From lunch cruises to two grand tastings, the wine will be flowing
By Michelle Farnham
Hundreds of wines, four days, two charities, one iconic festival. The Sandestin Wine Festival is gearing up for its 32nd installment April 12 to 15 at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.
Things get underway the evening of April 12 with a round of gourmet wine dinners around The Village of Baytowne Wharf, and continuing throughout the weekend.
Friday starts with a Champagne & Seafood Lunch Cruise ($93) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. aboard the 125-foot Solaris luxury yacht. Setting sail from the adjoining Baytowne Marina, diners enjoy a four-course Gulf Coast seafood menu, paired with premium champagnes. Make reservations at SunQuestCruises.com or at 850-650-2519.
The Sandestin Wine Festival boasts two grand wine tastings: Friday 5 to 8 p.m. ($55 advance, $65 day-of), and Saturday 1 to 5 p.m. ($85/$95). Attendees will each receive a tasting glass, their ticket to hundreds of international and domestic wines available throughout Baytowne.
If you were hoping to score tickets to Friday or Saturday’s VIP lounge area, we have bad news for you: they’ve already sold out. Those guests will indulge in premium wines, spirits, and hors d’oeuvres from Marlin Grill before entering the grand tasting.
“(We are) not forecasting to sell out of general grand tasting tickets quite yet, but certainly could closer to the festival,” warned Julie Stuckey, marketing and communications manager at Baytowne Wharf. “We sold out of Friday last year.”
Grand tasting attendees can nosh on bites from area restaurants at the Savor South Walton food tents found around the festival grounds. The lineup includes – but is not limited to – appearances from local restaurants Baytowne Provisions and Hartell’s Village Diner on Friday; The Vue on 30a on Saturday; and Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, 30A Olive Oil, Signature Catering 30A, and Sandestin Food and Beverage on both days.
If all those ABVs have clouded your savasana, check out the “Mind. Body. Beach.” yoga session ($25) happening Saturday at 9 a.m. The gurus from Spa Sandestin will lead a class seaside, coupled with mimosas.
To cap off the weekend, Emerald Coast celebrity chef Jim Shirley – recently back from headlining at The Beard House in New York City – hosts a Sunday Bubbly Brunch ($40) at his newest hotspot: Baytowne Provisions. Seasonal brunch items, bottomless mimosas and specialty drinks are the fare of the day, with seatings at 10 and 11:30 a.m.
Should you happen to stumble upon a new favorite vintage, pick up a bottle or five at a special price from the ABC Fine Wine & Spirits retail tent, which will be open Friday 2 to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to noon.
Once again, all this merriment is for a good cause. The festival’s beneficiaries include the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast – providing a “home away from home” for military families undergoing treatment – and Sandestin Foundation for Kids – a volunteer-based organization helping children locally and abroad.
For more information and to purchase tickets before they sell out, visit sandestinwinefestival.com.