Sandestin Wine Festival: Wine, food and fun in the sun!

35th annual gala pours more than just wine

By Michelle Farnham
April 11, 2022

SANDESTIN – Unseasonably cool breezes swept across Baytowne Wharf during the 35th annual Sandestin Wine Festival, held April 7 through 10, but there were plenty of fiery reds and zesty whites to warm you from the inside out.

There appeared to be more non-wine options out for sampling, too, including the likes of Ghost Tequila, Ranch Rider Spirits, and Bumbu Rum – in addition to the Bubbly & Boozy tents.

Monkey Shoulder
Monkey Shoulder poured its premium blended malt Scotch whisky in custom keepsake glasses.

Two hard-to-miss offerings included Monkey Shoulder Whiskey – which dispensed its cocktail from the back of a custom-outfitted concrete mixer – and industry newcomer Mom Water.

Co-owners Jill and Bryce Morrison got the un-carbonated, fruit-infused vodka drink Mom Water onto store shelves in March of 2021, and were enjoying an overwhelmingly positive response at Sandestin.

“I started making this for myself because I was tired of the seltzers, tired of the bloat,” Jill explained. “I wanted to be able to walk into a bar or restaurant and order a water vodka that wasn’t 70 percent vodka that you have to choke down.”

At 4.5 percent ABV, the drink is approachable, and features fun flavor names like Karen (lemon blueberry) and Sandy (coconut mango).

There was certainly still plenty of vino to be had, from sparkling prosecco to gewurztraminer to hefy merlots, and everything in between.

“The best I’ve had today was the Alkoomi Wines sémillon/sauvignon blanc from the Wines of Australia tent,” said first-time festival attendee Katy Copeland of Santa Rosa Beach. “It was a nice, clean sauvignon blanc.”

The Village Door
The Village Door plated chicken wings with zesty potato salad.

During Saturday’s grand tasting, culinary offerings came in the form of chicken wings with potato salad from Village Oyster, shrimp jalapeño pasta from Cannery Lane Cantina, and charcuterie cones from Ovide.

Baytowne Wharf newcomer Yaki Sushi & Noodles served up bao buns filled with teriyaki marinated pork with pickled vegetables.

Other festival weekend festivities included Thursday night’s kick-off party at The Village Door featuring Timber Creek Distillery, Seas the Day yoga and mimosas on the beach Saturday morning, and Sunday’s Hangover Brunch catered by Ovide.

Kombi Keg
The Kombi Keg VW bus rolled in to serve Destin Brewery beers.

The 36th annual installment of the Sandestin Wine Festival is already on the calendar for April 13 to 16, 2023.

Photos by Michelle Farnham