Since 2004, The Naples Winter Wine Festival has earned the distinction of being one of the most successful charity wine auctions 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) was based on creating an exquisite event with proceeds benefiting local charities that assist underprivileged and at-risk children. Upscale Living Magazine (ULM) caught up with Chef Ryan Hardy as he will be participating in this upcoming grand festival.
What inspired you to originally get involved in the Naples Winter Wine Festival?
We do a lot of charity work in the hospitality industry. Working with children is inspiring and since my in-laws spend quite a bit of time there, it makes it a personal connection for me and my own children.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s particular Festival?
The weather! Of course, as a New Yorker in January, I can say that – but seriously, the camaraderie of the chefs and collectors alike coming together to sponsor this event is lots of fun.
Are there any hints you can give us about the menu you’ll be preparing for this year’s Vintner Dinner?
We are fortunate enough to be working with Chateau Haut Brion and would love to focus on the intricacies between their infamous red and my personal favorite, the Haut Brion Blanc.
How will you collaborate with vintner Turid Hoel Alcaraz of Château Haut-Brion to augment the menu you’re preparing?
We are discussing the vintages, the selections and how the wines are showing before we write the food portion of the menu