Sea, Sand & Sip

Sea, Sand & Sip

Mark your calendar now: the 35th annual Sandestin Wine Festival is just a couple months away

Words by Paige Townley

Any time is a good time to visit the beach, and The Village of Baytowne Wharf is providing a must-visit reason in early April: The Sandestin Wine Festival.

To be held April 7 through 10 at The Village of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort, The Sandestin Wine Festival is a four-day event that will offer one-of-a-kind seminars, wine dinners, grand wine tastings, and even unique culinary experiences. This year, the event—which is known as the “Kentucky Derby of Wine Festivals”—is celebrating its 35th anniversary, and the grandeur and tradition for which it’s known will be bigger and better than ever.

The picture-perfect series of events kicks off on Thursday with The Sandestin Wine Festival Kickoff Party, which includes food tastings and wine and liquor sampling, along with special wine dinners and seminars from quality Village Restaurants. The event continues on Friday and Saturday with the Grand Wine Tastings. The two days will feature more than 75 tents of wine and vineyard representatives from around the world providing a rare opportunity to learn about the finest appellations from all major wine producing countries. Along with  the many wine tastings, there are delectable food pairings with Savor South Walton. The Savor South Walton experience means ticket buyers will have the opportunity to sample the cuisine of some of the region’s most talented chefs who will all be on hand throughout the festival. Saturday also includes a special yoga session on the beach, presented by Hotel Effie & Spa Liliana.

Beyond the many domestic and international wines, ticket buyers will also get the opportunity to enjoy live music and The Village of Baytowne Wharf’s charming shops, dining, and accommodations. “The event gives us an advantage to truly show off what Florida and South Walton has to offer, from our ability to pull off a great event to showcasing local tastes with Savor South Walton to inviting them to come back for more” adds Leighann Elliott, Events Manager for The Village of Baytowne Wharf.

Over the course of the four days, the festival is expected to draw more than 4,000 attendees, most of whom from not only outside of the county but the state of Florida. Proceeds from the festival will go to support Fisher House of the Emerald Coast & Sandestin Foundation for Kid’s missions. “It’s great wine for a great cause,” Leighann says. “I love watching our Sandestin Wine Festival guests enjoy beautiful weather and amazing wine and food. Being so hands-on with this event from organizing the tent layout, selecting the wine and food that guests enjoy to placing ads in local and regional partners is so rewarding. It takes a village to run a village and an event like this and my team works hard to make the festival vibrant and run smoothly. We truly enjoy creating memories for our festival attendees.”