2016 Destin Charity Wine Auction Raises a Record Breaking $2.65 Million for Children in Need in Northwest Florida

Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF) celebrated the 11th Annual Destin Charity Wine Auction on April 30th, raising more than $2.65 million for children in need in Northwest Florida. The record breaking results are a $350,000 increase over the $2.3 million raised last year.

“Our ability to continually increase the funds raised year over year is a testament to both the strength of our organization and the power of our mission of the charities we support,” said John Russell, president of DCWAF. “All of us associated with the foundation are amazed that we continue to garner this kind of support to help children in need in our community.”

The auction kicked off with the Magnum Force lot (50 autographed magnums from DCWAF vintners past and present), which raised a record winning bid of $55,000. The highest grossing lot was Little Palm Island for four, earning $56,000. Donated by Little Palm Island Resort, John and Margaret Sheehan and supporters of DCWAF, the lot includes private round-trip airfare from Destin Jet, two bungalows for two nights at Little Palm Island, two rooms for two nights at the Westin Key West, a seven-course dinner for four at little Palm Island’s Chef’s Table as well as a Dinner Cruise or Day Charter.

Raising $54,000 was the African Safari and Wine Experience donated by Bridgit and Steve Griessel of Betz Family Winery. This incredible trip includes four nights for two couples at the Molari Safari Lodge. Each couple gets their own 6,000 square-foot penthouse, all meals, guided wild animal guided tours and much more. This lot also includes three nights in the five-star South African boutique hotel, Babylonstoren in Cape Winelands South Africa; and private tastings at world-class wineries. A bourbon blending experience with Angel’s Envy sold twice at $50,000 for a total of $100,000. A luxurious trip to Esperenza, Cabo San Lucas was donated by DCWAF board member Bob Kirk and sold twice at $44,000 for a total of $88,000. Todd Newman invited patrons to the Dakota Shy Estate in Napa Valley with private tours and tastings and this lot sold three times at $27,000 for a total of $81,000.

Russell went on to say, “It is truly amazing what we are able to accomplish with a staff of four people. Our board, the trustees, the patron dinner hosts, sponsors and charity partners all invest substantial time and energy to create this world-class event. It is so fulfilling to watch everyone come together to make a substantial impact on children in need in Northwest Florida.”

The funds raised are distributed to 14 local non-profit organizations for specific projects and programs that benefit children. Charity partners for 2016 include Children in Crisis, Children’s Volunteer Health Network, Emerald Coast Autism Center, the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Food for Thought, Habitat for Humanity of Walton County, The Arc of the Emerald Coast, Opportunity Inc., Pathways for Change, Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, Shelter House of Northwest Florida, AMIKids Emerald Coast, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast, and Youth Village.

“We are humbled and amazed by the incredible work of our charity partners. We are honored to be a part of what they do and if we are able to help reach just one more child in need in this community, it has all been worth it. The dollars raised will help teach autistic children, give families shelter, provide children meals, medical care, and dental work and so much more. It is very rewarding to see the impact these funds are having on local children,” continued Russell.

The 11th Annual Destin Charity Wine Auction was comprised of 55 unique Live Lots, 27 Super Silent offerings, and 120 Silent Lots. The sold out event was attended by 636 wine enthusiasts, making it the most successful Destin Charity Wine Auction to date.

In addition, during the Wine Auction weekend, 14 Patron Dinners were held in notable restaurants and private homes in the area. These dinners pair celebrity chefs with participating vintners to create a memorable dining experience for every attendee. The Foundation is especially thankful to the Patron Hosts who opened the doors to their homes and restaurants and set the stage for the auction weekend. Auctions at each of these dinners recorded revenues of over $530,000, with $200,000 raised at the Bijoux dinner hosted by Jim and Tammy Pierce featuring Emmolo Wines, Amizetta Estate Winery, and Chef Jack McGuckin.

“It is our hosts who create the anticipation for the auction, it is our hosts that take such great care of our vintners and chefs, and it is our hosts who start us off with great auction revenue from their dinners. Each is an amazing contributor to the success of our mission and truly a force for good in our community,” marveled Russell.

As the top charity fundraising event in Northwest Florida, the Destin Charity Wine Auction has been ranked among the nation’s top ten highest-grossing charity wine auctions in the country by Wine Spectator Magazine for four consecutive years. The money raised at this year’s auction will be presented to the charity partners during a check presentation event in the Fall.

The dates for next year’s Destin Charity Wine Auction weekend are April 28 – 30, 2017. For more information on the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, visit

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