NAPLES _ The 2011 Naples Winter Wine Festival uncorked a new decade by raising more money than anyone imagined.
Organizers had high hopes for this year’s festival after a few years of dealing with a shaky economy. The auction didn’t disappoint.
Offering exotics trips, luxury cars, rare jewelry and world-class wines, the auction, held Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort at Tiburon, raised $12 million for children’s charities in Collier County.
“To get $12 million is a milestone in a new decade. It’s much more than I expected,” said Cynthia Sherman, who co-chaired this year’s festival with her husband, Bruce, known as a financial guru.
“I’m over the moon,” she said.
The signs of success came early. The first 10 lots fetched more than twice what they did in 2010. Nine lots brought more than $300,000. One of them — a bronze sculpture by world-renowned Spanish artist Manolo Valdes — raised $1 million, the highest bid of the day.
Other big-ticket items included a 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia Sports Coupe that went for $950,000 and a 10-day Alaskan cruise that brought in $480,000. Perfection — a lot of 100 wines rated at the top 100-points — sold for $400,000.
The auction had raised a little more than $11.9 million, but this year’s co-chairs kicked in an extra $100,000 at the end, pushing the total to $12 million.
“That’s because my husband likes round numbers,” Cynthia Sherman explained. “I was going to be happy if we would have made $10 million. I would be happy to make anything.”
Saturday’s total was the fourth-highest amount raised at auction since the festival started in 2001. The record year came in 2007, when the event brought in $15.6 million. In 2008, $14 million was raised. Then a bad economy took its toll: 2009 brought in about $5 million. In 2010, the auction raised $8 million.
MORE COVERAGE OF THE 2011 NAPLES WINTER WINE FESTIVAL
2011 NAPLES WINTER WINE FESTIVAL
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