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DCWAF raises over $1.35 million for children in need through its first fully virtual auction

Special to Gannett

MIRAMAR BEACH – Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF) celebrated the 15th Annual Destin Charity Wine Auction presented by the Jumonville Family through a new virtual format on Aug. 22. The event raised $1.35 million for children in need in Northwest Florida, despite the many challenges presented by COVID-19.

More:PHOTOS: Destin Charity Wine Auction 2019

“We are so very grateful for the support of our board, our business community, and so many wineries that played a role in helping us produce the 2020 auction," said John Russell, DCWAF president. "The fact that we could raise over $1.35 million for children’s charities while maintaining a safe environment for all is proof that we can continue to make positive impacts in our communities despite the pandemic. The lesson we learned is don’t stop fighting to find a way forward.”

More (May 2019):Destin wine auction raises record-breaking $3.6 million

The auction, originally scheduled for the last weekend in April, has overcome a number of challenges during its anniversary year to include rescheduling to August before moving to a fully virtual format. The funds raised far exceeded the Foundation’s fundraising goal and are trending above the national average for funds raised through virtual charity auctions.

The funds raised far exceeded the Foundation’s fundraising goal and are trending above the national average for funds raised through virtual charity auctions.

The live auction portion of the event was held simultaneously with a live broadcast streamed on YouTube from the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa. Hosted by auctioneer Ursula Hermancinski, friends from throughout the Foundation’s 15-year history sent in messages of support to kick off the live broadcast. Prior to the 2020 auction, DCWAF had yet to break the $100,000 barrier for a single-sale live lot. DCWAF announced that this year’s auction boasted two record-breakings lots, an immersive trip to Dakota Shy and Triple Creek Ranch featuring Honorary Vintner Todd Newman and Honorary Chef Tim Creehan which sold for $105,000 and a trip to Virgin Gorda with the Phelps family that sold for $100,000.

Charity partners for 2020 include Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast, Children in Crisis, Children’s Volunteer Health Network, Emerald Coast Autism Center, 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, Shelter House of Northwest Florida, AMIkids Emerald Coast, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast, Mental Health Association of Okaloosa and Walton Counties, Westonwood Ranch, and Youth Village.

As the top charity fundraising event in Northwest Florida, the Destin Charity Wine Auction has been ranked among the nation’s top 10 highest-grossing charity wine auctions in the country by Wine Spectator Magazine for seven consecutive years and is currently ranked sixth. The money raised at this year’s auction will be presented to the charity partners this fall in private check presentation ceremonies that adhere to current social distancing guidelines.