Auction Napa Valley’s Florida cousin – the Naples Winter Wine Festival – recently reeled in $12.5 million at its live auction. As you recall the Napa auction raised $14.3 million last June under its white tent, which means it continues to hold the title of most successful wine charity auction in the world – at least for another year.

It seems the Napa and Naples auction take turns holding the title from year to year, but it is a title that holds a lot of cachet. While both auctions give generously to local causes, they also endeavor to market themselves with great prestige and the world’s most successful anything holds a lot of weight. After all, people could simple donate money directly to these local charities without all the hoopla.

The Napa auction has a wine focus, while Naples is more travel oriented, particularly this year with its theme “Celebrate the Journey.” Naples was truly a traveler’s dream with auction lots including trips to Argentina, Aspen, Australia, Botswana, Cyprus, Ecuador, France, Italy, Israel, Morocco, Napa Valley, Nashville, New Orleans, Nepal, New York, New Zealand, Switzerland, Tanzania and Zambia, and “around the world” trips on yachts and private jets.

Robert Kamen of Sonoma’s Kamen Estate Wines went to Naples for the first time.

“I went because I was invited to do a dinner,” Kamen said. “I think it was a great opportunity for a small vintner like myself to present wines to a wine sophisticated crowd.”

Kamen’s wine lot – three six liter bottles – went for $70,000.

“…for me, to see people throwing insane amounts of money with such gusto into a cause that benefits children directly was very satisfying and refreshing … what our lot raised made me happy, not so much for the winery, but for the kids who will benefit from the generosity the lot provoked.”