Seaside enjoys tidal wave of reds
Seeing Red Wine Festival sells out in its 29 th year
By Michelle Farnham
November 12th 2019
SEASIDE – Move over moscato, au revoir rosé. The Seeing Red Wine Festival
welcomed fall not with a light spritzer but – as the name would suggest – the bigger,
bolder flavors of red wine. Lovers of a good cab sav, petite sirah, or red zin were in
good company, with more than 170 bottles from which to choose.
The sold-out weekend Nov. 7 to 10 was Seaside’s 29th annual, and Saturday’s Grand
Tasting included labels from Tamber Bey Vineyards, Sojourn Cellars, Murder Ridge
Winery, and Pali Wine Co., to name a few.
Representing Valdez Family Winery at Tent No. 10 were Angelica and Elizabeth
Valdez. The sisters, along with their two younger brothers, produce seven wines in
Sonoma County, Calif., and were back at Seaside for their fourth festival.
“This is a great location, lively and always fun!” admitted Angelica. “Our distributors
are great and they bring us back here.”
Winemaker Elizabeth offered three labels: their Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and
Zinfandel, adding that Valdez strives to keep up with industry trends.
“A lot of what we’re seeing is pushing more toward natural wine-making,” Elizabeth
explained. “Vineyards are becoming more biodynamic and focusing a lot on
sustainability. Whatever comes on the grapes is what we use to ferment and try to
keep it as pure as possible.”
A collection of 11 Seaside-area culinary partners were also on hand, offering some
very welcomed bites – and sips, in the case of Amavida Coffee & Tea.
The Bud & Alley’s trio – the flagship restaurant, Pizza Bar, and Taco Bar – manned
three tents, dishing up barbecue pork belly sliders with coleslaw, Neapolitan pizza,
and brisket enchiladas, respectively. The Shrimp Shack was there serving shrimp
sliders, all-beef burgers from Pickle’s Burger & Shake, and roasted tomato soup
from The Meltdown On 30A.
As guests made it to the center of Seaside Square, they entered the Ji•Shi Ki•chn
Paella Pavilion where they could not only ogle at the Porsche on display and sample
from five tables of wine, but enjoy the eatery’s famous paella and smoked gouda and
The crowd seemed to be a mix of local wine enthusiasts and those from out of state.
Atlanta friends Shelley Payne, Beverly Zoeller, Amy Tharp, Kanette Fenstermacher
and Laura Soscia were having a great time at their first Seeing Red fest. The NOLA
visitors were easy to spot in their LSU game day purple and gold, and attendees
from Houston loved the festival’s proximity to the beach.
Friday evening’s Al Fresco Reserve Wine Tasting at Ruskin Place allowed guests to
sample some real heavy-hitters, including the 2016 Beckstoffer to Kalon Cabernet
Sauvignon and the Goldeneye Pinot Noir Ten Degrees. To complement the wine,
South Walton restaurateur Jim Shirley and his teams offered a selection of hors
d’oeuvres like lamb chops, hand pies, sushi, foie gras dumplings, and duck with
sweet potato and black cherry glaze.
The festival weekend – which was named one of the best under-the-radar fall wine
and food festivals by Forbes – also included the vintner’s dinner at Bud & Alley’s
Thursday and Sunday’s Celebration of Bubbles Brunch with Shirley in Ruskin Place.