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CureDuchenne Raises More Than $1.3 Million at Ninth Annual Napa in Newport

Wine being poured at Napa in Newport

More than 40 acclaimed Napa Valley Vintners came together to raise funds to help cure Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the annual Napa in Newport held on Saturday, Nov. 4 at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point.

Hosted by Newport Beach-based CureDuchenne and Vintner Chair Melka Estates, the event raised more than $1.3 million to fund research toward a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, one of the most common and severe forms of muscular dystrophy.  More than 400 of Orange County’s top business leaders, influencers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and wine connoisseurs attended the event that began at 6 p.m. with a grand tasting featuring several hundred superb wines available for sampling as well as decadent caviar tastings from The Caviar Company and tray-passed appetizers.

A beautiful spiral-bound Napa in Newport handbook included bios of all the wineries as well as a list of the live auction items and event sponsors.

CureDuchenne founders Paul and Debra Miller with Chef Ken Frank

Once the tasting concluded at 7 p.m., attendees made their way to the grand ballroom for a dinner created by renowned Chef Ken Frank of La Toque in Napa. Each table had a vintner pouring their wines to accompany the dinner.

The menu started with salade nicoise moderne with blue prawns, octopus confit, pepper seared big eye tuna, farmer’s market beans, and roasted tomato vinaigrette.

Main course was dry aged prime angus New York strip steak with Fiscalini cheddar pearl tapioca and Rutherford red wine sauce.

Napa in Newport salad course

The dessert course featured medjool date toffee sticky cake.

As dinner commenced, Debra and Paul Miller – founders of CureDuchenne – welcomed everyone to Napa in Newport. As attendees dined, a lively live auction ensued featuring a stunning collection of wine and dining experiences, exotic excursions, golf packages and other items, all of which received high bids from the enthusiastic crowd. Attendees also raised their paddles to help CureDuchenne fund a cure.

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 percent fatal.

Table setting at Napa in Newport

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 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. Now, 27 years later, they have increased to 10 different labels but remain small, family-run producers.

Phillipe and Cherie Melka with Hawken, Debra and Paul Miller

“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.”

The event’s theme, “Time is of the Essence,” focused on the urgent need to bring treatments to the thousands facing the disease.

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 in June by the FDA to treat children ages 4 to 5, could slow the progression of the disease, and marked a milestone in advancing treatments for Duchenne.

Napa in Newport attendees dining and bidding.

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

Riverain wine being poured at Naa in Newport. Riverain founder Dean Gray is from Newport Beach.

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.

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Passed Hors d’oeuvres at Napa in Newport


The post CureDuchenne Raises More Than $1.3 Million at Ninth Annual Napa in Newport appeared first on Newport Beach News.

Source: Newport Beach Independent

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