COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - It's the most successful charity wine event in the world. Since 2001, the Naples Winter Wine Festival has raised more than $100 million for underprivileged children in Collier County.
The big event is Saturday, but the excitement is already underway with private parties and dinners prepared by world famous chefs and vintners.
The night before the Naples Winter Wine Festival, homes throughout Naples transform.
WINK News got an exclusive look at two Vintner Dinners. Barbara and John Jordon along with the Wine Festival co-chairs Bob and Terry Edwards hosted a private dinner at the Edwards home with Michael Anthony, Executive Chef of Gramercy Tavern in New York City and Barbara and John Shafer of Shafer Vineyards in Napa.
Ralph and Shelly Stayer brought in chef Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia in Chicago to prepare their private dinner. The food was paired with wine from Italian Vintner Salvatore Ferragamo III.
"This, I believe, is the best wine auction in the country," says Ferragamo.
The Stayers transformed their Port Royal home into the Starship Enterprise for guests. "It takes probably six months of planning," says Shelly.
The food is prepared by world famous chefs and perfectly paired together with wine from the top Vintner's in the world.
"What better venue to present our wines and to have a fantastic occasion to really give back in a wonderful way," says Ferragamo.
Bob Edwards adds, "you can't walk into a restaurant anywhere in the world and have that tonight, but you can have it at the Wine Festival."
The wining and dining leads up to the big day where guests are asked to bid high and bid often on 65 lot items.
The dinners are an opportunity for trustees to explain to their guests why their support is so important.
"We understand each one of these children, more than 150,000 of them have a journey being made better because of the work that is being done," says Barbara Jordan.
As always, the goal is to raise as much money as possible for the Naples Children and Education Foundation. Every penny raised under the tent will go to the kids of Collier County.