By Pam Windsor
April 1, 2021
One of the most popular events of the year, the Sandestin Wine Festival, will take place April 15 to 18. Hosted by the Village of Baytowne, this festival offers something for wine lovers of every level, from the novice to the aficionado.
Two grand wine tastings are scheduled for Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.
“We’ll have more than 500 different types of domestic and international wines,” noted Leighann Elliott, event manager for the Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin. “And the village is kind of transformed for the festival. There are white tents, the wine is flowing, and there’s food and music. And a lot of the vineyard owners and winemakers are available, so attendees will get a chance to talk to them and learn about their wines.”
Sampling so many different types of wines and getting to learn more about the process that goes into making them often gives people an entirely new perspective.
“You might think you like chardonnay or cabernet,” Elliott said, “but then you try all of these different wines and you’re like, ‘Wow, I think I like all of them!’”
And where there is fine wine, there is also exceptional food to pair with it.
“We do what we call our ‘Taste of South Walton’ food events,” Elliot explained. “We have chefs from local restaurants who take part, so we’ll have different culinary tents.”
In addition to food and wine tastings, festival-goers can look forward to special VIP events, wine dinners, seminars, and Yoga on the Beach.
“That’s one of my favorite events,” Elliott said. “We have a yoga instructor, we offer mimosas, and everyone gets a mat that says 34th Annual Sandestin Wine Festival. It’s a great way to kick off the morning on Saturday.”
The festival, which draws people from across the country, helps benefit the community. The Village of Baytowne works with local non-profits to bring everything together.
“We work with Fisher House of the Emerald Coast and the Sandestin Foundation for Kids,” said Elliott. “They provide the volunteers for the festival. They’re the hands of the festival; they’re the ones running around, pouring the wine, and serving the food. Then we donate proceeds back to the charity.”
With last year’s festival forced to cancel due to the pandemic, organizers are thrilled to be able to host it this year. To ensure safety, most events will be held outside, some of the tents will be spaced farther apart, and hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the festival.
“This event brings in such a wide range of experiences for all of our guests. They really do get to meet wine experts from across the country. They get an opportunity to taste all of these unique, hand-selected wines. And then they have an opportunity to buy the wines at a discounted cost at the festival. So, it’s a really neat way for them to try what they like and take it home with them. We’re excited to get to see people smiling and enjoying all the festival has to offer.”
For the full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit the website.
The Sandestin Wine Festival will be held at April 15 to 18, 2021 at The Village of Baytowne Wharf in Miramar Beach. Tickets are required to participate, but the festival grounds are open to the public. Visit www.sandestinwinefestival.com or email [email protected].