Bring on the Celebrity Winemakers…and the Wine

Each year Grand Boulevard becomes the epicenter of the wine world during South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival.

The first round of featured winemakers and distillers has been announced for the 2019 South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival, happening April 25-28 in Grand Boulevard’s Town Center. The festival is known for attracting top winemakers and master distillers from around the world, and festival attendees can meet these renowned winemakers and industry experts to discuss their wines and spirits, while tasting them.


The festival once again has winemakers representing wineries from the globe’s most notable wine regions. Wines from the Oregon Wine Country will be featured in the newly redesigned Culinary Village. Leading the lineup: Erik Kramer, the winemaker from Willakenzie Estates; and Eugenia Keegan with Gran Moraine, among the finest wineries in Oregon. Jackson Family Wines will be showcased, making this a stunning presentation of the best Oregon has to offer.


With more than 40 years in the world of winemaking, Ms. Keegan, general manager of Gran Moraine, is a renowned winemaking consultant. In a special seminar, Ms. Keegan will lead a panel discussion featuring Oregon winemakers, including Erik Kramer of Willakenzie. “The Origin and Evolution of Oregon Wines” explores the ever-changing landscape of some of the most impressive wines in the world.


One of the most influential operatives in the history of whisky making will make a rare appearance this year’s festival. The venerable Bill Samuels Jr. of Maker’s Mark will present his premium whiskey and conduct a once-in-a-lifetime seminar. During “From Kentucky Whisky Pioneers to Iconic Industry Transformers – the Maker’s Mark Way” Mr. Samuels will tell the story of how Maker’s Mark began with one family’s quest to create a bourbon they enjoyed drinking and sharing with friends and how, in 1953, it changed an industry.


Mr. Samuels turned his parents’ little company into an icon and helped create a more flavorful version of their bourbon. Along the way, he rewrote the rules of marketing and set Kentucky’s bourbon industry on a path to growth and success.


In a repeat of last year’s standing room only seminar, cheese expert and educator Michael Landis of Intitut du Fromage presents “The Perfect Pair(ing).” Enjoy tantalizing pairings of award-winning cheeses, meats and more to perfectly pair with wine. As the director of education for the Institut du Fromage, Mr. Landis has been teaching food and beverage pairings for more than 20 years. He is an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional and authorized Educator, Court of Master Sommelier, certified Cicerone beer server and was inducted into the International Guilde des Fromages in 2011. Enjoy selected wines poured to compliment the cheeses and meats.


Besides a redesigned Culinary Village and a new Tasting Seminar tent, back by popular demand is the Rosé All-Day walkabout, where Rosés from around the world can be tasted and compared. The walk-about is presented by ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals and is an all-pink salute, featuring photo-worthy backdrops and pink swag throughout.


Tickets are now on sale now. To purchase, visit

Stacey Brady
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