Naples, FL, (December 18, 2008) -– Go fast or go green are two options for attendees of the 2009 Naples Winter Wine Festival. Among the items up for auction at the charity event on Feb. 7 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, are a 2009 Audi R8 sports car — nameplate winner of five races during this decade at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans — and a 2009 Smart Passion Cabriolet convertible, an eco-friendly automobile for two that made its U.S. debut in January.
“These two auction lots couldn’t be more different: the R8 can take its owner from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds while the Smart car maxes out at 90 mph. Yet each has its own very special appeal to entice our guests to bid high, including four bottles of the world’s finest wine and an exquisite ladies’ watch, which round out the Smart car lot,” said Tom Galloway, chair of the 2009 festival and a trustee of the Naples Children & Education Foundation. The foundation hosts the festival, with 100 percent of auction proceeds going to underprivileged and at-risk children.
The third automobile for festival attendees to eyeball is a 2009 Lexus GS 450h, a midsize luxury sport sedan hybrid, which will be raffled off Feb. 8 at the celebration brunch. Included with the Lexus is a golf ticket package to the 2009 U.S. Open Championship.
Automobiles featured at the 2009 Naples Winter Wine Festival:
2009 Audi R8–Lot No. 22 is a 2009 Ibis white Audi R8, dubbed a “transcendent sports car” by Audi, and it was just named Automobile Magazine’s Car of the Year. The R8 is surefooted, with all-wheel drive, lightweight aluminum construction and a sumptuous leather interior package. The two-seater has a 4.2-liter FSI V8 mid-engine, delivering 420 horses, and a six-speed, R-tronic automated manual transmission. One demonstration of the automobile’s fine German engineering is its ability to make 90-degree turns at 35 mph. The R8 also has a distinctive look, with LED daytime running lights inspired by the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world-famous sports car endurance race held annually in France since 1923. The interior is richly appointed in Nappa leather and Alcantara and a Bang & Olufsen sound system.
2009 Smart Passion Cabriolet convertible, with fine wine and a diamond-studded ladies watch–Lot No. 64 is a fully loaded, blue 2009 Smart Passion Cabriolet convertible. Only 8.8 feet long, the Smart car features a 70-horsepower, 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine. It has a tridion safety cell — a high-strength steel cage that protects passengers inside the vehicle by absorbing and displacing impact forces. Other safety and performance features include driver-and-passenger front-and-side air bags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, a collapsible steering column, hydraulic brake assist, hill start assist, cornering brake control, acceleration skid control, and engine torque control. Surprisingly roomy inside, the Smart car can accommodate people more than six feet tall and has eight cubic feet of cargo space plus a back trunk area.
Added to the Cabriolet auction lot are two bottles each of the finest wines produced in the world: 1989 Petrus and 1990 Lafite. The Petrus is a legendary 100-point wine, highly prized by wine collectors. The 1990 Lafite is an ageless wine, which can be cellared for up to three decades. Also included in the lot is a Patek Philippe “Twenty-4” ladies’ watch with stainless-steel bracelet, black dial and 36 diamonds. “You might say that doing the right thing and going green has its own rewards,” Galloway said.
2009 Lexus GS 450h with U.S. Open tickets–
Up for raffle is the 2009 Lexus GS 450h, with distinctive hybrid-specific instrumentation, wheels and badging. Its unique variation of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system totally eliminates the compromise of performance for fuel efficiency. The GS 450h’s 3.5-liter V6 engine and compact electric motor produce 340 horsepower, while still delivering up to 30 percent better fuel efficiency than a similarly powerful V8 engine, allowing this Lexus to achieve Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV II) status. The GS 450h has a full complement of luxury and convenience features, with standard amenities that are optional on other GS models.
The raffle package includes hospitality access passes, hotel accommodations and four tickets to the 2009 U.S. Open Championship to be held on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, N.Y. A ticket for the drawing is a $3,000 minimum suggested donation or two tickets for a $5,000 minimum suggested donation. No more than 350 tickets will be issued and the ticket holder need not be present to win.
The Naples Winter Wine Festival has been ranked by Wine Spectator magazine as the nation’s top charity wine auction since 2004 and by the Luxury Institute as a top 10 arts and entertainment event for wealthy Americans. The festival was founded by and is hosted annually in Naples, Fla., by trustees of the Naples Children & Education Foundation. Their vision was to create an exquisite event that would raise funds for area charities that assist underprivileged and at-risk children. Since the first festival in 2001, more than $69 million has been raised toward making a profound and sustainable difference for children in need.
For a schedule of 2009 festivities, a complete listing of the 65 auction lots and more information about the Naples Winter Wine Festival, please visit www.napleswinefestival.com, or call the wine festival office at 888-837-4919.