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Luxury Living

Luxury Living

The Naples Winter Wine Festival is ranked among the top 10 arts and entertainment events for wealthy Americans. This ranking by the Luxury Institute is based on exclusivity, quality and prestige. Since 2004, the festival has earned the distinction of being the most successful charity wine auction in the nation according to Wine Spectator. The event brings many of the world's finest vintners and chefs together with wine collectors and philanthropists for a three-day gala in picturesque Naples, Florida.

The trustees' vision of the Naples Children & Education Foundation (NCEF) made the dream of the Naples Winter Wine Festival a reality. The vision was based on creating an exquisite event, with proceeds benefiting local charities that assist underprivileged and at risk children. These two goals drive the trustees to ensure the festival is a huge success, with a significant impact on the quality of life for our community’s most venerable children.

Mission & Vision

Proceeds from the festival benefit the Naples Children & Education Foundation, whose vision is to make a profound and sustaining difference in the quality of children’s lives. NCEF is committed to supporting charitable programs that improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of underprivileged and at risk children in Collier County. Since its inception in 2001, the Naples Winter Wine Festival has raised more than $107 million for children in need.

The Festival by the Numbers

$107 million Amount raised by the Naples Winter Wine Festival since 2001 - funds go directly to improving the lives of underprivileged and at risk children
$12.2 million Total raised for children’s charities at the 2012 festival
$6.18 million Total money distributed in 2012 for annual grants to local children's charities
$1.25 million Total money designated in 2012 to support three long-term strategic initiatives
580 guests Festival guests in 2012
$8,500 Cost for one couple to attend the festival
$20,000 Cost for two couples to attend the festival and the same Friday evening vintner dinner at one of 17 elegant private homes
67 auction lots One-of-a-kind treasures and experiences to be auctioned off at the 2012 festival
$2 million Winning bid at the 2007 festival for a Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe and one of the highest bids ever for a single lot at a charity wine auction
100 x 148 foot tent Set on the Grand Lawn of The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples  for the auction and Sunday brunch
2,500 wine glasses Filled at Saturday’s culinary showcase
400 volunteers Help prepare for the auction and are involved during the festivities as wine stewards, greeters, auction spotters, cheerleaders, etc.


Looking for a new and different location to dine? Then check out Agave Southwestern Grill in North Naples. Agave is new and different. It’s a difference you will really taste featuring a sophisticated menu inspired by Spanish and Mexican cuisine. Boat-fresh cerviches, house made fresh tortillas and tamales, guacamole prepared tableside to your exact specifications, plus some of the best burgers you will ever taste in town.

They also have a great Happy Hour until 7 pm, with a 15-foot tequila tower and more-than-200 different tequila selections. Plus, it is open for brunch on Sunday, which many locals don't know about and their Brunch features the area’s only complimentary Bloody Maria bar! From its sophisticated, creative menu to the Southwest-meets-contemporary décor, this highly acclaimed 300-seat restaurant welcomes guests with outstanding cuisine and warm hospitality in an inviting setting. Don't miss it!


Mercedes-Benz S-Class wins ‘Best Luxury Car’ 2012

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has added to its outstanding list of achievements by collecting the Car Buyer ‘Best Luxury Car’ Award 2012

Mercedes-Benz S-Class wins ‘Best Luxury Car’ 2012


The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has added to its outstanding list of achievements by collecting the Car Buyer ‘Best Luxury Car’ Award 2012. The judges agreed that “beautifully built and offering unrivalled comfort, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is still the best luxury car on sale.” The Mercedes-Benz flagship model already has an impressive history of award success, including WhatCar? Best Luxury Car of the Year for the last seven consecutive years, and six years as Auto Express’s Best Luxury car.

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has proved itself a leading luxury saloon benchmark for some 30 years, yet it also boasts some of the world’s most advanced harmful emissions-reducing engine technology.

The Mercedes-Benz S 350 BlueTEC is now fitted with ECO start/stop as standard making it even more efficient than before. Ten per cent more efficient is the Mercedes S 350 BlueTEC returning 45.6 mpg on the combined cycle while CO2 emissions have been reduced by 7 per cent to 164 g/km.

