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Destin Charity Wine Auction Raises $2.8 Million

The annual Florida event reached new heights and helped support children's charities and wine-country wildfire relief efforts
Destin's charity wine event has grown into one of America's largest in the past 13 years.
Photo by: Courtesy DWCA
Destin's charity wine event has grown into one of America's largest in the past 13 years.

Brianne Garrett
Posted: May 4, 2018

Following the 2017 Destin Charity Wine Auction, event president John Russell told Wine Spectator that despite raising the highest total yet at the charity auction, they would surpass that in 2018. Bold words, but he was correct.

The 2018 event took place April 28 in Miramar Beach, Fla., and raised a total of $2.8 million—$100,000 more than last year's total—including over $2.5 million in live-auction bids. "We are really pleased to have increased our revenues again; 13 years, 13 record revenue auctions," said Russell.

Proceeds went to 15 children's charities in the Florida panhandle, as in previous years. But for 2018, the organizers added another beneficiary: Sonoma and Napa fire-relief funds, which Russell said was a unanimous decision by the board. "We are so grateful to the California wine industry for their support," he said. "Without them we don't exist."

The Magnum Force lot, featuring 50 magnums from past and present participating vintners like Willamette Valley Vineyards, Mollydooker and Clos du Val, originally sold for $65,000. The winning bidder donated it back and it was auctioned off a second time for $60,000, to raise a total of $125,000.

Other big lots included a wine lover's African safari trip, donated by the Betz Family winery, which went for $46,000, and the top lot of the night: a 2008 Tesla Roadster that sold for $82,000.

"We continue to offer a balance of wine-only and lifestyle trips," said Russell. "Multiple couple trips work very well at our auction because so many of our patrons are close friends."

Guests were also treated to a choice of 12 Patron Dinners the night before the auction, featuring wines from more than 25 vintners paired with dining selections by 14 chefs from restaurants including Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winners Brennan's, Canoe and Cuvee 30A.

"Our patrons have a great time and the funds we raise make a huge difference in our community," Russell said. "It never ceases to amaze us how generous our patrons can be."

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