Cheers to charity

Destin Charity Wine Auction has a huge weekend

The Destin Log

Hundreds of wine enthusiasts and auction attendees bid on fine wine and wine-oriented excursions Saturday during the annual Destin Charity Wine Auction at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin.

Since 2005, Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF) has donated more than $13 million to Northwest Florida children’s charities and has impacted the lives of over 70,000 kids, according to John Russell, the foundation’s president.

“We are the third largest wine auction in the country and this year we hope to raise over $2.6 million,” Russell said.

Russell said Wine Spectator Magazine ranked the Destin Charity Wine Auction as the third highest grossing wine auction in 2016, just behind Naples Winter Wine Festival and Auction Napa Valley.

Money raised during this year's auction will be distributed to 15 non-profit organizations. The charities 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, Arc of the Emerald Coast, Opportunity Place, 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, Mental Health Association of Okaloosa and Walton Counties and Youth Village.

A 2010 Telsa Roadster donated by St. Joe Community Foundation was the most expensive lot of the evening and sold for $85,000. It was followed by an Alpha Omega and Tolosa wineries trip for $60,000 and the Magnum Force collection of wines from vintners across the country, which was sold for $55,000.

"We are still selling vacation lots and won't know how much we raised until the end of the week," Russell said on Tuesday.

Margaret Sheehan has been attending the auction for nine years and enjoys bidding for a good cause.

“It’s my responsibility to give back. … If you are successful you have the responsibility to give back, especially if it’s for children and the youth,” she said.

Sheehan has even hosted guest vintners for the auction, including Kristina DunnBuchanan three times. DunnBuchanan returned again last weekend as she presented her exclusive Cabernet Sauvignon wine selection for the fourth time at the live wine auction.

“These people work hard for their money and success and are so generous with it,” said DunnBuchanan, who owns Dunn Vineyards in Napa Valley in California.

DunnBuchanan said she has two kids of her own and can’t express how important events like this are for the community.

“A lot of people come from around the country exclusively for this event,” she said. “It’s not easy for people to bid… they are doing something really special here."

Children in Crisis President Ken Hair said the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation is a difference-maker for over 50 children who rely on the charity on any given day.

"DCWAF has helped us built four of our homes and has helped us maintain and  keep our doors open," he said.