It was a record-breaking weekend for the famous Naples Winter Wine Festival, raising over $20 million dollars to help local children in need. Last year, the festival brought in $15.9 million for comparison.
Since it’s inception in 2001, the Winter Wine Festival has raised more than $200 million for the Naples Children and Education Foundation. The impact made by the money raised extends to over 55,000 at-risk children in Southwest Florida, now thriving thanks to the generosity of donors.
“It’s a great thing to be part of this festival…I hope they raise a lot of money for the children because the children are our future.”
– Robert “Kool” Bell of Kool and The Gang.
An idea originally thought up by 11 friends drinking wine together at a meeting has now become a world-class wine festival. The Naples Winter Wine Festival is also annually ranked by Wine Spectator magazine as the top wine festival in North America and is among the top wine festivals in the world.
The multi-day celebration themed “Celebrate 20 Years of Cheers,” kicked off on Thursday, January 23rd, with a special one-day event of wine tasting and a luncheon.
On Friday, guests had a chance to meet the children whose lives have been changed through the impact of the charity festival and learned more about how the grants provide valuable resources for the children to excel.
For the Vintner Dinner Friday night, Naples Transportation provided 269 vehicles that made 365 guest pick-ups within a span of two hours going to 20 dinner locations throughout Naples. Guests enjoyed intimate dinners with award-winning chefs and celebrated vintners for an evening of unparalleled experiences.
The Hoffmann family co-hosted one of the Vintner Dinners this year with the Peter and Shirley Welsh of the Welsh family at the Naples Botanical Garden with 48 guests in attendance. The theme of the dinner event was “CELEBRATE” in conjunction with the “CELEBRATE 20 Years of Cheer” theme of the 2020 Naples Winter Wine Festival – and that’s exactly what they did!
The dinner was a whimsical, colorful event, perfect for the mission for children. Lark & Willow Events played off the explosion of colors of the 2020 NWWF logo starting with a custom, giant party popper invitation with a custom music clip playing “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang. The playful decor looked like a scene out of Avatar with the trees and landscape of the garden illuminated in rich, luminescent color. As guests turned the corner to enter into the cocktail reception, colorful, dancing Human Slinkies provided an unforgettable entrance. The Hoffmanns are extremely involved in local philanthropies. David Hoffmann is on the board of directors for NCEF and both, David and Jerri, are Trustees for the foundation.
On Saturday at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in North Naples, the famous live auction came to life. Guests entered the electrifying atmosphere under the tent to bid on extraordinary wines, travel packages, and one-of-a-kind experiences found nowhere else in the world. Many local businesses donated auction lots, including:
- a $300 Naples Princess Cruises trip with wine and hors d’oeuvres
- a mini-golf excursion for 30 people at Coral Cay Adventure Golf
- a Skybox at Hertz Arena for a Florida Everblades game
- a chef-inspired dinner with wine and cocktail pairings at The Bevy for 8 people
A great big thank you to all those involved. It was a great success – see you next year!
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David Hoffmann receives honorary Doctor of Humane Letters and gives commencement speech.
During the Friday evening ceremony, David Hoffmann, a UCM alumnus who has an outstanding career as a businessman and entrepreneur, was honored through the presentation