There is nothing like this event anywhere else in Southwest Florida. Heck, anywhere else in the United States. It’s an exclusive event and it attracts people from around the country and also the world. Tickets start at $15,000. I’ve been fortunate enough to cover this event for several years as a food and wine writer. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, the wine God’s surprise me. I’m taking you behind the scenes at the 33 Million Dollar Naples Winter Wine Fest (NWWF). Yes, $33 million was raised in one afternoon. Amazing.

The NWWF is one of the most successful wine auctions in the country and the world. The money is donated to 60 different charities that support underprivileged and at risk kids. The festival began in 2001 and over the years has raised $269 million. It’s held on the lawn at The Ritz Carlton, Tiburon and begins with an epic food and wine tasting. Ritz Carlton chefs from around the country serve creative bites and there are tables full of breads, cheeses and desserts. Delicious.

Next, tables full of wine. Selections include many you’ll never see on any wine list in Southwest Florida. They are rare vintages, large formats and from cult wine producers. Some are wines you will only see in the cellars of avid collectors. However, here you can taste them with abandoned. Go!

Finally, here are a few pics of the food and wine served at the Naples Winter Wine Fest.

Those photos don’t even scratch the surface of the wow wines that were served and the beautiful small bites. Besides the food, there was fashion under the tent. Dress to impress. That was the memo. Outstanding.

Finally, patrons were ushered into a huge auction tent. Ready, set, go. $320,000 was raised on the first lot. There were 50 lots and the $10 million mark was hit less than half way through. However, minds were blown at lot #29. It brought in $2.7 million. Six couples sail around the Mediterranean on a private yacht with a crew of 27 plus a few more perks. Wow.

Meanwhile, here are a few more photos. Check them out. Bravo on a job will done.

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