Since its launch in 2005 over 440,000 S-Class have been sold worldwide and over 13,800 of these were sold in the UK. The Mercedes-Benz S 350 BlueTEC is available on the road from £60,605.00 and £64,605.00 for the S 350 BlueTEC LWB.


Want to buy a Billion-Dollar Yacht? 


It was only a matter of time. In November, Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani welcomed guests into his new 27-story Mumbai home, thought to be the world’s most expensive private residence with a $1 billion price tag. Now, a UK yacht designer is giving the ultra-rich a chance to one-up Ambani by owning what is being described as the world’s first $1 billion yacht.

The 500-foot behemoth is called ‘Streets of Monaco’, and is actually modeled after the European principality, a haven for billionaires. On the top deck will be replicas of famous Monaco landmarks like the Monte Carlo Casino, Hotel de Paris, Cafe de Paris, La Rascasse, and Loews Hotel, as well as a fully functional go-kart circuit based on the Monaco Grand Prix race track. Other extravagant bells and whistles include multiple swimming pools, a swim-in Jacuzzi bar, a multi-use court for tennis and basketball, a ‘dance hall’, a spa with a hair salon, and enough space to accommodate 16 guests and 70 staff. And don’t forget the submarine and helipad.

Artist's impression of the interior 'oasis' area

There is, of course, no guarantee that ‘Streets of Monaco’ will ever make it into the water. First, a client with a big enough wallet needs to come forward. “This is just a concept at this point,” said Scott Poxon, director of Yacht Island Design, the firm behind the project. “That said, there is a notable amount of detail in place. It would need a commission in order to finalize design requirements of the client and to commence the construction.”

Poxon added that while various newspaper reports have estimated that ‘Streets of Monaco’ could cost £700 million ($1 billion), which would make it the most expensive yacht in the world, the firm has yet to discuss price. “We have not ever quoted any price as this would be agreed between the client and the selected ship yard and would vary significantly depending on specifications,” he said.

The owner's apartments aboard 'Streets of Monaco'.

If an ultra-rich client indeed commissions his or her own floating replica of Monaco, it may be the most expensive yacht on the water, but it won’t be the biggest. That honor goes to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s 557-foot ‘Eclipse’. For now, at least. As with Ambani’s Mumbai palace, billionaire homes and toys only get more extravagant each year.


Of Course the World’s Most Expensive Existing Private Yacht Has Its Own Laser Shield

Of Course the World's Most Expensive Private Yacht Has Its Own Laser ShieldWhat does one do with an extra $590 million burning a hole in his pocket? Well, if one is Chelsea boss and multi-kagillionaire Roman Abramovich, one commissions the construction of a floating pleasure island replete with early-warning missile detection. The only thing it's missing are those cute mini-giraffes.

The yacht, christened the M/Y Eclipse, is 536 feet long—11 meters longer than the previous record holder, which belonged to Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai—and weighs 13,000 gross tons. It was built at at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany but was designed—inside and out—by Terence Disdale Design and engineered by Francis Design.

It boasts 24 guest cabins (each with a six-foot movie screen), two swimming pools, multiple hot tubs, and a discotheque. The ship is serviced by a crew of 70 and requires an estimated $60 million a year in upkeep.

Getting onto the ship—assuming you're invited—is easy. In addition to its dual helipads, the Eclipse also features a mini-submarine dive-rated to 50 meters and three smaller landing boats.

Getting onto the ship when you aren't invited is not advisable. For starters, the ship is outfitted with long-range radar designed to give the crew time to maneuver the floating behemoth in the event of missile attack. And, if the crew can't avoid the missiles, the bridge and Abromovich's cabin are both wrapped in armor plating and bullet proof windows. It even has anti-bugging equipment throughout to prevent spying. And God help you if your one of the paparazzi. The Eclipse is equipped with a laser shield system that sweep around the ship and, upon detecting a CCD, shine directly at the source to spoil any potential photo.

The ship entered service in December 2010 and Abramovich must have bored with it rather quickly—he began chartering it through SuperYachtsMonaco in February 2011.


