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THE FIFTH ANNUAL 2005 NAPLES WINTER WINE FESTIVAL TO AUCTION RARE WINES AND A 2005 ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM. 2/4 thru 2/6.
Since its debut in 2000, the annual Naples Winter Wine Festival has raised $18-million for the Naples Children and Education Foundation, which awards grants to local children's charities. It is now the most successful charity wine event in the world, with an impressive Vintner and celebrity chef lineup. Just as each year's final auction tallies have surpassed the last, so have each year's lots become bigger, bolder and more spectacular. This year's princely auction includes trips to a secluded Fiji Island, cruises aboard an ultra-luxurious yacht, and the jewel of crown: a one of a kind Rolls-Royce; the 6.75-liter high alloy V-12 engine Phantom, which features a rich Cabernet exterior with dual coach lines and a hand stitched moccasin-leather interior in dark spice that provides lounge seating for five. Other Phantom custom touches include cross-banded, figured mahogany veneers, a glass tilt/slide power moon roof and power boot lid, massive 21-inch wheels, and an audio system that is on par with the finest home theaters. For more information, call the NWWF office at 239-514-2239. www.napleswinefestival.com
The Festival will take place at different venues in Naples, Florida, Friday, February 4 through Sunday, February 6, Cost: $5,000.00 per couple.

THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF FLORIDA TOMATOES...
says Commissioner of Agriculture Charles H. Bronson. "Tomato production was temporarily disrupted last year by the hurricanes. But our state's farmers rebuilt and replanted. They are now harvesting a large tomato crop of excellent quality. Tomatoes are back in grocery stores at low prices," Bronson continued, denying last month's statement that tomatoes were rotting on the vines, thus creating a shortcoming in the Florida produce. Bronson urged restaurants and fast food establishments to use more tomatoes.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES LAUNCHES INDUSTRY'S FIRST WINE CLUB
In a move to make fine wines more familiar to cruise vacationers Carnival Cruise Lines has launched the Presidential Wine Club. All wines featured in club mailings are tasted and approved by Carnival Cruise Lines, president and CEO, Bob Dickinson, a noted wine collector and connoisseur. Many of the wines will come from small, boutique wineries located in the world's great wine regions of California, France, Italy, Spain, Chile, Argentina and Australia. " The enjoyment of wine often is perceived as elitist, just as cruising used to be. We are doing for wine what Carnival did for the cruise experience -demystifying it," said Dickinson." While membership will be primarily marketed to Carnival Cruise Lines past guests, anyone with an interest in wine may join. The cost is $39.99 per month for two bottles, plus $9.99 shipping and handling. There is no contract and membership can be discontinued at any time without penalty. The club's Web site www.presidentialwineclub.com functions as a wine information resource and has interactive message boards for members to trade opinions about wine and a monthly "Ask Bob" column by the cruise line's president. For more information, visit the Web site, or call 1-888-292-2582.

NIKKI MARINA FIRST ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION CAPPED BY VALENTINE'S DAY
Nikki Marina, will be celebrating its First Anniversary in an ongoing weekend blowout, Saturday and Sunday, February 12 and 13 with a continuing parade of high powered events. A frequent harbor for celebrities and athletes Nikki Marina. Located along the yacht-lined Intra-Coastal Waterway opposite the Westin Hotel, has played host to Justin Timberlake, Cameron Diaz, Matt Damon, Mickey Rourke, and Tommy Lee, among others. Capping the anniversary weekend will be Valentine's Day festivities when Executive Chef Tim Hughes will introduce his new menu along with a special "surf and turf" menu for the occasion. Nikki Marina, 3660 S. Ocean Drive, Hollywood, Fl. Admission is free. Dinner is served until midnight. Valet parking is $10, $5 with validation. Complimentary parking in garage with validated ticket Information and reservations (954) 602-8750 or www.nikkimarina.com.

SOUTH BEACH WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL SNEAK PEEK AT NATIONAL HOTEL
Thursday, February 24th, 7:30pm to 9:30pm, The National Hotel's Wine Club offers members and guests a a special preview of the Festival's Welcome Reception, being held on Friday Feb. 25th at The National Hotel. If you don't have the Festival's coveted "Weekend Pass", then The Wine Club is your only ticket into this exclusive event! $35.00 per person, inclusive of tax and service. Call 305-423-7274 or email wineclub@nationalhotel.com for details and reservations.

SOUTH BEACH WINE AND FOOD FEST
Ticket information call toll free 877-762-3933 or 305-460-6563

MASTER SOMMELIER BLIND TASTING
Friday February 25, 1:00pm 3:00pm. Parrot Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami. Learn the secrets of those who taste wines for a living. Industry experts rely on the ?double blind tasting? to truly judge a sample without regard to its origin, price tag or fancy label. Master sommeliers Larry O Brien of Paterno Wines, Virginia Philip of The Breakers, Palm Beach, and Eric Hemer of Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida will headline this event, $100
WIENIES FOR WINIES SEMINAR
Saturday February 26, and Sunday February 27, 11:00am noon Intercontinental Hotel, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami. Sausage paired with wine? You bet. Noted New York restaurateur Danny Meyer (Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Tabla, Blue Smoke) and Fort Collins, Colo., sausage meister Terry Miller explore this unique combination in what can only be described as palate aerobics? $75
"MAKE IT A BLOCKBUSTER NIGHT" WINE AND FOOD PAIRINGS SEMINAR
Saturday, February 26, and Sunday, February 27, 1:00pm 2:00pm Intercontinental Hotel, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami. Wine authority Joshua Wesson of Best Cellars shares the lowdown on serving the appropriate wine with those sinful munchies in which we all occasionally indulge. $75
CHATEAU MOUTON ROTHSCHILD SEMINAR
Sunday, February 27, 1:00pm 3:00pm InterContinental Hotel, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami The greatest wines of Bordeaux go on display in all their glory. . Join Tom Matthews , executive editor of Wine Spectator, as he welcomes Olivier Lebret , president of Baron Philippe de Rothschild USA, who will lead this tasting of exceptional offerings from Chateau Mouton Rothschild complete with vertical tasting of some of their most highly regarded vintages! $150

FARMERS'MARKETS ARE GOING STRONG
Every Sunday from 8 am to 1 pm thru April 10th, The South Florida Farmers Market is back with fresh fruit and vegetables. Free Parking. Located in the parking lot of Gardner's Market, 8287 SW 124th Street, Pinecrest.
Chef demos at 11 am:
February 6th: Gardner's Chefs Christina Dumaine & Cindy Rothman
February 13th: Chef Harald Neuweg of Fritz & Franz Bierhaus for Valentine's Day
February 20th: Chef Adam Votaw of Chispa
February 27th: Chef Sarah Davidoff of Fare to Remember Creative Catering
For information call 305-255-2468, ext. 107.

Every Saturday, from 8am to noon thru March 26th , Farmers Market in Coral Gables with stands of fresh produce, baked goods, seafood, condiments, orchids, fruit trees and flowing plants. On the front steps of City Hall, 405 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables.
The activities schedule includes:
Tai Chi in the park at 8am, free
Gardening at 9am, with garden experts
Cooking at 10am, local chefs share recipes and cooking tips.
Kids' programs at 11am.
For information, call the City's Development Department at 305-460-5311.


To submit information and tips for this column, please e-mail to: editor@southfloridagourmet.com
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