Vintners Barbara Banke of Sonoma County’s Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates and Annette Shafer of Napa Valley’s Shafer Vineyards are heading to Florida for the Naples Winter Wine Festival to pour their cabernet for generous palates who have an appetite for goodwill.
The Naples auction has raised more than $94.5 million since 2001 to create and expand charitable programs serving underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County.
Banke is expected to arrive in Naples this afternoon. Doug Shafer is already in Naples, but his wife Annette boarded one of the two private planes at 8 a.m. this morning set to whisk vintners off to Naples.
This swanky auction has become a yearly ritual for the top 1 percent of America with plenty of disposable income. While Auction Napa Valley focuses on the local wine culture, Naples is known as a “wine and lifestyle” auction featuring more travel and big ticket items like luxury cars, as well as wine from other countries.
Last January Naples live auction raised $12 million, surpassing Napa’s most recent live take of $5.8 million.
How has Naples managed to raise more money than Napa for seven straight years when it isn’t even a wine region? With local know-how from Napa and Sonoma and plenty of it.
Naples organizers tap into local expertise and credibility by having the majority of its U.S. vintners from Wine Country, with the remainder from other countries.
Participating vintners each contribute a signed magnum to the live auction’s Vintners Magnum lot. They each also contribute wine to an individual lot and often include exclusive tours, tastings and private winery dinners. Finally, they pour their wines at a vintner dinner during the auction weekend.
The Shafers have been participating in the Naples auction since 2004, and this year they’ll be pouring their wines at a vintner dinner as wells as contributing a lot.
“As a winery we’re in a good position to help a wide range of people with a lot of different needs,” Doug said. “If doing the right thing adds value to our brand I’m all for it.”
The Shafers’ lot features nearly 40 bottles of Shafer cabernet, a private session with Karen MacNeil, host of the PBS show “Wine, Food & Friends,” dinner with the vintners at their winery and a dinner at the French Laundry.
“Every year we donate wine to support a wide range of charity events both in Napa and around the country,” Doug said. “It’s part of our mission and core values.”
Banke’s lot that’s showcasing her Sonoma wine property– Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Estate — features 14 bottles of Stonestreet cabernet and a four-day trip to the Kentucky Derby for two couples.