Last night, three couples -- neighbors inside Naples' Mediterra community -- got together and set their sights on a trip to Burgundy, France.
They pored over the listing of lots and debated over wines and destinations. Lot number four, with its six magnums of wine, a week-long stay at the Château de la Crée and private tours of Burgundy vineyards, came out as the group’s most desired lot.
“We decided this was the first lot we were going to bid on,” said Harry Rose, a restaurateur who owns franchises on the east coast of the U.S. “We like wine but love Burgundy.”
Rose was designated as the group’s paddle holder while the other team members debated the bid amount and whispered in his ear.
“Maybe they thought I wouldn’t drink as much wine,” Rose said.
Let's meet some of our winners so far -- Lot 6, "Timeless Inspiration," went to Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane, who traveled to Naples from Sonoma County, California. The couple own Benovia Winery in Santa Rosa, and out bid the room for an 11-day trip through Italy.
Candy DeBartolo can’t drink too much, she said, but she’s into food.
So she kept raising her paddle in a bidding war for a special dinner and cooking class with renowned chef Mario Batali and superstar Glenn Close.
De Bartolo’s $400,000 got her the lot, and she is jazzed. The chance to dine with Glenn Close is quite the treat, DeBartolo said.
“She’s a special lady, and I admire her,” said DeBartolo.
DeBartolo is also opening a restaurant in Tampa that will be named “Sacred Pepper,” she said.
Learning from Batali will likely help, she said.
“Whatever I can pick up, as far as tips or whatever,” DeBartolo said.
Plus, she is making an impact in children’s lives and connecting with friends of friends.
“It’s such a small community,” DeBartolo said.
— Maryann Batlle