Harvest Wine & Food Festival Brings a Bounty

Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation sets fundraising record
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Photo courtesy of Kiara Watson

It was a picture perfect, palate pleasing weekend for the sixth annual Harvest Wine & Food Festival, produced by the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation and held Oct. 13-16.

The sold out weekend, which benefits 17 local charities, began on Thursday evening with curated, intimate wine dinners. Locally loved restaurants Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, Ovide at Hotel Effie and Vin’tij Fod + Wine hosted multi-course dinners with wine pairings.

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Photo courtesy of Kiara Watson

Hosted in a breathtaking private WaterColor residence provided by 360 Blue, Chef Craig Richards of Lyla Lila in Atlanta paired with Senses Wines to provide a spin on his well-known Pasta and Vinyl sensory experience. Tables were dressed in crushed velvet as dishes including a scrumptious duck lasagna were served. Each course was paired not only with a wine, but also with a record album from Chef Richards’ personal collection.

On Friday, Good Grit hosted a dinner new to the festival, “Women with Grit,” coordinated by Chef Kristen Hall of The Essential and Bar La Fête in Birmingham. Hall led a team of female chefs in preparing a multi-course meal featuring wine selections from female-owned winery Saint Helena Winery.

This year, the main attraction, The Grand Tasting, brought in over 1,000 guests who sampled wines from around the world and enjoyed bites from elevated provisions stations. A VIP tent hosted by Emerald Coast Magazine served boutique wines, elevated eats, and craft cocktails in a lounge setting.

Sunday brought a cocktail brunch hosted by Better Together Beverage and personalities from the Agave Road Trip podcast. The podcast hosts took attendees on a tequila journey paired with a brunch prepared by chef Phil McDonald of Black Bear Bread Company.

“We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful weekend,” said Kate MacMillan, director of marketing and communications for the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation. “Every year, my favorite part is seeing everyone come together, connecting new and returning guests, and informing them about the foundation’s mission.”

This year, the event was held during homeowner’s weekend, driving even more traffic to the event and awareness to the cause. As a result, the festival enjoyed its most successful year yet, raising over $110,000 for charities.

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Photo courtesy of Kiara Watson

“Every year, I enjoy watching the festival grow and elevate in its offerings while also growing in its contributions to our partner charities,” MacMillan said. “Our community is so incredibly philanthropic.”

The 17 benefitting charities were:

  • AMIkids Emerald Coast
  • Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast
  • Children in Crisis, Inc.
  • Children’s Volunteer Health Network
  • Emerald Coast Autism Center
  • Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center
  • Ellison McCraney Ingram Foundation
  • Food For Thought Outreach
  • Habitat for Humanity of Walton County
  • Mental Health Association of Okaloosa & Walton Counties
  • Opportunity Place
  • Point Washington Medical Clinic
  • Shelter House of Northwest Florida
  • The Arc of the Emerald Coast
  • Westonwood Ranch
  • Youth Village

Next year’s festival will be held Oct. 19-22, 2023 and tickets will go on sale in July. To learn more visit: HarvestWineandFood.com

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Photo courtesy of Kiara Watson


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