The Naples Winter Wine Festival brings together captains of industry for a three-day Bacchanalian fest that features out-of-this-world auction lots such as a Rolls-Royce Dawn.
But is the event's fundraising a reliable economic indicator? After all, for $10,000 per couple, the wine festival attracts people who likely have a good pulse on the economy because of their stations in life. If the economic outlook is rosy, they might be inclined to spend more.
This year, the famed auction during the event raised $11.1 million for children's charities in Collier County. That's 12% less than the $12.55 million the auction raised in 2015 and it was the second consecutive annual decline.
Only once did the festival suffer back-to-back declines in auction results since the festival's 2001 inception: 2008 and 2009, during the depths of the recession.
While there are many factors that might affect results of a charity auction, including the quality of the lots, the consecutive annual declines might reflect the anxiety evident in the stock markets, the global economy and the political uncertainties in the U.S.
Yet don't put much stock in the festival as an accurate indicator of future results. For example, 2009 was the worst year for the wine auction, but it turned out to be a great year to invest in the stock market's 500 largest companies. The Standard & Poor's 500-index rose 24% that year.