At Laetitia, we’re proud to be part of an industry that gives back. We enjoy participating in the Central Coast Wine Classic that raises money for the arts locally, but our auction never prepared me for the masterful fundraising displayed at the Naples Winter Wine Festival in Florida last month. A luxurious weekend affair, over $13,000,000 was raised at auction for underprivileged and at risk children.
On Friday night, at co-chair Anne McNulty’s beautiful home, I met David Pearson from Opus One. Opus One’s incredible flight of wines was paired with delicacies cooked by the young three Michelin star chef Christopher Kostow from Meadowood. It was real treat to talk to Ian Cauble, star of the recent documentary Somm, and listen to him speak eloquently about the wines we were tasting. Walking into the auction tent on Saturday afternoon to the accompaniment of cheerleaders with pom-poms, and a brass band with a drum corps, left no doubt in our minds that we were at the Superbowl of Food & Wine charity auctions. The skilled auctioneers kept the energy, excitement and bids mounting as each uniquely curated lot brought in more money. I enthusiastically waived my paddle, in vain, for the exotic trips to Israel, Cuba, New Orleans and Japan; I was awed by the yellow Lamborghini (bought by former racing driver Roger Penske), and amused by the young filly packaged in a lot from Lompoc’s Hilliard Bruce.
Although we were not part of the auction, I talked about Laetitia and NADIA wines and was thrilled to spot a bottle of our own Estate Pinot Noir front and center on the wine table at the Wine Down dinner dance on Saturday night. After the event, wanting some Laetitia, I stopped in at the delicious Bha! Bha! Persian Bistro for dinner and a glass of Laetitia Pinot Noir. The owner, Michael Mir and Rado, the buying manager, greeted me enthusiastically. They love our wines, I love their food. I came home from my weekend empty handed, but with great memories. After all, I had had a photo-op in the red Maserati which my great friend Anne McNulty miraculously won in the raffle. As one of 3 co-chairs, Anne had worked very hard to make this event fun and to raise money for the children of Naples. Fortunately karma had rewarded us all.