Wine and the beach just go together. Watching a stunning sunset, listening to the sounds of the surf, and sipping some vino with your toes in the sand is a great way to relieve stress. Florida, you’d think, would have a monopoly on beachfront wineries, but that real estate is expensive and not always easy to find. There are, however, three wineries in North Florida where you can taste wine just steps from the beach.
At Flagler Beachfront Winery, owner and winemaker Ken Tarsitano is happy to pour you some of his award-winning wine (Merlot, Syrah, or organic Chardonnay) or make you a wine slushie while you enjoy the sights and sounds of the Atlantic ocean. The winery is located across the street from the beach and you can sit on the outside patio and breathe the salt-sea air while you sip. Flagler Beachfront winery is at 611 North Oceanshore Boulevard in Flagler Beach.
On the gulf side of the state, Panama City Beach Winery is owned and operated by Larry and Kay Honeycutt and offers a variety of fruit wines. The wines are made by Florida Orange Grove Winery in St. Petersburg and sold under the Panama City Beach Winery label. They include such exotic flavors as kiwi, mango, grapefruit and key lime, to name a few. The winery is across the street and about 300 yards from the beach, and there are a couple of highrises blocking the view, but you can walk there if you wish. Panama City Beach Winery is at 8730 Thomas Drive, Panama City Beach.
About 40 miles west near Destin is Emerald Coast Wine Cellars. This large gift shop and wine tasting room is located across the street from the Gulf of Mexico, but unfortunately, private, beachfront homes block the view. All of the wines are made 35 miles north at Chautauqua Vineyards and sold here under the Emerald Coast Wine Cellars label. You can choose from 20 different wines mostly made from Muscadine grapes, but you’ll also find Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet on the list. Emerald Coast Wine Cellars is at 1708 Scenic Gulf Drive in Miramar Beach.
There are other wineries located a short drive from the beach, but these three are the only ones where you can actually walk there. So, make the experience last longer. Buy some wine, take it home, put some sand in the backyard, and open out the beach chair. Breathe!
To know more about these and other Florida wineries, order a copy of my new book Florida Wine Country Guide to Northern Wineries.