THE NEWS-PRESS: CHEFS BRING WINE & FOOD FEST FLAVORS HOME

WINE AND FOOD FEST FLAVORS.pdfLee County’s most prestigious and profitable fundraiser is mere days away. Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest kicks off Friday night with 10 exclusive vintner dinners that will be held in homes around the area.

More than a dozen local chefs are kicking things into high gear in anticipation of these dinners, and of the Grand Tasting and Auction to be held Saturday at Miromar Lakes Beach Club. The festival has raised more than $11.6 million for the Golisano Children’s Hospital, Florida Southwestern State College’s pediatric nursing program and Florida Gulf Coast University’s music therapy program.

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NAPLES DAILY NEWS: Morsels of Experience

MORSELS OF EXPERIENCEExecutive Chef Brent Moore at Tiburón Golf Club in North Naples has been a kind of Johnny Appleseed in reverse. He’s gathered choice morsels from Colorado to New York to Texas and points between. Sometimes, he found them at culinary school, but most often at internships, paying jobs and even in unpaid stints learning from chefs further along in their fields.

What he’s collected shows up in the menus at the restaurant and pub at Tiburón and will be featured among dishes from 18 local chefs at the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest Grand Tasting on Saturday at Miromar Lakes. There, he’ll prepare Nueske bacon sliders, using the bacon made in Wisconsin he fell in love with while on an American Culinary Federation internship at The Lodge at Vail in Colorado.

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FLORIDA WEEKLY: Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest auction preview

Southwest Florida Wine and Food Fest auction previewTrustees, dinner hosts, sponsors and their guests gathered at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa for a 2015 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest auction preview. The SWFL Children’s Charities’ two-day signature event, scheduled for Feb. 27 and 28, raises funds for local children’s charities.

Chef-Vintner Dinners will be held Friday evening in host homes from Naples to Captiva. The Grand Tasting and Auction is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Miromar Lakes Beach Clubhouse in Estero.

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FLORIDA WEEKLY: Food & Wine Fest to help make SWFL stronger

Food and Wine Fest to help make SWFL strongerSWFL CHILDREN’S CHARITIES pledged $10 million for the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. Trustees hope to fulfill that pledge with proceeds from the 2015 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest.

The only facility of its kind between Tampa and Miami makes it possible for Southwest Florida children to receive extraordinary medical care near their homes.

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In the News: Myriad Cellars, Quivet Cellars join SWFL Wine & Food Fest

In the News:  The News-Press

Myriad Cellars, Quivet Cellars join SWFL Wine Food FestMyriad Cellars, Quivet Cellars join SWFL Wine & Food FestMyriad Cellars and Quivet

Cellars have joined the 2015 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest as signature vintners for the SWFL Children’s Charities’ two-day signature event, scheduled for Feb. 27 and 28, to raise funds for local children’s charities.

Mike Smith founded Myriad Cellars, which is based in St. Helena, Calif., releasing his first vintage in 2005. He and his wife, Leah, created Quivet in 2006 to showcase single-vineyard wines. Both wineries feature limited production, which means those who attend the event are in for a rare treat, since the wines aren’t widely available.

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Florida Weekly: Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest welcomes two new signature vintners

78p1IN THE NEWS: Florida Weekly

Myriad Cellars and Quivet Cellars have joined the 2015 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest as signature vintners for the SWFL Children’s Charities’ signature event Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27-28, to raise funds for local children’s charities.

Mike Smith founded Myriad Cellars, which is based in St. Helena, Calif., releasing his first vintage in 2005. He and his wife, Leah, created Quivet in 2006 to showcase single-vineyard wines. Both wineries feature limited production, which means Wine & Food Fest guests are in for a rare treat, since the wines aren’t widely available.

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Estero Lifestyle: 2015 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest

EL 2-2015 HAPPENINGSGet ready for a weekend of fine wine, food and friends. The Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest is the two-day, signature event of Southwest Florida Children’s Charities Inc. Wine Spectator ranked this event No. 4 on its April 2014 list of Top 10 U.S. Charity Wine Auctions of 2013.

The SWFL Wine & Food Fest offers excellent aged wines, exquisitely crafted foods and amazing experiences with some of the community’s most charitable individuals.

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Myriad Cellars and Quivet Cellars named signature vintners for 2015 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest

12 C and Myriad bottles (1)Myriad Cellars and Quivet Cellars have joined the 2015 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest as signature vintners for the SWFL Children’s Charities’ two-day signature event, scheduled for Feb. 27 and 28, to raise funds for local children’s charities.

Mike Smith founded Myriad Cellars, which is based in St. Helena, California, releasing his first vintage in 2005. He and his wife, Leah, created Quivet in 2006 to showcase single-vineyard wines. Both wineries feature limited production, which means those who attend the event are in for a rare treat, since the wines aren’t widely available.

