IT TOOK BIDDERS AND IMBIBERS a mere four hours to generate more than $8 million for underprivileged and at-risk children during the Naples Winter Wine Festival.
That’s Naples as in Florida, not Italy. The event was held at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, and the winning bids for the 61 lots ranged from $22,000 to $440,000.
No wonder Wine Spectator calls it “the most successful wine auction in the nation.” Sorry, Napa Valley...
Amazingly, the Naples Winter Wine Festival raised all that money without the aid of coconut bowling, which was a popular activity at another Florida extravaganza, the Key West Food and Wine Festival.
The four-day event shined the spotlight on Key West’s lively culinary scene, and for a ridiculous break from the sublime, many attendees tried their hand at coconut bowling, using hand-painted coconuts as balls flung at pineapple-shaped pins.
The video demonstrates a few different approaches to coconut bowling, and it quickly becomes apparent that how the coconut is peeled is very important.
You’ll also see the bounty of the festival, from ripe, brightly-hued vegetables to delectable shellfish. Of course, there’s also wine tasting, and if you listen carefully, you’ll hear a... uh... unique rendition of “Hit the Road, Jack.”
The festival in Naples may have raised a ton of cash, but the Key West fest seemed to be a lot more fun.