They laugh about it now, but in 2008 when Bob and Terry Edwards (right), the current Naples Winter Wine Festival co-chairs, were invited to attend the event for the first time, it stirred a fight that ruined Bob’s favorite Sunday ritual. The couple has a habit of going out for brunch and reading The New York Times, which that morning ended with a long, quiet car ride home.
“I had heard so many great things about the festival and the foundation—how deeply committed to philanthropy its members were and the spirit of giving that carried through the weekend. I felt it was something both of us would enjoy being a part of,” Terry says.
Bob wasn’t so convinced. A managing director of Moran Edwards Asset Management Group, he was having trouble getting past the seemingly crazy economics of the situation. Approaching the weekend from a financial advisor’s standpoint and being naturally wired to find value in investments, he didn’t understand why people overbid. It seemed absurd to him to pay $1 million for a car when the max it was worth was $300,000.
Bob shares a smile with one of the children at last year’s Meet the Kids Day.
Photo by Tom Harper
Eventually Bob caved in and agreed to go with Terry to the festival. “I wanted to make her happy and didn’t want to let her down. I was reluctant but at the same time a bit curious,” he says.
The tide started to change at Meet the Kids Day. That year’s included a tour of the brand new NCEF Pediatric Dental Center, which resulted from a 2005 needs-assessment study commissioned by the NCEF showing 17,000 Collier children lacked basic oral care. The expansive facility offered top-of-the-line services and care.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Bob says. “Not only was this nicer than where I go to get my teeth cleaned, but I was impressed that the festival team was able to raise the money to provide this type of care to children and supervise the construction of the facility in such a short period of time.”
Next up was Ron and Barbara Balser’s vintner dinner. As soon as the Edwards walked onto the terrace of the penthouse condo and saw Philippe Starck acrylic ghost chairs and dry ice that cast an ethereal mist over the balcony, they were floored. “It felt like we were in the clouds. That night we had the best time, and it was the beginning of several friendships we hold dear today,” Terry says.
Ron and Barbara Balser’s stunning dream-like vintner dinner motivated the couple to consider joining the group.
Then Saturday at the auction, upon hearing the incessant chants of “it’s all for the kids” (the unofficial mantra of the trustees that’s always shouted in full force during the bidding)—and reflecting on the experiences of the previous day—Bob fully realized the value in what people paid for the auction lots. Not long afterwards, the couple joined the NCEF.
Things have progressed quickly for them: Since becoming trustees, less than three years later they volunteered to run the festival. As the 2013 chairs, they’ve practically been thinking about January 25-27 every waking minute for the past 12 months.
Funny how life works sometimes. In this case, they agree it was for the best.
The NCEF Pediatric Dental Center's medical team accepts an award in 2012.
2013 Auction Lots the Edwards are Most Excited About
As festival co-chairs, they supervised gathering the prizes up for grabs, spending many hours brainstorming and sourcing. Some top-notch picks:
- A four-night trip to Scotland for eight gents, with fishing, hunting, whiskey, golf at St. Andrews and a helicopter ride over Edinburgh.
- The Dancing with the Stars package with lessons from the TV pros in Bel Air and tickets to the show’s finale.
- Château Mouton Rothschild’s complete vertical, with one bottle from each year from 1945 to 2009, the most comprehensive collection to be offered at auction to date from the legendary French house.