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Goldman, Puck Help Charity Wine Weekend Aiming for $100 Million

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Wolfgang Puck
Wolfgang Puck at his restaurant CUT in Los Angeles. Photographer: Richard Vines/Bloomberg

Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- The Naples Winter Wine Festival sold out this year, thanks to Wolfgang Puck, Tony Mantuano and about 15 other chefs and a lot of wine.

The three-day Florida event, which raises money for disadvantaged children, will serve high-end food and wine to 600 ticketholders who paid $8,500 to $20,000 per couple. One of the top charity wine auctions in the U.S., it raised $12.1 million last year and has brought in $94.6 million since it began in 2000.

“Wolfgang Puck is a name that attracts a lot of attention,” Robert Clifford, the event’s co-chairman and founding partner of the Chicago-based Clifford Law Offices PC, said by phone. “To have him throw in his time and talent for this charity is something we’re so grateful for.”

Before the three-day event starts, there will be a wine tasting and lunch tomorrow (also sold out) honoring Prince Robert of Luxembourg, the president and chief executive officer of Domaine Clarence Dillon, parent company of Chateau Haut-Brion and its adjoining property, Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion. Attendees who paid $2,500 will sample wines from five of its most acclaimed vintages: 1961, 1982, 1989, 1990 and 2000.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will host a Friday event that will introduce some of the attendees to the children aided by the event’s parent organization, the Naples Children & Education Foundation, and nonprofits it supports. Also on Friday, Puck and other chefs will prepare meals for groups of 40 in the homes of the foundation’s trustees and supporters.

‘Treasure Chest’

On Saturday, wine collectors will compete for rare and prized vintages and luxury travel experiences at an auction that in recent years has raised an average of $8 million in five hours, Clifford said. The highlights include prized bottles from the Verite Vineyard in California; a Haut-Brion “Treasure Chest” which includes a mix of reds, whites and older vintages; and a two-week voyage for four aboard a luxury ship with a private chef.

Clifford said he hopes the event will raise the 12-year total past the $100 million mark. (By comparison, the annual Auction Napa Valley in California took 31 years to reach that milestone.)

Mantuano of Chicago’s Spiaggia, a President Barack Obama favorite and known for his masterful interpretations of classic Italian dishes, is the festival’s chef de cuisine, an honor bestowed on him for his service in five festivals. He will serve caviar with burrata cheese and Wagyu steak with a porcini mushroom salad.

“Chefs and restaurateurs like me do so many charity events, and there’s nothing more rewarding than helping children,” Mantuano said by phone.

Among the other chefs are New Yorkers Nick Anderer of Maialino, Justin Bogle of Gilt and Bill Telepan of Telepan; Nancy Silverton of Osteria Mozza and Joachim Splichal’s Patina, both from Los Angeles; Charles Phan of the Slanted Door in San Francisco; Stephan Pyles of his Dallas namesake; and Rick Tramonto of Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans.

(The sold-out festival runs Friday through Sunday. There’s a waiting list in case of last-minute cancellations. Information: +1-239-514-2239 or http://www.napleswinefestival.com)

To contact the writer on this story: Patrick Cole in New York at pcole3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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