NBA Great Michael Jordan Offers his $29 Million Highland Park Mansion for Sale

Inside Michael Jordan's $29 Million Mansionsee photos

Click for full photo gallery: Inside Michael Jordan's $29 Million Mansion

Over the past month celebrity buzz erupted in the world of professional basketball as Jeremy Lin, a point guard for the New York Knicks led the team to nine wins after weeks of warming a bench. The so-called Linsanity that has ensued led to a Time Magazine cover, real estate rumors and comparisons to NBA greats of generations past. But while Lin may have whipped basketball fans into a fast frenzy, he still has a ways to go to be able to live like NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan. And I’m not talking about the game. I’m talking about real estate.

Michael Jordan, a six-time NBA champion, just listed his sprawling Highland Park, Ill. mansion for sale. The price tag? A hefty $29 million. It’s currently the most expensive public listing in the Chicago area. And if it fetches even close to that amount it will break records because, as the Chicago Tribune notes, the most expensive sale in the area ever was a $16 million Lake Bluff home in 2007.


Jordan’s massive 56,000-square foot estate comes furnished with nine bedrooms, 15 full bathrooms and four half bathrooms spread across three levels. There’s also a three-bedroom guesthouse. The seven plus-acre complex includes three separate climate-controlled multi-car garages, a pool area, an outdoor tennis court, a deep water pond and a putting green. The gated entrance is emblazoned in a giant number 23, the jersey number Jordan, 49, famously wore during his first stretch with the Chicago Bulls before retiring for the first time in 1993.

Not surprisingly, there’s also a basketball court. Attached to the main house, the recreational facility boasts a full size regulation basketball court equipped with cushioned hardwood floors, adjustable backstops and baskets, “competition-quality” lighting and a sound system. The professional-grade facility, completed in 2001, has its own parking area and a separate entrance.

“The property is being marketed to individuals with an appreciation for its privacy, luxury and unique features,” explains listing agent Katherine Chez-Malkin of Baird & Warner Real Estate. Luxury Portfolio International is marketing the amenity-laden manse internationally. ”The fact that this is Michael Jordan’s home obviously makes it one-of-a-kind and very special.”

Completed in 1995, the estate served as Jordan’s longtime home with ex-wife Juanita and their three children. It took two years to build and was designed “to Jordan’s exacting specifications,” according to the listing. Divorced in 2006, after 17 years of marriage, Jordan, who became the majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats franchise in 2010, announced plans in December to marry model Yvette Prieto.

“Michael has chosen to sell for a variety of personal reasons. He’s building a new house in Florida and has decided it was time to downsize,” adds Malkin. Jordan has been constructing a 28,000-square foot estate in The Bear’s Club, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf community in Jupiter, Fla. That home is projected to cost upwards of $12 million to build.

Norman Love Confections- the ultimate Valentine's Day "Artistry in Chocolate"
Norman Love chocolates are the most Beautifully decorated chocolates that I have ever seen in my life. These hand-painted or air-brushed pieces of artwork look like edible glass. 
Each handmade chocolate is an edible work of art that will arouse all of your senses.  Bursting with flavor, Norman Love Confections® offers unique gourmet recipes including over thirty different flavors such as passion fruit, praline, caramel, pistachio and many more. My friend also told me this confectioner has been rated number one for chocolates by Consumer Reports.
This "chocolate salon" now headquarters in Naples, located right next to one of my favorite restaurants, home of the best Chilean Sea Bass I have ever tasted, USS Nemo's.
Two of my favorite eateries, now right next door to each other! But, don't worry if you don't live in Naples, they will ship to you anywhere.

Make a luxury statement for your Valentine ....True Valentine’s Day Statement Piece: Blancpain’s 2012 St. Valentin Watch
Frequently featured on, Blancpain is undoubtedly one of the legendary watchmakers in the world.  In the spotlight this time is a glitzy new addition to their Blancpain Women collection. Following its tradition of Valentine’s Day romance, Blancpain is unveiling its annual exclusive creation for Valentine’s Day with a new limited design watches, the Saint-Valentin Chronograph 2012.
With its diamond-set bezel and lugs, caseband set with four diamonds and a heart-shaped ruby, crown adorned with a diamond and pushpieces covered with cabochon-cut rubies, the Saint-Valentin Chronograph is the statement piece of this season.  Its engraved mother-of-pearl dial, featuring a marquetry-work motif composed of three white mother-of-pearl hearts and set with eight diamonds, and delicately hand painted heart shape, all highlight the intense attention to detail infused into this exquisite line of watches.

