By Michelle Farnham
April 5, 2023
SANDESTIN – Dubbed “The Kentucky Derby of wine festivals,” the Sandestin Wine Festival is back for its 36th installment this April. Rain or shine, guests come to choose from hundreds of wines to sip, and dine on a selection of local eateries’ offerings.
The party gets started with the official kick-off Thursday night at The Village Door from 7 to 9 p.m.
Gourmet food and wine pairings will take place at merchants throughout the Village of Baytowne Wharf all four nights.
Two days of Grand Tastings feature table after table of vintners, pouring everything from Riesling to Cab Sav and plenty in between. Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday 1 to 4 p.m., guests can taste as many varieties as they choose, making notes of favorites along the way. Savor South Walton tents will dot the grounds, featuring some of Baytowne Wharf and South Walton’s best restaurants and their kitchen crews. Sample bites from steak to seafood to sweets.
Ticket-holders 21 and over are given a wristband and tasting glass, meaning non-drinking guests are welcome to enjoy the festivities as well. The heartiest of wine enthusiasts can opt for the 2-day Grand Tasting ticket to enjoy a discount, while supplies last. VIP lounge tickets have already sold out.
Yoga, mimosas and the beach converge for a morning of relaxation during Saturday’s Seas the Day session, starting at 9 a.m. Enjoy a good stretch and a sip at this yoga class held at the Sandestin Beach Access, presented by Hotel Effie & Spa Lilliana. If rain dampens the zen, the event moves indoors to Hotel Effie.
Round out the weekend with the New Orleans Bottomless Brunch held Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pick from two seatings, 10 or 11:30 a.m. to enjoy a creole menu, bottomless mimosas and a bloody Mary bar.
All this fun is for a good cause, as proceeds of the Sandestin Wine Festival benefit its longtime charities: Fisher House of the Emerald Coast – providing a home away from home for military families – and Sandestin Foundation for Kids, helping local children in need.
“Last year we raised a combined total of $45,000 for our charities,” explained Village of Baytowne Wharf Events Manager Kensley Brooks. “They are a big part of helping the Sandestin Wine Festival run day-of. They help out by volunteering as pourers, ticket scanners, runners, set up, clean up, etc. We really couldn’t do it without them and we can’t thank them enough.”
The Sandestin Wine Festival weekend is slated for April 13 to 16, 2023, throughout the grounds of the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach. For more information including ticket sales, food vendors and the Taster’s Guide, visit www.sandestinwinefestival.com.