Seeing Red Wine Festival in Seaside Oct 31 - Nov 3

October 31, 2013 by SoWal Staff

The annual Seeing Red Wine Festival in Seaside is one of South Walton's most popular events. The 23rd edition continues the tradition of great food and wine. The event sells out every year so get your tickets now

The festival offers an extensive array of tasting tents with wines from around the world. Come to Seaside and enjoy the wine, music and southern hospitality of the Seeing Red Wine Festival. If you miss out on tickets you can still shop at the retail wine tent Friday and Saturday with incredible pricing on all the festival wines.

Thursday, October 31
Vintner's Dinner ft. Jed Steele of Steele Wines - Bud & Alley's Restaurant 7:00PM - $125/person
Bud & Alley's proudly announces the annual Fall Wine Dinner, as the kick-off to the Seeing Red Wine Festival weekend, featuring Jed Steele, winemaker for Steele Winery, as the special guest vintner.

Friday, November 1
Al Fresco Reserve Tasting - Ruskin Place Park
6:00-8:30PM - $185/person
If you are passionate about wine, an experienced enthusiast, or an eager beginner you won’t want to miss this event in Seaside’s Ruskin Place Park. Enjoy an elegant evening sampling rare, exclusive wines paired with superb hors d’oeuvres from Chef Jim Shirley complemented by the Jazz sounds of "Grapevine." Learn first hand about terroir, climate, viticulture, varietal composition and food pairings.

Saturday, November 2
Seeing Red Grand Tasting
1:00-4:00PM - $120/person
Join us for an intimate afternoon of wine, food and music in the tranquil beauty of Seaside, Florida. As you explore, sample and expand your knowledge about the latest trends in wine from aficionados who are waiting to meet and educate you. Guests will also sample some of the most superb hors d’oeuvres prepared by local restaurateurs. Plus, new to the event in 2013, visit the "Savor South Walton Culinary Demo Stage" in the Herb Garden at Bud & Alley's. Regional chefs will showcase special dishes from the WOLF appliances while guests have the opportunity to learn new cooking techniques. Live music will fill Seaside as well with performances from Roman Street in the Amphitheater and 3 other talented artists throughout town.

Sunday, November 3
A Celebration of Bubbles - Great Southern Cafe 11:00AM - $50/person
Join the Great Southern Café for the weekend’s Grand Finale – a celebration of bubbles featuring sparkling wines from around the world-accompanied by great music and perfectly paired eats. 

New to the festival this year is the Savor South Walton Culinary Demo Stage located in the Bud & Alley's Herb Garden, sponsored by SubZero/WOLF and GM Appliance. It will be great food and great fun with a lineup of accomplished chefs each preparing items on Saturday, Nov. 2 from 1-4 p.m.

Tentative demo times are: 1:15PM - Chef Jim Shirley
2:15PM - Chef Leonardo Maurelli III
3:15PM - Chef Joshua Hopkins

Chef Jim Shirley is a founding partner of the Great Southern Restaurant Group, which owns the Fish House, Atlas Oyster House, and the Deck Bar in Pensacola, Florida. He is co-owner of the Great Southern Café in Seaside, Florida, and owner of the School of Fish Restaurant in the St. Joe Company’s Windmark Beach development in Port St. Joe. For ten years, he has been writing columns for the Pensacola News Journal. He is the author of Good Grits! Southern Boy Cooks.

Jim is the president pro tempore of the Northwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) and is on the State Board of Directors. He is president of the Society of Great Southern Chefs, and a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance. He is very active in his community, dedicating his time to many charities, including sitting on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Home Society of Florida and the Autism Society.

Chef Jim has been a frequent voice for Northwest Florida. Featured last year in Southern Living magazine, he was praised for his knowledge of the culinary history of Northwest Florida, while becoming one of the guides into our future by forging bonds with local farmers and fishermen. Last year he was featured in Vie and 850 magazines. Chef Jim set up and appeared on the Gulf Coast’s installment of the Travel Channel’s show “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.” He was also chosen to go to Washington, D.C., to feature 2000 servings of his signature dish, Grits à Ya Ya, at “A Taste of the South” congressional fundraising event. Named by Visit Florida as one of Florida’s seafood experts, Jim was also called upon by Southern Living for his oyster expertise. He was one of the featured chefs in the “Beaches of South Walton” national broadcast, cooking on the beach at Seaside and reaching over a million homes. 

A native of Panama, Chef Leonardo Maurelli, III was raised as the youngest son in a large Latin/Italian family. After moving  with his family to Alabama in the 1990s, he began working in commercial kitchens at the age of 14, honing his skills for what would become his life’s work.

Even today there are Italian and Panamanian influences in his cooking, a heritage of stirring the rice in the family kitchen that he relates back to the old chef ’s adage: remember your grandmother’s cooking. Chef Leo attended Auburn University, graduating with a degree in hotel and restaurant management in 2003. He has served as the Executive Chef of the famed Amsterdam Café in Auburn, and Special Events and Catering Chef and Chef de Cuisine for The Hotel and Dixon Conference Center in Auburn.

With his focus on fresh and local ingredients, today Chef Leo is the executive chef of Central, located in the heart of Montgomery’s Downtown entertainment district. He pairs his patronage of local farmers, cheese makers, brewers and artisans with a uniquely personal multicultural take on comfortable Southern food, created with a straightforward style and grace.

An American restaurant highlighting local and seasonal ingredients, Central features exposed brick, flickering gas lanterns and a bustling open kitchen. In the main dining room, 16- foot ceilings, spectacular overhead lighting, and a central bar comprised of reclaimed wood all overlook  Montgomery’s downtown alley. Honored as the 2011 Alabama  Restaurant Association and Alabama Hospitality Association Chef of the Year, Chef Leo is a founding member and President of The Front Porch Revival, a nonprofit organization in charge of promoting the arts in Alabama.

An Atlanta native, Hopkins started cooking 20 years ago, when helping his mother prepare family meals. It was in the home kitchen where Hopkins developed basic cooking techniques and his passion for local, fresh ingredients and straightforward flavors that are the hallmark of his cooking today.

A veteran of the Atlanta dining scene, Hopkins most recently joined the team at the acclaimed Empire State South, where he is now Executive Chef. Prior to joining Empire State South, Hopkins worked at some of the top kitchens in Atlanta, including Bacchanalia, where he was Chef de Cuisine, and Abbatoir, which he opened with top Atlanta restaurateurs Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison and was named Atlanta Magazine’s “Restaurant of the Year” in 2009.

Hopkins began his cooking apprenticeships early, beginning with Atlanta’s Capital City Club under Christian Chemin.  From there, he moved to Charleston, S.C., with Maverick Southern Kitchens restaurant group, where he served as a line cook at Slightly North of Broad and then opened High Cotton as the sous chef.

A lifelong Southerner, Hopkins credits these valuable hands-on experiences for his training in classical, French culinary techniques, traditional Southern flavors, and reverence for locally sourced ingredients.


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