Monday, February 06, 2012

Naples Winter Wine Festival 2012

If you haven't heard of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, google it!  It's one of the largest fundraisers in the world, where a tent full of millionaires bid on wine lots and other goodies for four hours!  This year's festival raised over $12 million dollars!

This Naples photographer had the good fortune of photographing one of the private Vintner dinners at one my favorite clients' home.  Sandi and Tom Moran have done so much for this community and they sure know how to put on a party!
Tom and Sandi Moran
The Moran's family room was transformed into a magical retreat!  Purple lights, chandeliers installed for the occasion, drapes and a fabulous mirror covered their entertainment unit.
The furniture was all put in storage for this once in a lifetime event.
The mirror was really a show stopper!
 The color scheme was turquoise and purple with gold accents.  Margaret Short of MargaretEvents.com is not only about the most organized woman on earth, but she has an eye for fabulous!!  The floral arrangements with orchids, gold wire sculptures and turquoise glass beads were created by Grace Lakes Florist.  April Wood and her team of florists have been creating floral masterpieces in the Naples area for many years.

The staircase had a LOT of small candles!
  Candles were everywhere!  


Of course world renowned celebrity chefs were brought in!  Chef Rick Tramonto and Chef John Folse of Restaurant R'evolution in New Orleans.
Chef Rick Tramonto and Chef John Folse
 World champion cabaret dancers Eric Luna and Georgia Ambarian gave an unbelievable show in the Moran's back lanai.
Eric Luna with George Ambarian
Of course, Avant-Garde Images, Inc. (yes, that's us!) took beautiful portraits as the guests came in.  My wonderful assistant, Dylan Glasgow, printed them with our portable high speed professional photo lab right onsite and had them ready in custom made frames as the guests departed.  
Portraits by Peggy Farren of Avant-Garde Images, Inc. in custom frames were part of the take away gifts that night.

Chef John Folse's book on Cajun and Creole Cuisine was one of the gifts for the guests.

 Next day:
NAPLES WINTER WINE FESTIVAL!!

Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort

The next day the festivities began at 11 a.m.  Yes, the people who attended vintner dinners were moving a little slow!  LOL!  From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. festival attendees looked at the Lots of wine and other goodies that would soon be going up for auction.

Now I went in as a photographer for Florida Weekly newspaper.  I've had a freelance job with Florida Weekly for about three years now. I LOVE Florida Weekly!  This newspaper just started a few years ago and has grown so quickly because it is so enjoyable to read.  If you'd like to read about and see a LOT more pictures - please pick up this week's newspaper or read it online:  http://naples.floridaweekly.com/news/2012-02-02/Top_News/Believe_IN_THE_MAGIC.html

At the end of the day, the Naples Winter Wine Festival 2012 raised over $12 million dollars, bringing the total the festival has brought in since its inception in 2001 to over $100 million dollars! 
Everyone, including auction guest Retta Singer had fun!

 Over 500 auction guests.
Three auctioneers took turns so that there was no break in the bidding for four hours!




There was a lot of pressure to bid!  They'd put your face on two huge screens!  But then they'd give you recognition when you won!  Bob Edwards of Moran Edwards Asset Management Group.
 I had the pleasure of meeting Prince Robert of Luxembourg.  He was gracious enough to come back into the Lot room for a portrait.  Prince Robert donated this custom made wooden box with wines from his vineyard Ch√Ęteau La Mission Haut-Brion. Out of curiosity, I googled his wines - it looks like the price for one bottle starts at $400 and goes up from there!
By the way, he was a VERY nice human being!
Prince Robert of Luxembourg               


In the end, it's all for children's charities.  The Wine Festival is the major fundraiser for the Naples Children and Education Foundation (NCEF).  NCEF’s mission statement to support programs that improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of underprivileged and at risk children.
You can read more about the charity and festival on their website: http://www.napleswinefestival.com