Record-Breaking $33 Million Raised for At-Risk Children at 2024 Naples Winter Wine Festival Live Auction

The 2024 Naples Winter Wine Festival (NWWF) this past weekend chaired by Ralph and Shelly Stayer achieved a remarkable milestone by raising over $33 million through its live auction. This annual event, themed “Generosity in Full Bloom,” continues to provide vital support to at-risk and underprivileged children in Collier County. Since its inception in 2001, the NWWF has now generated a staggering total of nearly $302 million for the cause.

2024 Naples Winter Wine Festival Chairs, Ralph and Shelly Stayer and Guests with restored Ford Bronco

Photo Credit: Mila Bridger

The Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF), the pioneering force behind the Naples Winter Wine Festival, is dedicated to enhancing the educational, emotional, and health prospects of disadvantaged and vulnerable children. Leveraging its yearly grants and well-planned initiatives, NCEF has left a profound mark on nearly 90 highly impactful nonprofit organizations within the local community, delivering essential services and resources to empower over 300,000 children to achieve their full potential. NCEF’s distinctive methodology, founded on fostering collaboration among organizations and uniting public and private resources, serves as a model for effecting positive change within a community, one issue at a time.

2024 Naples Winter Wine Festival Volunteers

Photo Credit: Mila Bridger

Under the grand tent outside The Ritz-Carlton Naples, Tiburón, festival attendees gathered to bid on 50 extraordinary, one-of-a-kind live auction lots, featuring rare wines and exclusive travel and culinary experiences.

2024 Naples Winter Wine Festival Live Auction

Photo Credit: Mila Bridger

The proceeds from this year’s event will benefit nearly 90 nonprofit organizations in the community that have positively impacted over 300,000 local children, offering them essential services and resources for their growth and success.

2024 Naples Winter Wine Festival Auctioneer Humphrey Butler

Photo Credit: Mila Bridger

During the Naples Winter Wine Festival, the 2025 Chairs were introduced, including Nena & Bill Beynon, Debbi & Bill Cary, Denise & Brian Cobb, Shirlene Elkins, Valerie Boyd & Jeff Gargiulo, Libby & Rick Germain, Julia & Rob Heidt, Jr., Barbie & Paul Hills, and Simone and Scott Lutgert.Highlights of the live auction included:

“Sailing the Turquoise Waters of the Mediterranean”
Sold for $2.7 million, this package grants six couples a seven-night Mediterranean cruise aboard the 312-foot superyacht M/Y Whisper, promising an opulent and adventurous experience.

“Driving on the Wings of a Cloud”
A 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre, the brand’s first all-electric vehicle auctioned in the U.S. this year, went for an impressive $1.4 million.

“25 Years of Wine, Music, and Generosity”
Forty couples collectively contributed $1 million for an exclusive evening at D’Amico’s The Continental, featuring a gourmet meal paired with wines from former NWWF Honored Vintners.

“Million Dollar Meal… ALL for the Kids!”
Another $1 million was raised by 40 couples for an exclusive dinner at The Surf Club Restaurant at the Four Seasons in Surfside, Florida, with all proceeds dedicated to children in need in Collier County.

“Cruising the Islands of Croatia”
A winning bid of $800,000 allowed four couples to embark on an eight-night exploration of Croatia’s enchanting islands, hosted by Kelley and Jim Bailey.

“Unbelievably Utah”
A $800,000 bid secured a week of luxury in Salt Lake City, complete with ski-in/ski-out access and access to top local restaurants.

“Driving to Victory with Aston Martin and F1”
A lucky bidder drove away in a 2024 Aston Martin DB12 Volante convertible for $650,000, along with exclusive access to Aston Martin’s F1 Paddock Club.

“Southeast Asian Sojourn through Vietnam and Thailand”
Two couples enjoyed a nine-night cultural exploration of Thailand and Vietnam for $650,000, complete with helicopter tours and fine dining.

“The Rarest of the Rare”
A $650,000 winning bid allowed two couples to experience a six-night journey in France, including private tours, tastings, and a collection of rare champagne.

Additionally, the “Fund a Need” campaign, titled “Putting Down Roots: Early Learning GROWS a Healthy Mind,” saw generous on-the-spot donations exceeding $7.8 million. These contributions will support NCEF’s early learning and mental health initiatives, ensuring that children receive the necessary resources and services for their growth and well-being.

The 2024 Naples Winter Wine Festival began with an exclusive Grand Crew Party at Campiello restaurant in Old Naples, honoring renowned winemaker Véronique Boss-Drouhin and acclaimed Chef Paul Bartolotta.

Throughout the weekend, festival-goers enjoyed intimate dinners prepared by celebrity chefs and vintners at private homes and exclusive locations.

While the festival has concluded, opportunities to participate remain available through the online auction, as well as donations to Fund a Need until Tuesday, January 30 at 5 p.m. (EST). The funds raised will be distributed as grants to local organizations supporting children in need in Collier County.