South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival Pours Over 800 Fine Wines

A dazzling roster of dozens of celebrity winemakers, distillers, chefs, brew masters and entertainers converge.
Photo courtesy of South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival

For nearly 40 years, Chan Cox, founder of Wine World, has been impacting wine culture in Northwest Florida.

In 2013, he launched the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival as an event where wine lovers could gain access to a vast array of diverse wines from around the world.

The festival now stands as the Southeast’s premier wine and food event.

The high caliber of wine is ensured as, each February, an international wine competition takes place at the Hilton Sandestin.

Wines throughout the world are juried and judged, with the winners acknowledged at the April festival. The integrity of the festival is further bolstered by access to winemakers, wine representatives and winery owners.

Attendees are able to learn from and meet the people who have rsthand experience in the winemaking and spirits-making process. Two seminars are held during each day of Grand Tasting, allowing attendees to experience an in-depth tasting with industry notables.

Winemakers and special guests at the festival include Erik Kramer, winemaker for WillaKenzie Estate, who holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Florida State — a degree he draws on when considering the relationship between terroir and wine quality. Joining Kramer will be Jackson Family Wines, Rob Samuels of Maker’s Mark and Michael Landis with Institut du Fromage.

Landis promises to prepare an impressive charcuterie perfectly paired with wines.

“Our hope is that wine lovers will have an amazing experience tasting wines they might never have tasted otherwise and to be able to meet with industry professionals to glean information about what they are tasting,” said Stacey Brady, Executive Director of the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival.

The weekend kicks off with the Friday VIP Tasting, 4–6 p.m., pouring high-end, collectible and library wines and food prepared by the variety of highly regarded restaurants in Grand Boulevard.

From 6–9 p.m. on Friday, the festival presents the Craft Beer and Spirits Jam, a true block party with craft breweries, premium spirits, tasty food and a jamming band.

Grand Tastings will occur from 1–4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and guests are encouraged to visit the over 100 wine tents and specialty areas.

The Culinary Village is a true delight, caringly curated by culinary director Scott Plumely.

The Nosh Stations serve up a variety of foods that pair decadently with wine, including cheese, charcuterie, sushi and sub- stantial offerings from the best local restaurants.

The Rosé All Day Garden debuted in 2018 and is back in high demand for 2019. In a whirl of Rosé adornments, sip on this crowd favorite wine from varieties around the world.

Chill out by stopping for a frosé at one of the four machines on-site.

“We stay on top of all the major trends happening in the wine and spirits industry, which transcends into the success of the festival,” said Brady.

“The festival has won countless awards because we are always ahead of the curve. But even more so, we stay on trend because attendees appreciate the attention to detail.”

Guests might come for the wine, but they leave knowing they have contributed to the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation through their ticket purchase.

The festival is very proud of their partnership with DCWAF, which supports 16 charities throughout Northwest Florida.

If the clink of glasses and pop of a cork are music to your ears, and if your taste buds tingle at the thought of swilling fabulous wines, the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival is your personal weekend paradise.


Presenting Sponsors: Wine Enthusiasts, Grand Boulevard, Visit South Walton
Official Lodging Partner: ResortQuest
Official Media Sponsor: Emerald Coast Magazine
Community Sponsor: Publix
Founding Partners: Hilton Sandestin Golf Resort and Spa, Florida Restaraunt and Lodging Association, Wine World
Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.
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