Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation’s (DCWAF) 9th Annual Destin Charity Wine Auction raised a record breaking $2,035,000 for children in need in Northwest Florida. This marks a 57 percent increase from last year’s results of $1.3 million, reaffirming the foundation’s namesake event as the top charity fundraising event in Northwest Florida, and a “Top 10 Charity Wine Auction in the U.S.” recognized by Wine Spectator Magazine.

Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF) was fortunate to have Emeril Lagasse and his wife, Alden Lagasse, attend the auction this year. Lagasse kicked off the auction with the winning bid on the first auction lot, Magnum Force, and followed by introducing his auction lot, “Emeril’s Ten for 10,” offering 10 guest passes to the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s 10th Annual Carnivale du Vin in New Orleans. The lot also included lodging at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans and five magnums of Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino signed by vintner Cristina Mariani-May.

More than a year in the making, the 2014 Destin Charity Wine Auction exceeded the organizers’ expectations. “We are extremely grateful for the tremendous support we once again received from vintners, chefs, and the local community,” said John Russell, president of DCWAF. “All of us associated with this auction are amazed that we can garner this kind of support to help children in need in Northwest Florida. This year’s results will provide significant funding for 12 local children’s charities that do incredible work to improve the lives of so many children.”


The 9th Annual Destin Charity Wine Auction was comprised of more than 150 unique live and silent offerings, ranging from one-of-a-kind trips to fabulous art to incomparable collections of rare wines. The sold out event was attended by 600 wine enthusiasts, making it the most successful Destin Charity Wine Auction on record.

“I was honored to be part of this year’s festivities in support of the DCWAF charities who help transform the lives of so many children in need,” stated this year’s honorary vintner, Paul Hobbs from Paul Hobbs Wines.

The highest bid of the day brought in $50,000. Titled Presidential Molori Safari Lodge in South Africa for Four, the lot was donated by Steve and Bridgit Griessel of Betz Family Winery and Molori Safari Lodge.  The trip includes two rooms for one night at the Davinci Hotel and Suites in Sandton, South Africa; a private charter flight in a Pilatus PC 12 directly into and out of Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa; four nights at Molori Safari Lodge in two presidential suites, with all meals, drinks, game drives and activities included at Molori Lodge.  A selection of Betz Family Wines and top South African Wines hand-selected by Steve Griessel and private transfers back to Johannesburg International Airport complete the experience.

During the Wine Auction weekend, 13 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.

Participating wineries included Paul Hobbs Wines, Pride Mountain Vineyards, Jarvis Estate Winery, Fisher Vineyards, DeLille Cellars,  Duckhorn Portfolio, Hourglass, Krutz Family Cellars,  Saint Helena Winery,  Betz Family Winery, PEJU Province Winery, Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Ladera Vineyards, Alpha Omega, PlumpJack Winery & Cade Estate Winery, Domaine Serene, Revana Family Vineyard, V Madrone Cellars, Forman Vineyard, Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, Castello Banfi, Le Chanceux, O Wines, Phifer Pavitt Wine, Willamette Valley Vineyards and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.

Celebrity chefs included Brendan Mica of Restaurant Cuvee at River Terrance Inn, Cindy Hutson of Ortanique on the Mile, Clay Conley of Buccan, Dan Vargo of Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, Luis A. Pous of Asia de Cuba Restaurants at China Grill Management, Robert Gerstenecker of Park 75 at Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, Tim Creehan of Cuvee Bistro, Cuvee Catering, & Grill Plus, Holly Peterson of Flourish, Matt Baker of Occidental Grill & Seafood, Matthew Basford of Canoe, Michael Guerra of Havana Cafe, Neall Bailey of Bay Colony Beach Club, Rolando Cruz-Taura of The Dining Room at Little Palm Island, and Nyesha Arrington of Bravo’s Top Chef Season 9.

DCWAF weekend patrons also enjoyed culinary delights from 12 of Destin and South Walton’s top area restaurants during Saturday’s Reserve Tasting, prior to the live auction including Bake My Day, Chanticleer Bakery & Eatery, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Groovy Grouper Grill, Mimmo’s Ristorante Italiano, Restaurant Paradis, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, The Bistro at Courtyard, The Marigny, V Seagrove, and Wild Olives Wine~ Cheese~ Bistro.

The dates for next year’s Destin Charity Wine Auction Weekend are April 24-26, 2015. For more information on the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, visit

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