The sapphire crystal back of the 36 mm case features 308 parts and 37 jewels, along with the oscillating weight clothed in pink mother-of-pearl.  With a nod to tradition, the Saint-Valentin Chronograph 2012 uses the same self-winding Calibre F185 featured in the very first ladies’ flyback chronograph model.  This model is exclusively available through Blancpain’s boutiques.

Acclaimed as the world’s oldest watch brand, Blancpain has been heralded for its aesthetic and technology since its inception in 1735.  Founded by Jehan-Jaques Blancpain, this luxury Swiss watch manufacturer is famous for being the creator of some of the most complicated mechanical watches ever created in history.

spyderAudi announces the limited edition 2012 Model Year R8 GT Spyder
The 2012 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for the limited-edition R8 GT Spyder is as follows: MSRP $210,000 (excludes $1,200 Destination and Delivery and Taxes)

Even lighter, more powerful and captivating, the Audi R8 GT Spyder delivers breathtaking performance. The open-top flagship version of the high-performance sports Coupe features a 5.2-liter V10 with direct injection and has been boosted to an output of 560 horsepower. With the reduced weight and increased engine performance, the R8 GT Spyder accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 197 mph.

Using the principles of Audi ultra lightweight technology, the R8 GT Spyder has trimmed a full 187.39 lbs from an already low weight, increasing fuel economy, performance, strength and rigidity. The engine frame is constructed of ultra-light magnesium, and the long cover over the soft-top compartment and the large side panels at the rear are made of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. A fixed rear spoiler also made of carbon fiber composite provides the necessary downforce on the rear axle. The Audi R8 GT Spyder is capable of extreme lateral acceleration and engineered to deliver exceptional responsiveness through its sport suspension has a stiffer calibration and lowers the the R8 GT Spyder by ten millimeters versus the R8 V10 Spyder.Legendary quattro all-wheel drive system provides exceptional grip on 19 inch wheels and xyz ventilated and cross-drilled rotors provide exceptional stopping power.

Visual styling cues include a performance enhancing enlarged diffuser, front splitter and a fixed rear spoiler.

The interior is black and can be adorned with stitching in a choice of Titanium Gray or Crimson Red for added refinement. Alcantara applications include, seat inserts, flat-bottom sport steering wheel, hand brake cover and windshield frame.

R8 GT Spyder customer vehicle deliveries will begin as of February.

*Article from Luxury

Private Vineyards of the Wealthy and Famous

I have sold and seen many luxury condos, mountain estates and beach house mansions over the past thirty years. I have been on private islands and handled the sale of trophy properties. But now, the newest trend in real estate acquisitions for wine lovers is to own your own vineyard and grow your own premium variety. Here is a list of rich and famous who have purchased their personal vineyard, and maintained them as a part of their exclusive list of assets, including Donald Trump, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Sam Nell, Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp, David Beckham and Kate Moss.

Bling Water

And, if alcohol is not your gig, you can stick with Bling Water. For the uber-rich, who have a blingy lifestyle can now go even more overboard with Bling H20, costing, £30. Bling H2O comes in 750ml frosted bottles studded with sparkling Svarowski crystals. The bling water was earlier meant just for Hollywood celebs and hi-fi socialite circle, but now you can gulp it down all for $50.

The World's Most Expensive Valentine's Day
Exotic orchids from Malaysia, gilded greeting cards, $215,000 perfume with Bacarrat crystals and diamonds, choclate truffles made from rare truffle oil and chocolate. at $2,100 per pound, or the ultimate Patek Phillippe watch, with 38 carats in heart shaped diamonds plus another 260 pear shaped diamonds, for a mere $25 M. What will you be giving your honey this year?