The Naples Winter Wine Festival returns in January

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The 2022 Naples Winter Wine Festival, under the theme “Twenty Twenty Twogether”, will take place from January 28th to 30th.

The 22nd annual event marks a return to an in-person format after the team switched to a virtual presentation last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fundraising, since its inception in 2001, has raised nearly $ 220 million for the Naples Children & Education Foundation.

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The foundation’s founding vice-president and trustee, Valerie Boyd, has seen the festival evolve over the decades around one central principle: the promise to help children.

“What is incredibly amazing to me is the generosity of the new directors over the years who have come to the Naples Winter Wine Festival, the Naples Children & Education Foundation, with the same commitment, their heart power, their soul power, their intelligence, to keep that promise, ”Boyd said. “They are determined to make the promise to make a profound difference in the lives of children.

Since its inception, more than 50 organizations have received grants from the foundation, including Better together, Champions of learning, Place of grace for children and families, and Saint Matthew House, among others.

Event leadership projects festival attendance in January with 650 people bidding on 44 auction lots. That’s less than the sixty-odd lots than the festival average, which the foundation’s CEO, Maria Jimenez-Lara, attributes in part to the current challenges of travel.

“We also found that through our virtual activity we had an amazing call to action and people seemed very, very willing to give generously to our paddle drive,” she said of the ‘final fundraising effort. “Our goal is to raise a little more money in this area to complement the money we will be raising in the auction lots.”

Although the team opted for fewer lots, they regrouped this smaller selection. The first batch, for example, which was traditionally a magnum of wine from each participating winemaker, now includes much more. The winning bidders will receive the magnums, but also a Ford Bronco First Edition 2021.

“It’s not a typical turn for us, but I think it could create some competition and some excitement,” Jimenez-Lara said.

While all the money raised during the festival goes directly to the efforts of the foundation, the donations are somewhat divided. The money from the auction lots benefits the foundation’s seven strategic initiatives: early learning, healthcare, hunger, mental health, oral health, out-of-school time and vision. However, the money raised through the festival’s final effort, the increase in the paddle dubbed “Raise the Grade”, will go to the foundation’s education initiatives.

“The kids have had it tough over the past year and a half. It’s going to take a lot of investment, and it will take a lot of time and energy to catch up, ”said Jimenez-Lara.

Nancy Oakes of Boulevard Restaurant in San Francisco will serve as the festival’s chef in addition to 16 other acclaimed chefs and 21 winegrowers.

Foundation board chairman Paul Hills said his passion is fueled by the measurable effect of their fundraising for the children of Collier County.

“Every penny raised from this tent auction goes directly to the children,” he said.

In addition, he highlighted the efforts of his team to make this possible.

“The harder you work on something, generally speaking, the better it will be,” Hills said. “I can tell you actually, since the virtual auction ended last year, we’ve been working really hard on this year’s auction.”

Tickets for the event start at $ 15,000. For complete information on auction lots, participating winemakers and chefs, visit napleswinefestival.com.

Andrew Atkins writes on food and articles for the Naples Daily News. Contact him by e-mail at [email protected]. To support work like Andrew’s, consider subscribing: https://cm.naplesnews.com/specialoffer/

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