24 Sep 2019
Seaside itself is a hidden gem on Florida's coastline, but there are also some events and festivals that are fun, unique, and not well known to the general traveler. Every year for the past 28 years, Seaside has hosted the Seeing Red Wine Festival, which attracts wine lovers of both expert and enthusiast levels from across the country.
The event has grown from a simple wine festival in the off-season to one of the most acclaimed food and wine festivals in the country. This wine festival is so impressive that both Forbes and Fodor's Travel have recognized it as one of their Top 10 can't-miss fall wine festivals across the nation.
This year's 29th Annual festival is scheduled for November 7-10, 2019, beginning on Friday night. The Friday Night Al Fresco Reserve Wine Tasting begins at 6 pm in picturesque Ruskin Park and is an amazing night to kick off the festival with a beautiful outdoor dinner under the twinkling lights and bright stars. This event is both elegant and intimate, showcasing a curated selection of reserve wines, hors d'oeuvres, and extraordinary food prepared by winemakers and other vintner VIPs. The evening meal is prepared by Chef Jim Shirley's culinary team and is paired perfectly with the featured wines. To top off this enchanting evening, listen to live music under the stars on a crisp fall evening in lovely Ruskin Place Park.
The main event of the festival is the Grand Tasting on Saturday that is held in Seaside's Central Square from 1-4 pm, so get up early to claim a good spot on the Seaside Amphitheater greens. The Cabana Man's famous blue umbrellas that are usually found on the beach will be set up throughout the amphitheater for guests to use as they enjoy the live music on the stage. The live music plays throughout the entire Grand Tasting event and is enjoyable for the whole family. If you need to take a break from the delicious tastings, grab chairs and a picnic blanket and relax to the live music that is always within ear's reach. At the end of the day's event, it is common to see an incredibly joyful conga line that forms and serves as a jubilant finale, often led by the leading musical artist of the day. The south of 30A and Ruskin Park both have their own live music.
The Grand Tasting doesn't just cover wine; it's a culinary event almost as much as it is a wine occasion. There are more than 100 tents set up that feature food from several of the award-winning Seaside restaurants as well as other culinary vendors in the area. Food tents stretch from the Seaside Amphitheater to south of 30A, replete with delectable food, wine, and champagne. The high-end champagne is set up south of 30A so you can start your day tasting the champagnes, then head to the whites and reds, and then end with the champagnes again. If that's not enough, there are also additional wines, along with live music, provided in the shaded escape of Ruskin Park.
The event wraps up on Sunday with a Celebration of Bubbles Brunch in Ruskin Place Park. Again, you can sample champagne, Cava, Prosecco, and many more wines along with another perfectly paired menu from Chef Jim Shirley. If you love and enjoy wine and good food, the Seaside Seeing Red Wine Festival is a bucket list festival to attend!
Know Before You Go
- When you enter the event and check in, you will be given a guide and a map to the event. This guide will identify and locate the gold, silver, and other ranked wines throughout the event.
- There is an entertaining photo booth in the amphitheater to take some quick pictures to remember the event with friends.
- You will receive a great swag bag, usually containing an impressive Seaside Seeing Red wine cooler, two etched Seeing Red wine glasses, ranking cards and pencils, and plastic travel wine glasses as well.
- You will also have a chance to purchase fun Seeing Red tee-shirts, which are limited edition and commemorate this fun annual event.
- This event is not a charity, nor is it a craft/artisan fair, so don't expect to see anything but wine and great food throughout the weekend - that's the focus. Education is abundant at each of the wine vendor tents as you taste various wines. Each tent typically offers about four different wines for you to try and learn more about.
- There is a resale wine tent where you can purchase your favorite wines and have them shipped safely and directly to your home.
Tickets are available at www.seeingredwinefestival.com, although some events may already be sold out.