An exciting concept was brought to life last month when Seaside founders Robert and Daryl Davis, in collaboration with winemaker Erik Miller, created a new family of wines called the Seaside Wine Project.
It is Seaside’s private label, for which the Davises hand-selected the varietals with help from Seaside’s food and beverage consultant, Clark Wolf, and Modica Market owner, Charlie Modica, who flew to Sonoma, Calif., visiting several wineries.
The Davises ultimately selected Erik Miller’s Kokomo Winery, making the decision based on requests from locals and visitors alike, seeking high quality and great tasting wine. “The idea of Seaside began with the notion of reviving traditions deep rooted in the history of the Florida Gulf Coast,” Robert Davis explains. “The dream was of a place that would maintain a high degree of quality and character seamlessly tied by a common sense of community. Similar in vision, Kokomo Winery is rediscovering and reviving traditional techniques of growing grapes and making wines that are deeply rooted in the terroir of Sonoma, just as Seaside has rediscovered and revived Gulf Coast architecture and community building.”
Miller takes no shortcuts. “We are a small production technique winery and the relationships with growers allow the winery to produce and offer wines that are as individual and special as the vineyards from which they were born,” he says.
Also special is that Kokomo Winery continues to gain more 90+ ratings and gold medals with each anticipated release, and pairs so well with coastal cuisine. This fall, Miller will be a guest vintner at Bud & Alley’s Vintner Dinner to kick off the Seeing Red Wine Festival, Nov. 6-9, and the Seaside Wine Project wines will be featured during the four-day festival held in partnership with the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation.
Available by the glass or bottle exclusively from Seaside merchants, wine enthusiasts can choose from popular varieties including a sauvignon blanc, a crisp chardonnay, pinot noir, cuvée and a light, red zinfandel, with a portion of the proceeds raised from sales benefitting The Seaside Institute.
Currently, Modica Market, The Shrimp Shack, Bud & Alley’s, Great Southern Cafe, Amavida Coffee & Tea and Sóng all carry the new Seaside Wine Project label. I reached out to a few of the restaurants to get the first hand news on what was selling the best with their menu presentations.
Over at Sóng Food Truck on Airstream row, the chardonnay is selling the best and pairing very well with their Thai Green Mango & Papaya Salad with Gulf Shrimp showcased on the menu. I also found this dish so refreshing and flavorful.
General Manager Grant Hill of Bud & Alley’s says, “You have got to try the red zinfandel with our chocolate tarté, it is amazing. The sauvignon blanc is really nice with the scallop ceviche and customers are giving rave reviews to the chardonnay paired with our fresh jumbo lump crab cakes!”
At Modica Market, the lunch menu changes weekly, as do the deli food selections daily. They are seeing bottle sales with all the offerings, but especially the pinot noir where patrons can sit on the patio and enjoy a glass with their meal. The cuvée is also quite nice to take home with one of Charlie Modica’s hand-cut-to-order steaks.
Lynda Miller, manager of The Shrimp Shack says, “ We have sold so many of our warm water lobster rolls with the chardonnay. It is a winning combination!”
Whatever your reason for visiting, lingering or dining in Seaside this season, plan to sip and savor a glass from the new Seaside Wine Project collection.
Susan Benton is the go to resource for foodies visiting Pensacola to Panama City Beach. She is a food and travel journalist with published articles and photography in many local, regional and national publications. Her website is 30AEATS.com where she writes about the secrets of Gulf Coast food.