From Philanthropy to Luxurious Gifts, Go Inside Robb Report’s December 2021 Giving Issue

Whether by serendipity or study, the act of discovery is an unfailing thrill. It can last just a few minutes, in the case of a song that captures your mood, or it might remain with you forever, if what’s learned is transformative, opening up a new world of experiences and possibilities.

Over the years, my list has included everything from destinations, authors and artists to tailors, meals (a magnificent eggplant pasta in Sardinia springs to mind) and designers. But it can also, of course, be deeper than an object or a fleeting experience; on occasion it’s as profound as a cause or charity that becomes a lifetime’s commitment.

In this annual Giving Issue, we have a dual focus: on the act of gifting during this holiday season, for which we have curated—and in many cases created—42 genuinely extraordinary opportunities to own or take part in something unique and spectacular (more on that shortly), and on philanthropy. In the US, charitable giving rose nearly 4 percent in 2020, to a total of $471.44 billion. That’s proof of the trend for more aggressive spending, in recognition of the challenges we’re currently facing on multiple fronts, be they Covid-19, America’s racial reckoning or increasingly devastating climate change. In our portfolio spotlighting some of those leading this charge toward donating huge sums now, rather than leaving the funds to a foundation to divest later, we interviewed philanthropists and executives who are intent, as writer Jackie Cooperman reports, “to effect change, and to do it quickly.”

I promised you fantastic gift ideas, and upon review, you’ll find I’m true to my word. How about a private concert by Rufus Wainwright with the autographed, ultra-rare Steinway he played on as your souvenir? Or the last unspoken for Hennessey Venom F5 hypercar, plus a truck and trailer to transport it? An exceptional color-changing diamond ring; a neoclassical French château from 1890, boxed up ready to be built wherever you choose; or a set of six now-discontinued F.P. Journe watches? A delicious week of romance in Provence or a spot in the Carrera Panamericana rally, with a car thrown in to race with? Perhaps, if those all sound too pedestrian, being the first civilian to spacewalk from the International Space Station is more your thing? Or a trip to the edge of the atmosphere in a very big balloon? Whatever you select, rest assured you’ll be discovering something very special and very precious. Just like the person you’ll be giving it to (even if that’s, ahem, you).

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Speaking of discovery (and perhaps gifting, too), let me announce something I hope will intrigue you: Robb Report’s just-launched 672 Wine Club. We’ve teamed with Wine Savage to bring members under-the-radar bottles, often from boutique, family-run producers, that you’d be unlikely to unearth anywhere else. The 672 refers to the number of bottles on a standard 56-case pallet, but also to the number of people we’re accepting into the club, in order to access these highly allocated lots. And while buying vintages to lay down for decades is an exquisite example of deferred discovery, what about those who want something magical for right now, too? For them, we devised a new model: Every member will receive two bottles each of three varieties of red every quarter—three to drink now, three of the same for the cellar.

Why choose between pleasure today or perfection tomorrow? Go to robbreport.winesavage.com to learn more and sign up.

Elsewhere in these pages, you’ll find Louis Vuitton’s collection of Objets Nomades, created by some of the great designers of the day, first-drive reviews of three new beauties—Ferrari’s 812 Competizione, Lamborghini’s Huracán STO and the Black Badge edition of Rolls-Royce’s Ghost—and a stack of new motorbikes, plus an exceptional Italian wine region you may have yet to discover.

Enjoy the issue.

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  1. China’s top leader Xi Jinping has issued the strongest warning yet against anyone who questions the country’s zero-Covid policy, as stringent, frequent lockdowns fuel public discontent and deal a devastating blow to the Chinese economy.

  2. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) calls former President Donald Trump a “creature” while talking to CNN’s Dana Bash about his Supreme Court appointees and the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade.

  3. The former president, 75, misspoke during a speech about democracy in Dallas — and blamed the blunder on his age.

  4. Russian President Vladimir Putin has just enough allies in just enough places to throw a wrench in the efforts of Western alliances to thwart his ambitions — deepening the wedge between member states that suits his purposes to a tee.

  5. The average national gas price continues to rise amid inflation. Gas prices and the overall US economic forecast could shed light on the midterm election results. CNN’s Harry Enten reports.

  6. North Korea has dispatched medical crews and epidemiological investigators to a province battling the outbreak of an intestinal disease, state media reported on Sunday.

  7. • Parents call for Uvalde school board to fire district police chief during emotional forum
    • Live updates: Texas official set to testify

  8. Plans to make former president Donald Trump’s media company public appear to have hit another roadblock.

  9. The vast majority of Americans across party lines are unhappy with the state of the US. A new set of polling finds conservatives are among the largest group who believe government is rigged.

  10. Some of the most dramatic — and diplomatically delicate — moments in United States-Russia relations are linked to prisoner exchanges.

  11. Nearly every night during the spring of 1997, once dinner was done and the last dish put away, my dad and I would drag two lawn chairs out to our front yard to watch the Hale-Bopp comet. Visible even during the day, it would slowly brighten as dusk gave way to night.

  12. In the fight against climate change, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria says, the perfect cannot become the enemy of the good.

  13. On any given day, a thirty minute walk around New York City can yield at least a few NASA logo sightings. They’re on backpacks, t-shirts, sneakers, hats, sweatshirts, phone cases, tote bags and jackets.

