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John Russell named President of Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation

DESTIN, FL, Feb. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - The Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, one of the top wine auction foundations in the country and the largest non profit fundraising organization on Florida's Emerald Coast, today named John Russell as President.

According to DCWAF Chair Jane Solomon, the organization is fortunate to have someone of Russell's level of knowledge, leadership and experience lead this impactful non profit group.

Russell succeeds Todd Vucovich, who has served as President of DCWAF for nearly five years. "This year's wine auction and related events promises to eclipse all previous years, a wonderful testament to Todd's capable work and the direction of the DCWAF Board of Directors," said Russell. "I am honored to be chosen to lead an organization dedicated to raising funds to support children in need." Russell became a board member of the Foundation in 2009 and has held the role of Chairman since 2010.

Russell most recently served as President of Sandestin Investments, LLC, and President of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, the #1 resort in the Destin area and Florida's Gulf Coast.  During his tenure, he helped the company increase occupancy and implement new service standards. He also led the organization through the 2010 Deepwater horizon crisis and a change in company ownership.

Prior to joining Sandestin, Russell was a partner in the West Paces Hotel Group, a luxury hotel management company founded by legendary hotelier Horst Schulze.  While at West Paces Hotel Group, he worked on numerous projects including the renovation of the Hotel at Auburn University, the Daufuskie Island Resort and Breathe Spa, and the Partridge Inn in Augusta.

Russell worked for nine years with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.  While with Ritz-Carlton he was the opening General Manager of the Ritz Carlton San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was recognized as the "Best Hotel in the Caribbean" in its first year of operation by Travel + Leisure magazine.  He was promoted to open the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans where the hotel had the unusual distinction of earning the coveted AAA five diamond award in its first year.

He received his bachelor's degree from the Pennsylvania State University, and served as an instructor of hospitality finance at Auburn University.  Russell has served on the boards of the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Sandestin Homeowners Association, Walton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Destin Wine Charity Auction Foundation.

About Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation

The Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation's (DCWAF) mission is to connect wine enthusiasts to raise money for children in need.  Founded in 2005, DCWAF has donated more than $3.5 million to Emerald Coast children's charities by hosting world-class wine and culinary events. These funds have impacted the lives of more than 30,000 youth, including those afflicted by health issues and abuse. Among the organization's major events is the Wine and Dine in Paradise events this April 26-29. Learn more at or

SOURCE Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation

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