long-term strategic initiatives focused on children’s early learning, medical/oral health, out-of-school programs, behavioral health and childhood hunger.

The Naples Winter Wine Festival is the primary source of funds for NCEF. Wine Spectator magazine has ranked NWWF as the nation’s top charity wine auction since 2004.

Festival events span three days, beginning with Meet the Kids Day, during which guests interact with children who have benefited from festival proceeds and witness charitable dollars at work. Guests enjoy wine tastings throughout the weekend, and also attend intimate dinners prepared by famous chefs at private homes of NCEF trustees, with wines selected and poured by renowned vintners.

A festival highlight takes place at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples ( — a founding sponsor of the festival — with a culinary showcase and live auction of 67 lots. A wine-down party that evening and brunch the next day bring festivities to a close.

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

“Every year, people are drawn to Naples Winter Wine Festival for the opportunity to support an important cause, enjoy world-class wine and food, and bid on unique lots and experiences,” said Joan Clifford, NCEF trustee and co-chair of the festival with her husband, Bob.

“The yacht and cruise lots tend to generate enthusiastic bidding, with couples getting together ahead of the festival to plan their bidding strategies. And best of all, the money raised will have a direct impact on the quality of life for children in need.”

Descriptions of all auction lots and a complete schedule of festival events are available here (

Posted in Wine Buzz
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