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Napa Valley Festival del Sole Celebrates Record-Setting Ninth Season

Attendance tops 10,000 and Annual Festival Gala raises $1.45 million

NAPA VALLEY, Calif., Aug. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Napa Valley Festival del Sole is pleased to announce the results of its record-setting ninth season, July 11-20, 2014. More than 100 participating wineries, hotels, resorts, theaters, restaurants, businesses, vintners and event hosts showcased Napa Valley at its best during the 10-day celebration. The festival attracted more than 10,000 attendees, including 2000 attending the annual community concert and popular Bouchaine Young Artist series, offered to the community free of charge. 

One of the festival's marquee events, the Annual Gala at Meadowood Napa Valley, raised $1.45 million, more than triple the total from 2013. Funds raised support arts education and the festival's innovative programming. Beneficiaries include the arts and music departments of Napa County schools, the Napa Valley Youth Symphony and other arts education and community programs.

"This year's gala was a landmark for Napa Valley Festival del Sole," said festival co-founder and director Richard Walker. "Thanks to the outstanding efforts of the Board's Gala Committee under the leadership of Maggie Oetgen, we were able to surpass our goals for the evening. We appreciate the support and enthusiasm of all the guests and generous bidders."

The 330 guests were treated to a private performance by the Concord Jazz All Stars headlined by Cuban jazz legend Arturo Sandoval. Meadowood's Estate Events team offered a sumptuous dinner paired with fine wines from Boisset Family Estates and Gallo Signature Series. Following dinner, renowned auctioneer Fritz Hatton led a lively and spirited "mini-auction" of a dozen lots offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences, including flying via private jet to attend the Academy Awards with an invitation to the star-studded Vanity Fair after party; watching the Palio in Siena from a private apartment overlooking the piazza; a week-long Parisian and Burgundian adventure with entry to a runway show at Paris Fashion Week; a walk-on cameo appearance in the hit Broadway show, Rock of Ages; and the truly unforgettable experience of joining Sophia Loren at her table at the festival's Bella Italia! evening July 19.

In addition, 10-time Grammy Award-winner Arturo Sandoval, inspired after performing to the crowd, stepped up and made an impromptu donation of a private concert in the bidder's home, with two winners bidding a total of $90,000 for the opportunity. The highest grossing lot of the evening was "The Royal Treatment" which invited two guests to join the Russian National Orchestra on their 25th anniversary trip to London, Lyon and Paris. The lot included a rare wine dinner at the historic Spencer House hosted by Lord Jacob Rothschild, and a private tour of Kensington Palace. The bidding was fierce, with a final double down upping the total to $270,000.

"Each year we invite the world's finest performers to Napa Valley," commented festival co-founder and IMG Artists co-chair Barrett Wissman. "We are very proud of the diversity and artistry displayed at Festival del Sole 2014. It is a privilege to present the local community and visitors from around the world with the highest quality performances made even finer by the Napa Valley's natural beauty."

Festival del Sole 2014 highlights included violinist Joshua Bell performing Vivaldi's Four Seasons, the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra in its West Coast debut, Leonard Bernstein's daughter Jamie Bernstein directing the festival's first-ever chamber opera Trouble in Tahiti, the Dance Gala: Polina Semionova and Friends, vocal performances by James Valenti, Julia Bullock, Nadine Sierra and Matthew Polenzani, renowned violinist Pinchas Zukerman performing on three occasions, the debut of Maestro Carlo Ponti's LA Virtuosi, and the Bella Italia! Tribute to Sophia Loren emceed by Whoopi Goldberg with presentations by Robert Redford, Margrit Mondavi and Francis Ford Coppola in person, and Robert De Niro and President Bill Clinton by video.  

2014 event hosts included Castello di Amorosa, Harvest Inn, 500 First Street, Gargiulo Vineyards, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, Vineyard 29, Martin Estate, Meadowood Napa Valley, The Hess Collection, Opus One, Grgich Hills, B Cellars, Keller Estate, Jaffe Estate, Robert Mondavi Winery, Merryvale Vineyards, Alpha Omega, Auberge du Soleil, HALL St. Helena, Napa Valley Museum, Bardessono, Beaulieu Vineyard's Rutherford House, Aloft, Far Niente, Ehlers Estate, Chimney Rock, Ma(i)sonry, Calistoga Ranch, Priest Ranch Tasting Room, and Stull Estate. Performances took place at Lincoln Theater, Castello di Amorosa, Weill Hall at Green Music Center, and the Jarvis Conservatory.

Major funding for Festival del Sole 2014 came from Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem, Ann and Gordon Getty, Tatiana and Gerret Copeland, Jose Luis Nazar, Claire and Steven Stull, Dede Wilsey, Athena and Timothy Blackburn and Maggie and Stephen Oetgen. Bouchaine Vineyards, Calistoga Ranch, Tiffany & Co., Whittier Trust, Meadowood Napa Valley, Bentley Motors, Embraer Executive Jets, First Republic Bank, 55 Degrees and Pagani Automobili were among the Festival del Sole 2014 sponsors. 

About Napa Valley Festival del Sole
Napa Valley Festival del Sole blends world-class music, theater and dance with the region's fine wine and cuisine in a celebration of the art of life. The festival features performances by renowned artists and emerging talent, gala events at stunning wineries, resorts and estates, free community concerts, a wellness series promoting healthy living, and year-round arts education initiatives.

Since 2006, Festival del Sole has presented more than 300 artists and ensembles in venues throughout Napa Valley and has partnered with more than 200 wineries, hotels and local businesses. The festival attracts over 10,000 audience members and visitors each season. The festival, a nonprofit public benefit organization operated by Napa Valley Festival Association, is governed by a Board of Directors and produced by IMG Artists.  It was co-founded by Richard Walker and Barrett Wissman in partnership with founding wineries Bouchaine Vineyards, Blackbird Vineyards, Darioush, Far Niente, PlumpJack and Robert Mondavi Winery.

Napa Valley Festival del Sole will celebrate its 10th Anniversary Season July 17-26, 2015.  For more information, visit festivaldelsole.org.

SOURCE Napa Valley Festival del Sole

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