Wine festival wishes and Alys Beach dreams

30A Wine Festival is a sight to behold

Michelle Farnham
March 3, 2022

ALYS BEACH – A beautiful night under the glow of an Emerald Coast sunset turned into a beautiful night under the glow of twinkling lights at the 30A Wine Festival Feb. 26.

Charles Street
Charles Street was buzzing with live music and a lively crowd.

Those lucky enough to gain entry into the sold out premier event strolled South Charles Street, visiting 44 vendor tables, sampling wines, fine dining fare and cocktails. Surrounded by the towering architecture of Alys Beach, spring fashions made an early debut and cuisine ranged from paella to popsicles.

Chef Drew Dzejak represented Alys Beach’s The Citizen, bringing his famous Calabrian Shrimp, served with crispy shallots, fresh herbs and focaccia. A few tables down, Big Bad Breakfast dished up Winter Vegetable Hash and an Indian-Spiced Vichyssoise with spice-crusted shrimp.

amici 30A Italian Kitchen
amici 30A Italian Kitchen pleased the crowd with their aracini, caprese skewers and Amy’s Meatballs

amici 30A Italian Kitchen pleased the crowd with their aracini, caprese skewers and Amy’s Meatballs; while Black Bear Barroom put out an impressive charcuterie spread and Gianduja tarts – a chocolate-lover’s dream.

Holiday Cafe was on site, sharing the news of their upcoming establishment, set to open early May. Serving coffee, wine, and small eats, Holiday Cafe will be located near Mast Furniture in Alys Beach.

Wine pour
The 30A Wine Festival featured 44 tables of food, wine and cocktails.

Napa’s Robert Biale Vineyards was on hand again, offering the R.W. Moore Zinfandel and Royal Punishers Petite Sirah.

“We specialize in zinfandel and everyone has really been going after it,” the Biale rep admitted. “That vineyard was planted in 1905 so it’s incredibly old and still tasting just wonderful.”

In addition to wine, four tables near the stage were mixing cocktails, including the Blue Me Away (Kastra Elion Vodka, Blue Curacao, Chartreuse, grapefruit bitters, lime and soda) and at the Tequila Komos table, the Rosy Dawn (rosé syrup, strawberry, lime and Maldon salt).

The festival gives guests a chance to try new bottles before hitting the retail tent.

“I like that this festival is in the evening, both from a climate perspective and because the vibe is a little more chill,” said attendee Andrew Williams of Ohio, who has been to all the South Walton wine festivals, but fell in love with the 30A fest on his first visit. “As much as I like day drinking, I like evening drinking even more!”

A trio of musical groups played along the street, keeping the mood as airy as the night’s light gulf breeze, and a silent auction encouraged bids to benefit the Children’s Volunteer Health Network, providing dental care to underserved local children. Other festival weekend events included a wine dinner at Caliza, a beer and wine dinner, oysters and champagne in Central Park, the Flor de Cana Rum dinner, a mixology seminar; Bourbon, Beer & Butts Friday night; and Sunday’s Gospel Brunch and Rosé & Croquet tournament.

Wine, food and friends, what could be better?

Photos by Michelle Farnham