There are some places you visit and just know you are a step closer to Heaven. One of those places for me is South Walton Beaches in Florida and one of those times is the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival. This festival falls in late April each year and is just what the doctor ordered to get in the full swing of spring. There is the smell of salt in the air, powdery white sand on the beaches, and a sense of being somewhere really special as you walk around South Walton. While the beaches of South Walton are delightful any time of year, this is the best time for a girls’ weekend, which is exactly what I did last spring. Pack your cutest sun dresses, straw hats, shorts and sandals for this get away. You can visit this area via an easy drive from Texas on I-10 or by a hop, skip and a jump into the Panama City, FL airport.
Each year a group of girlfriends, otherwise known as the “Cha-chas” travel to San Destin Resort where we get away from reality for an extra-long weekend. Before making this trip to the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival, you should purchase your tickets online where there is something for the wine lover, beer lover and spirits lover. On Friday night, plan to participate in the Craft Beer and Spirits Jam where you can taste and enjoy specialty craft beers and spirits from the hottest breweries and distilleries in the country. Some of my favorite choices last year were from the Grayton Beer Company (right down the road on 30A) and a cucumber infused gin delight. Little glasses given to you upon arrival allow you a taste of many different beverages while allowing you to get more of something you really like. When you are done for the night you have a souvenir to take home. Don’t over-do it Friday though because on Saturday it is time to enjoy Grand Tasting of wines and bubbles on Champagne Lane. You will receive a full size wine glass and have the opportunity to stroll up and down Town Center tasting whites, reds, and roses. It’s all about the wine!
The quality, diversity and scope of wines offered and the skills and relevance of the people bringing them to you cannot be beat. Over 800 wines are available for tasting along with delicious foods, all included in the price of admission. For those interested in an education, you can attend tasting seminars lead by the owner of a vineyard. Last year I enjoyed a presentation from winemaker Jeff Mausbach of Tinto Negro vineyards on how the dirt in which grapes are grown affects the taste of the wine. Who knew? One of the best parts of this festival is the opportunity to taste wines you would not normally be able to afford. On Sunday you can do it all over again or decide to spend the day on the best beaches in the United States.
While I did not partake in the VIP tasting session, it is an option. The icing on the cake is the live music which is performed by the top songwriters from Nashville. Tickets for this event run from $35-$175 and can be purchased here. The event takes place in Grand Boulevard’s Town Center. Monday rolls around and it is time for this girl and her Cha-chas to return to reality with dreams of returning next year to the waiting room of Heaven, otherwise known as South Walton Beaches.