Southwest Florida Wine and Food Festival Raises $2.1 Million for Children’s Health

The Southwest Florida Wine and Food Fest charity auction is back on track after going virtual in 2021, hosting an in-person event and raising $2.1 million for local pediatric care programs, more than half money from live auctions. The last time this top annual charity event topped the $2 million mark was in 2018, when it raised a total of $2.6 million.

The 14th annual live auction was held January 22 at Florida SouthWestern State College in Fort Myers. Over 300 guests helped raise $1.1 million in live auctions. Although the auction had to be moved indoors with less than 24 hours’ notice due to weather conditions, SWFL Children’s Charities Executive Director Heidi Davis said guests were delighted to finally be able to attend. attend in person.

“Raising more than $2 million for the first time in years to improve pediatric health care in our region for children and families was the highlight of the event,” Davis said. wine spectator. “There was a ton of excitement throughout the day, including great food, amazing wines, celebrations for winning auction lots and pyrotechnics.”

Davis added that his team has reduced the number of live auction lots over the years (there were 26 lots for this auction) and that seems to have helped raise more money. She attributes this to focusing on providing unique travel experiences rather than just lots of wine-only. It’s a model used by the Naples Winter Wine Festival, the nation’s largest charity wine auction, which many others have adopted.

“Wine High on That Mountain” was the top wine lot of the night, selling twice for $55,000 for a total of $110,000. The bundle included a three-night stay for three couples at the Diamond Mountain Estate in Napa, as well as 12 bottles of Lerner Project’s RMS Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (vintages 2018, 2017 and 2016). Another bestseller was a four-night trip to a private island in Belize, along with eight bottles of Patz & Hall Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which sold for $75,000. A wine-only lot of four magnums of Sonoma Verité red blends, specifically one bottle of La Desir, one bottle of La Muse and two bottles of La Joie 2006, sold for $3,500.

Since its inception in 2008, the SWFL Wine and Food Fest has donated more than $25 million to its three primary beneficiaries: Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Florida SouthWestern State. Middle School.

Elisha A. Tilghman