Home > Blog > June 2017 > Emerald Coast Obsession with Wine - Local Labels

Emerald Coast Obsession with Wine - Local Labels

Coastal Dunes Chardonnay

Among the topics that locals and visitors agree upon is an appreciation for wine. As part of our three part series on how wine is part of the fabric of the Emerald Coast, we conclude with local labels. 

Local Labels
The focus on wine has spurred local labels as well. In spring 2016, the 30A company, whose mission is to offer the 30A lifestyle to fans around the country, introduced 30A Wines, including a chardonnay and a red blend.

“Some people might think we just slapped a 30A logo on a random bottle of wine to sell as a souvenir, but that is not the case,” said 30A Company Founder Mike Ragsdale. “We spent over two years searching for the right vintner, and when we found the award-winning Mercer Estates in Washington's Columbia Valley, we knew they were the perfect partner to help us craft a growing family of 30A wines.”

Ragsdale was looking not only for a reliable, quality winemaker but also a connection to the Emerald Coast and 30A.  

“Owner Rob Mercer was a Marine Sniper who was stationed in Pensacola,” said Ragsdale. “In addition, we wanted to partner with a vineyard that had similar values. We appreciated Mercer’s focus on responsibility and sustainability that we embrace on 30A. Most importantly, we loved their quality and consistency.”

In January, the 30A Red Blend was awarded the Gold Medal for "best red blend under $25" by a panel of national wine experts during a blind taste-test for the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival “Tasting of Champions”. With more than 70 different wines entered in this category, 30A Red Blend proved that it is more than just a pretty label. New varietals including 30A Rosé and 30A Malbec will be released later this year.

Co-founders of the town of SEASIDE®, Robert and Daryl Davis, also envisioned a private label wine that would complement the lifestyle they created in Seaside, Florida. They found it at Kokomo Winery. Rediscovering and reviving traditional techniques of growing grapes and making wine that are deeply rooted in the terroir of Sonoma, the Kokomo Winery celebrates winemaking styles of a simpler time. The winery is perched on 120 acres of prime Dry Creek Valley known as Timber Crest Farms. Each small batch wine is as individual as the vineyards from which it was born and each private label SEASIDE® Wine, including the sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, cuvee, red zinfandel, and recently added, cabernet and rosé, reveals special characteristics as well as reflects the SEASIDE® lifestyle.

In spring 2015, long-time residents, Charles Modica and George Barnes, joined forces with their friend and winemaker Pete Seghesio to introduce 30A Coastal Dunes Chardonnay. After Barnes visited Seghesio at his San Lorenzo micro-winery in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, he knew the time was right to introduce their own local label.

"I wanted a food wine," said Barnes. "It goes great with food and is good by itself. It's great with seafood -- a great spring and summer wine."

Since the launch of the chardonnay, 30A Coastal Dunes Wines Company has introduced other varietals, including 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and 2008 Williamette Valley Brut Rosé. McNeese Distributing represents both SEASIDE® wines and 30A Coastal Dunes wines, serving an important role bringing local wines to the market.

And for those who want an authentic local wine as a souvenir, there is Emerald Coast Cellars. With home-grown wines produced from the Chautauqua Vineyards in DeFuniak Springs, Emerald Coast Cellars features a variety of wines created from grapes specifically cultured for Florida soil and environment.

The Future
While nobody can predict the future, many anticipate the Emerald Coast’s obsession with wine will continue to evolve and mature as these beach communities remain meccas for the good life.  

“Chan will continue to play an important part of our wine evolution,” said Stacey Brady, executive director of South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival. "As he continues to bring in wine celebrities from around the world, such as previous renowned participants—Cristina Marini May of Banfi Vintners, Mark Perrin of Château de Beaucastel, Jean-Charles Boisset of Boisset Family Estates and Peter Mondavi, Jr of Charles Krug Winery—our area will continue to make a strong impact and garner a positive reputation within the wine industry.”
Brady continued, “At the same time, we anticipate the demand for fine and small batch wines will continue to grow in South Walton and throughout Northwest Florida, fueling constantly evolving wine lists at area restaurants and an escalating demand for wine festivals where consumers can discover new wines.” 

Have you planned your next beach vacation? If not, now is a great time to book your rental and take advantage of seasonal savings. View our premier South Walton and Destin vacation rentals online or call one of our friendly vacation specialists at 1-800-225-7652 to help narrow your search. 

See you @ the beach!  

Monday, June 19, 2017

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