Bottles of reds and whites are arriving daily, just waiting to be uncorked, as the 25th Annual Seeing Red Wine Festival is fast approaching.
Beginning Nov. 5 and going through Nov. 8, Seeing Red, in partnership with the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF), is part of a four-day wine event held in Seaside. A sell-out event, the festivities include reserve wine tastings, dinners and a brunch with featured guest winemakers. Several of Seaside’s famous restaurants will feature carefully selected farm-to-fork and gulf-to-table dishes to pair beautifully with the featured wines. Through DCWAF, 100 percent of the event proceeds will benefit Northwest Florida children in need.
For the second year, the Seaside Wine Project, Seaside’s private-label collection of hand-selected wines, makes its way from Sonoma County, Calif. Exclusive to Seaside, wine enthusiasts may choose from among their favorite varieties including cabernet, chardonnay, pinot noir, cuvée and red zinfandel.
This family of wines was handpicked by Seaside founders Robert and Daryl Davis to appeal to the continual interest and demand from patrons and visitors for the best-tasting and highest-quality wines.
Kokomo Winery owner and winemaker Erik Miller just completed the harvest, bottled the last of the cabernet and is eager to show his wines in Seaside. “Harvest started fast and furious on Aug. 21 and never really let up until the end of September,” he says. “An early bud break starting in February made for an early bloom, which pushed everything forward for the earliest vintage on record. The month of February was actually warmer than the month of May in Northern California.”
Miller, who welcomed his second son right in the middle of harvest, (Oden Miller was born Sept. 17), had harvested the majority of the fruit by that time, with only cabernet sauvignon remaining. “Overall I would call the 2015 vintage a success,” he says. “Sugars were high but acids were generally high as well and the colors have been intense. The tannins seem big so far, although it is still early, and the crop size was definitely down about 30 percent from the previous vintages. Every vintage has its challenges and victories and 2015 will certainly be a vintage I will never forget.”
Seeing Red festivities kick off Thursday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. with the Vinter’s Dinner at Bud & Alley’s restaurant featuring Gianni Abate from Morgan Vineyards. To reserve tickets, call Elijah Shelly at (850) 231-1846 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday brings the Al Fresco Reserve Tasting at 6 p.m., featuring an elegant evening of delicious hors d’oeuvres and wines paired perfectly by celebrated local chef, Jim Shirley, all complimented by live jazz music under a clear-topped tent and twinkling lights on Seaside’s Lyceum Lawn.
Saturday’s Grand Tasting, from 1 to 4 p.m., takes over Central Square in Seaside, with more than 250 wines for tasting, as well as live music, food stations from top local restaurants and the opportunity to purchase wine on site.
Sunday wraps up the weekend with a Celebration of Bubbles, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Great Southern Café, as sparkling wine enthusiasts explore Champagne, Cava, Prosecco and more.
If you don’t have tickets, feel free to walk around Seaside and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Shuttle service will be available with free parking at Publix at WaterColor Crossings on County Road 395.
Visit The Seeing Red Wine Festival online.