Wine Fest signature vintner Mike Smith“Mike Smith’s passion for winemaking is evident in the complex and well-balanced wines he produces,” says Elaine Hawkins, who is heading up this year’s event with Dorothy Fitzgerald. “We believe this is a great pairing as his passion matches ours for the children’s charities we support.”

Renowned wine critic Robert Parker has rated several of Smith’s wines in the mid- and high 90s and commented, “Everything suggests this guy, Mike Smith, knows a thing or two about what a great wine is all about.”

Of Myriad’s Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Reserve Elysian cabernet sauvignon, Parker wrote, “a puff and a whisper away from pure perfection.” He awarded the wine 99 points.

Smith, who describes himself as a “purist” in style, became interested in wines while in college. It wasn’t long before he became a collector and found his way to an internet trading site for cult wines. There he met Thomas Brown, then the winemaker at Turley Wine Cellars. When Brown later struck out on his own, Smith offered to work for free to learn from his accomplished friend.

After three harvests and crushes as a volunteer — during which he took a break from working in his own family’s business of delivering legal documents — he accepted a job with Brown as assistant winemaker and moved his family to St. Helena.

Smith and Brown continue to collaborate on a variety of labels, including Schrader, Rivers-Marie, Maybach and Tamber Bey. Meanwhile, Smith has plenty to keep him busy in his own vineyards.

Smith considers himself a wine crafter, as opposed to a winemaker, because he allows the subtleties of the grapes to determine how the wine develops rather than manipulating it with additives or technology.

“Every year throws you curve,” Smith says. “It’s always different. But if you take the best fruit, you don’t have to do a lot to it.”

Finding vineyards where the soil and climate will lend themselves to growing extraordinary grapes is one of his passions and something he clearly does well.

“Part of the fun is finding vineyards that have potential,” Smith says.

Smith also is the winemaker for Quivet Cellars in St. Helena, and Carter Cellars and 12C, both specializing in wines produced from single vineyards and lavished with the same personalized attention Smith’s Myriad and Quivet labels receive.

One of his Carter Cellars wines won a rare 100 points from Parker, with five others earning scores of 95 or higher.

While he appreciates the praise he receives, Smith is a strong believer in giving as well. Charitable causes are an important aspect of his business. Smith says 5 percent of Quivet sales go to charity, and he frequently contributes to causes such as Little League auctions and other not-for-profits in his community.

He has been involved in the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest for several years because he likes the atmosphere and enthusiasm of the event.

“It seems very organic,” Smith says. “Everyone has a great time and it goes to a great cause.”

The two-day Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest begins with Chef-Vintner Dinners held Friday evening in host homes from Naples to Captiva. The Grand Tasting and Auction will be held Saturday afternoon at Miromar Lakes Beach Clubhouse in Estero. Funds raised during the auction benefit local charities. More than $11.6 million has been raised during the past six years. The primary beneficiaries are Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Florida SouthWestern State College’s pediatric nursing program and Florida Gulf Coast University’s music therapy program.

The title sponsor is LTC Global Inc. Additional sponsors include FineMark National Bank & Trust, SKANSKA GATES, and Sam Galloway Ford Lincoln. Event contributors are Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club, Palm Printing/Printers Ink, Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa, Angelina’s Ristorante, Jason’s Deli, Preferred Travel of Naples and Norman Love Confections.

For more information, contact SWFL Children’s Charities Inc. at 239-513-7990, or visit www.swflwinefest.org.

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Beyond The Gates: Born Too Soon

beyond-the-gates-born-too-soonWhen Naples resident Stacey Bulloch was 20 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound examination revealed a problem with her baby, Harrison. Although his head circumference was on track, his body measurements were those of a 16-weekold, making him abnormally small. Troubled, her obstetrician referred her to Maternal Fetal Medicine of Southwest Florida (MFM) for specialized care.

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In the News: Brave warrior girl creates Wine & Food Fest poster

braveA brave warrior cat created by 10-year-old Sophia Black of Sanibel stands strong on this year’s poster for the annual Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest in February.

Sophia is the event’s featured artist. She created the work with the encouragement and guidance of wellknown local artist Ellen Sheppard, who invited Sophia to her garage studio to draw her creation.

Sophia had a very clear vision of what she would draw before she stepped into the artist’s Fort Myers studio. She came armed with a notebook full of sketches of her version of the solar system, which consists of planets primarily populated with cats that stand upright like people.

Sophia, the daughter of A.J. and Jolie Black, has been undergoing treatment at Golisano for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a blood cancer. Her artwork, done in colored pencils, features a female warrior cat with blue-shadowed eyes, pink ears and long brown hair, just like Sophia used to have. She’s standing serenely on a lush green lawn surrounded by flowers, a blue sky and butterflies.

“I like to draw because I can really express my imagination,” Sophia said. “The cat in my drawings represents calm freedom.”

Her drawing will be put up for bid during the live auction, which will take place Saturday, Feb. 28.

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