CureDuchenne raises more than $1.3 million at ninth annual Napa in Newport to help find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Southern California’s Premier Wine Event Raised Funds and Awareness for Rare Disease with Acclaimed Napa Valley Vintners
NEWPORT BEACH Calif., November 14, 2023 – CureDuchenne and Vintner Chair Melka Estates hosted the Ninth Annual Napa in Newport on Saturday, November 4, 2023, at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, California, which raised more than $1.3 million to find and fund a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Napa in Newport brought together 44 of the most acclaimed Napa Valley vintners under one roof to serve their finest vintages to 400 of Orange County’s top business leaders, influencers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and wine connoisseurs and to fund research toward a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, one of the most common and severe forms of muscular dystrophy. The event featured a Grand Tasting, vintner-hosted dining tables, an exquisite dinner created by renowned Chef Ken Frank, curated wine pairings and spectacular auction lots featuring collectable wines, exotic getaways and once in-a-lifetime experiences. Event sponsors included Porsche, The Caviar Company, and JCB.
The event benefited CureDuchenne, a global leader in research, patient care and innovation for improving and extending the lives of those living with Duchenne, a disease that occurs in roughly 1 in 5,000 male births and is 100% fatal. Since CureDuchenne was founded in 2003, the organization has raised more than $50 million for research and funded 18 research projects that have advanced to human clinical trials. To date, Napa in Newport has raised more than $10.6 million for CureDuchenne.
“We’re eternally grateful to our dedicated vintners, sponsors and attendees who continue to make Napa in Newport a huge success year after year, allowing us to come closer to a cure for this devastating disease than ever before,” said Debra Miller, founder and CEO of CureDuchenne. “Funding is extremely critical as we continue to make progress in Duchenne research, and we could not do it without the steadfast support of our local community and partners.”
Guests had the rare opportunity to experience exquisite wines from world-class vintners, including this year’s Vintner Chair, Melka Estates. Founded in 1996, Melka Estates’ Co-Proprietors and Winemakers Philippe and Cherie produce four distinct brands that reflect their philosophy of soil-driven wines: Métisse from Napa Valley, Mekerra from Sonoma Valley, Majestique from sites around the world and CJ, also from Napa Valley. Twenty-seven years later, they have increased to 10 different labels but remain small, family-run producers.
“It has been a true privilege to support CureDuchenne and their critical mission through Napa in Newport,” said Philippe & Cherie Melka, Co-Proprietors of Melka Estates. “We couldn’t have asked for a more spectacular evening of great food, wine and entertainment, and witnessing the community come together for such an amazing cause.”
This year’s event featured cuisine curated by renowned Chef Ken Frank, Owner of La Toque Restaurant in Napa. Since becoming a chef in the mid-1970s, Frank has earned a stellar reputation for his personalized style of cooking, grounded in the French cuisine he grew to know and love while living in France as a teenager. La Toque, within The Westin Verasa Napa, is a showcase for Chef Frank’s modern French cuisine and his passion for fine wine.
“It was my honor to be part of the Napa in Newport team again for 2023,” said Diane Kemple, event chair. “I continue to be amazed by the generosity of our community, whose support of Cure Duchenne is so vital, especially as we get closer to a cure.”
The event’s theme, “Time of the Essence,” focused on the urgent need to bring treatments to the thousands facing the disease, which currently has no cure. Hudson Sanford, a 6-year-old with Duchenne, and his family were special guests at the event. Hudson was one of the first in the country to receive a groundbreaking gene therapy at the CureDuchenne Clinic in Texas earlier this year, just days before he turned six. The treatment, approved by the FDA to treat 4-5-year-olds in June, could slow the progression of the disease, and marked a milestone in advancing treatments for Duchenne.
Hawken Miller, a 26-year-old living with Duchenne and the son of CureDuchenne’s founders, Paul and Debra Miller, gave a moving speech that brought guests to their feet with a standing ovation. He highlighted not only the hope that this new gene therapy brings, but also the very small percentage of individuals with Duchenne that can benefit at this time due to the narrow age range and the urgent need to accelerate treatments for everyone – including him. “Science is moving faster than ever. What used to take researchers decades to discover is compressed to years- but time AND money is of the essence,” said Hawken. “We are at a critical time, where decades of research is finally coalescing, and we have some potentially transformative therapeutic approaches coming over the horizon.”
The event concluded with the announcement of the 10th Anniversary of Napa in Newport, which will be held on April 20, 2024, at The Pendry in Newport Beach. The 10th Anniversary Vintner Chair will be Alpha Omega, tickets are available at thenapawineseries.com/napa-in-newport.
Twenty years ago, CureDuchenne was created with one goal: to find and fund a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, one of the most common and severe forms of muscular dystrophy. Today, CureDuchenne is recognized as a global leader in research, patient care, and innovation for improving and extending the lives of those with Duchenne. CureDuchenne’s innovative venture philanthropy model has advanced transformative treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, including 18 projects that advanced to human clinical trials and multiple projects to overcome the limitations of exon-skipping and gene therapy. In addition, CureDuchenne contributed early funding to the first FDA-approved Duchenne drug, pioneered the first and only Duchenne physical and occupational therapist certification program and created an innovative biobank and data registry, accelerating research toward a cure. For more information on how to help raise awareness and funds needed for research, please visit cureduchenne.org.