Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation Announces Castello Banfi Vineyard as its 2016 International Honorary Vintner and Forman Vineyard as its 2016 Honorary Vintner Celebrated winemakers from around the globe will converge in South Walton for the ultimate wine weekend, April 29-May 1

DESTIN, Fla. – (Feb. 16, 2016) – Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF) announces its annual honorary vintners for the 2016 wine auction weekend, April 29-May 1. DCWAF names Ric Forman of Forman Vineyard as the 2016 Honorary Vintner for the 11th Annual Auction. In tandem, DCWAF announces Cristina Mariani-May, co-CEO of Castello Banfi Vineyard Estate in Montalcino, Tuscany, as the 2016 International Honorary Vintner. Listed among the “Top Ten Wine Auctions in the U.S.” by Wine Spectator Magazine, the Destin Charity Wine Auction connects wine enthusiasts with preeminent winemakers to help children in need in Northwest Florida.

“Each year our foundation reviews the vintners that have been instrumental in our success since our inception,” said John Russell, president of DCWAF. “These vintners’ belief in us in our early years created a level of credibility that allowed us to attract other quality winemakers and participants. Through their support, our auction has grown and achieved incredible success, which has allowed us to donate more than $10 million over 10 years and impacted the lives of more than 60,000 youth in Northwest Florida.”

Forman Vineyard –Honorary Vintner

Ric Forman founded Forman Vineyard in 1983 to fulfill a dream of producing, as a sole proprietor, small quantities of classically made Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Forman’s philosophy of winemaking is influenced by the winemaking practices of the Bordeaux region of France. Adopting a more traditional approach as opposed to technological, Forman personally nurtures the wines during every stage of production – from harvest, through blending, bottling and aging. Following fermentation, the wine is aged in new French oak barrels deep within caves that have been constructed to maintain a cool dark and humid environment well-suited for aging red wine.

Perched on a ridge at the base of the Howell Mountain, overlooking St. Helena, today Forman Vineyard produces a varietals ranging from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot as well as a small quantity of Chardonnay. Forman participated at the second Annual Destin Charity Wine Auction in 2007 and returned four times over the past nine years to support DCWAF and children in need in Northwest Florida.

Banfi Vintners/ Castello Banfi – International Honorary Vintner

Cristina Mariani-May is the family proprietor and co-CEO of Banfi Vintners and the award-winning Castello Banfi Vineyard Estate in Montalcino, Tuscany. The granddaughter of John F. Mariani Sr. who founded the company in 1919, Cristina represents the third generation of family leadership. In 1978, the family founded Castello Banfi, which has been awarded Italy’s highest wine honor, Premio Gran VinItaly as “International Winery of the Year” an unprecedented four times and awarded Italy’s top winery for 11 consecutive years.

Castello Banfi is also the first winery in the world to be awarded the international recognition for Exceptional Environmental, Ethical and Social Responsibility.

Cristina’s cousin, Virginia Mariani-Kitt, first participated in the Destin Charity Wine Auction in 2009 and the family has been instrumental in supporting and growing the festival over the years. Cristina will be celebrated throughout the weekend at the Live Auction and Reserve Tasting, and a Friday evening patron dinner. Among headliners at the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival, she will also be included in VIP events and seminars.

“Now 11 years later, Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation has grown due to the support and friendship of these winemakers,” said DCWAF Past President Todd Vucovich. “Early on, they saw our passion for wine, and our desire to have an impact in our community, and they chose to be a part of it. They came to the Emerald Coast to support our mission, and they left as friends.”

Paul Hobbs Winery, Spring Mountain Vineyard, Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and Winery, William Selyem, Domaine Serene, Kosta Browne, and Joseph Phelps Vineyards are among the distinguished list of past honorees. In 2015, DCWAF honored its first International Honorary Vintner, inducting Famille Perrin and Chateau Beaucastel of Rhône Valley, France into this esteemed group. The 2016 Auction marks the second year to honor both a domestic and international vintner who have made significant contributions to DCWAF over the years.

To learn more about the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation and the ultimate wine weekend in South Walton, visit


About Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation

Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation’s (DCWAF) mission is to connect wine enthusiasts to raise money to benefit children in need in Northwest Florida. Founded in 2005, Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation has donated more than $10 million to Northwest Florida charities through hosting world class wine and culinary events. The signature event, the Destin Charity Wine Auction, is held in South Walton within Grand Boulevard at Sandestin the last weekend of April each year. These funds have impacted the lives of over 60,000 youth, including those afflicted by health issues and abuse. DCWAF is recognized as one of the nation’s ‘Top 10 Charity Wine Auctions in the U.S.’ by Wine Spectator Magazine. Learn more at or