Party Like a Vanderbilt at ‘Wine in the Courtyard’ Rotary Club Fundraiser

The Vanderbilt Mansion in Centerport

Nearly a century ago, William K. Vanderbilt’s palatial Spanish Revival-style mansion, Eagle’s Nest, and its sprawling acreage on Long Island’s Gold Coast were the stomping grounds for the rich and famous, including author Dorothy Parker, actor Douglas Fairbanks, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor as well as President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor.

On Aug. 11, the public will have the extraordinary opportunity to get a taste of silver spoon living when the Rotary Club of Northport hosts its annual Wine in the Courtyard fundraiser at the historic Vanderbilt Mansion, Museum and Planetarium in Centerport. During the course of the evening, guests will enjoy the offerings of 100 vineyards along with palate-pleasing cuisine from 20 fine local restaurants—all while taking in breathtaking panoramic views of the Long Island Sound.

“There’ll literally be wine from all over the world thanks to Mitch Herman, president of BottleBargains, who uses his extensive contacts with distributors to put the wine in our wine event,” Rotarian Andy Giffin said.

The longstanding event is one that the club has hosted for about 20 years. Attendance is capped at 500 and Giffin expects the event to sell out.

New this year will be an international beer garden where connoisseurs can enjoy selections of global and local craft beer selections, including Northport-based Sandy City Brewery, and cider. The food and wine will be served in tented areas, which, along with the mansion, will provide shelter in the event of a shower, Giffin indicated.

For the second year in a row, guests will have the opportunity to leisurely wander through Vanderbilt’s mansion, aptly described on its website as “an enchanting time capsule of a vanished era.” Of particular interest are Vanderbilt’s acquisitions from extensive world travels showcased in museum rooms. Representatives from the museum will be on hand to answer questions.

As in the past, there will be non-stop musical entertainment, with Rotary President Teri George, aka “the singing banker,” serenading attendees as they enter the courtyard. The vocal powerhouse, accompanied by her group, The Connection, will render “knock-your-socks-off” performances from her Broadway and blues repertoire.

Fabulous vocalist and all-around entertainer Felicia Crandall will be performing in the large tent and will dazzle the crowd with selections from her favorite Top 40 hits.
Proceeds from the event support dozens of worthy charities, both locally and abroad, from veterans’ initiatives, the Ecumenical Lay Food Pantry and youth exchange programs to life-saving heart surgeries for children and so much more.

The Vanderbilt Museum is located at 180 Little Neck Rd., Centerport, and festivities run from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 pm. on Thursday, Aug. 11. Tickets, at $100 a person. Purchase tickets online at Northportrotary.com or at LaMantia Gallery, 127 Main St.,  Northport. For information, call 631-754-8414. Tickets will also be sold at the gate.