  14. It seems that increasingly these days, the United States is letting Ukraine fight, valiantly, but is it with one hand tied behind its back?

  15. The move by the Justice Department to bring two top aides to former Vice President Mike Pence in front of a federal grand jury is the most aggressive public step taken yet by prosecutors investigating the plots to subvert the 2020 election.

  16. President Joe Biden will sign another executive order Wednesday as part of his administration’s efforts to help ensure access to abortion in light of the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this summer to eliminate the federal right to the procedure.

  17. James Franco has reportedly been cast as Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro, and many Latino actors aren’t happy.

  18. Three Palestinian men were killed during an Israeli military operation against suspected militants in the West Bank on Tuesday morning, according to information from the Palestinian health ministry.

  19. Serena Williams won her first singles match in 430 days on Monday as she defeated Spain’s Nuria Párrizas Díaz 6-4 6-3 at the Canadian Open in Toronto.

  20. As many American women reckon with the sudden loss of their constitutional right to abortion, conservatives have floated an alternative they say makes abortion less necessary: safe haven laws.

  21. On Thursday, US Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has tended to stay out of the political spotlight, defended the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home on Monday, saying he personally approved the decision. Garland also announced the Justice Department would move to unseal the search warrant and property receipt, saying it was “authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause.”

  22. A New York state judge denied the Trump Organization and its former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg’s motions to dismiss tax fraud charges during a hearing Friday.

  23. Six years ago, when Rep. Liz Cheney first ran for Wyoming’s lone House seat, Nicholas Houfek said he saw the long-time Virginia resident, who had purchased a home in Jackson Hole four years earlier, as a “carpetbagger.”

  24. A growing number of Americans are crossing the southern border and making Mexico their new home. CNN’s David Culver takes a look at the cause and effect of Americans settling in Mexico City.

  25. Former President Donald Trump has created a unique gravitational pull for lawsuits and investigations that often hit the people in his orbit but have not yet landed on him.

  26. Somebody put Baby in a corner: the remains of an upstate New York hotel that inspired the movie “Dirty Dancing” have burned down, according to the local fire department. The property, which was called Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel, closed its doors in 1986.

  27. The remains of a 23-year-old from Utah who was killed during a bombing mission in World War II have been identified, a federal agency said Thursday.

  28. Dramatic video shows Las Vegas police engaging in a shootout with a carjacking suspect during a high-speed chase. HLN’s Robin Meade reports.

  29. The leaders of the world’s two largest autocracies, China and Russia, like to promote themselves by contrasting their countries with the West, declaring their top-down regimes superior to Western-style democracy. But, as China’s President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin tighten the screws of repression, growing numbers of their country’s citizens have decided they’ve had enough.

  30. A woman hiking with a group of friends in the Columbia River Gorge outside Portland, Oregon, died on Friday after falling approximately 100 feet and suffering a head injury, say officials.

  31. A slate of restrictive state abortion laws, including so-called trigger laws, are set to take effect this week, putting access to abortion further out of reach for millions of women as Republican-led states rush to limit the procedure since the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.

  32. Spanish prison authorities on Tuesday euthanized a man who shot and wounded four people in December and was subsequently wounded in a shootout with the police, rendering him paralyzed and begging to be allowed to die while awaiting trial.

  33. The Justice Department has submitted under seal its proposal for redacting the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit, the department said Thursday.

  34. The US Coast Guard said Monday it has suspended the search for nine people who went missing after a float plane crashed in Washington’s Mutiny Bay.

  35. If the interminable campaign to elect a new British prime minister this summer has at times felt haunted by one of the most influential figures ever to hold the post, Margaret Thatcher, the specter is less Macbeth’s Banquo, more Casper the Friendly Ghost.

  36. Two sheriff’s deputies in Cobb County, Georgia, are dead after attempting to serve a warrant, according to a tweet from the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office.

  37. Serena Williams has announced she will be retiring from tennis after the 2022 US Open. CNN’s Christina MacFarlane looks at her journey from teen sensation to being one of the sport’s all-time greats.

  38. Representation matters. And perhaps no political couple understands that more than the Obamas. On Wednesday, the former first couple unveiled their official White House portraits under the glowing regard of President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden. Leadership and portraiture have long gone hand in hand in Western art. Yet the stakes are even higher for the Obama portraits. The images of the first Black president and first lady will represent their historic public service in a space that had been the exclusive domain of white Americans for more than two centuries.

  39. CNN’s Clarissa Ward caught up with the Archbishop of Canterbury ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s procession to the Palace of Westminster.

  40. A seven-foot mako shark shocked people on a fishing boat after it jumped on board during a search for sharks to observe and tag.

  41. Tom Brady remarked on his latest podcast appearance that he is “close to the end” of his NFL career as he continued to hint at his retirement.

  42. Text messages released as part of a civil lawsuit related to misspent welfare funds in Mississippi allegedly show former Gov. Phil Bryant worked to help NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre obtain funds to build a volleyball facility at the University of Southern Mississippi.

  43. Falling asleep or coming down from anxiety might never be as easy as 1-2-3, but some experts believe a different set of numbers — 4-7-8 — comes much closer to doing the trick.

  44. The plane carrying 193 passengers circled down over London Stansted Airport, where a cluster of journalists were waiting to document its arrival. Stepping onto the tarmac under typically gray English skies, the families clutched their scant possessions in briefcases and boxes, saris flowing in the wind.

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