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Posted on Sep 01, 2013 in Seeing Red Wine Festival , 23rd Annual , September-October 2013

The Seeing Red Wine Festival offers a dizzying array of wines for any red wine lover. Photos by Chandler Williams

The 23rd Annual Seeing Red Wine Festival celebrates the joy of wine By Emma Kellum

Wine enthusiasts gather in Seaside each year to sample wines from around the globe during the last weekend of October, when the award-winning town will host its 23rd Annual Seeing Red Wine Festival.

Seeing Red, in conjunction with Taste of the Beach, is part of a three-day wine event held at various locations along the Emerald Coast. Guests can stroll through tasting areas to sample wines while enjoying music, Southern hospitality and cool autumn air. Each tasting area features live music. And guests can purchase bottles on site. The festivities extend to intimate lectures and tastings with featured guest winemakers, dinners, and reserve wine tastings.

“The Seeing Red Wine Festival is one of the most highly anticipated fall events in the region,” says Lori Leath Smith, Seaside Community Development Corp. public relations and marketing director. “Seaside’s highlighted events on Friday and Saturday allow both the wine novice and the fine wine connoisseur to sample specialty wines while speaking with the very people who devote their lives to the cultivation of the grapes.”

Several of Seaside’s well-known restaurants feature specially prepared meals for the event, pairing meals with the ideal reds.

“It is a tradition that has taken Seaside by storm,” Leath Smith says. “Tourists and homeowners plan for this weekend many months in advance. This event not only brings in hundreds from near and far, but it also features more than 250 different kinds of red wine.”

The event is a collaboration between the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce and Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF), part of Taste of The Beach combining new and established food, wine and artistic events, featuring prized vintners and renowned chefs.

The majority of proceeds from ticket sales and the charity auction benefit local charities that work to improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of underprivileged and at-risk children in Northwest Florida. For a list of charities the event is helping, visit tasteofthebeachfl.com.

Ticket Packages

Accommodations in Seaside range from a one-bedroom hideaway to a private cottage large enough for families, all set among brick paved streets and picket fences. Complimentary amenities include the private swim, tennis and fitness club, gift totes and free DVD rentals.

Cottage Rental Agency, the official lodging sponsor of the event, is offering free tickets to the festival when booking a room during

Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2013. Guests who stay two nights receive a free ticket with the purchase of a ticket.

Guests who stay three nights or more receive a free ticket if they stay in a one-bedroom; Two free tickets for a two-bedroom or larger. Visit seeingredwinefestival.com to book.

Special accommodation packages are available in Seaside. Visit seasidefl.com/vacations/rentals.

The 22nd Annual Seeing Red Wine Festival in 2012 drew wine connoisseurs and novices to Seaside. Photo by Chandler Williams

Park and Ride

Guests can take the shuttle to and from Seaside for the event. The Seeing Red Wine Festival is offering free parking to all guests at Publix at WaterColor Crossings on County Road 395. Guests can access this lot by heading south on 395 from Highway 98 and follow the signs. Trams will run continuously from 11a.m. to 7 p.m., allowing guests the opportunity to arrive early and stroll through Seaside and stay late for dinner following the event.

See page 18 for nightly details. For more information regarding Seeing Red Wine Festival tickets, accommodations packages, and more, visit seeingredwinefestival.com.