The fermentation specialists at Panama City Beach Winery craft their lush tinctures from a cornucopia of Florida produce, winning over the taste buds of various competition judges across the country. During the 30- to 45-minute tasting, guests can cleanse their palates with 10 to 12 of owner Larry Honeycutt's delicious concoctions, a bacchanalian cascade that includes everything from banana and guava to carrot and blueberry sparking. Honeycutt will talk guests through the individual characteristics of each libation, detailing cocktails and ideal pairings such as banana wine and peanut butter or tomato wine and bad comedians. Beverage testers will leave with a pair of souvenir wine glasses emblazoned with the palm-tree logo and a bottle of Category 5 sangria.
At the end of a winding, rust-colored dirt road, Still Pond Vineyard and Winery's tasting room overflows onto a sunny patio where benches make a perfect spot to sit, sip, and relax. Onsite, 11 different muscadine wines are crafted, including a full-bodied blackberry wine, a smooth white wine, and a golden dessert wine.
On any given day, the bartenders at The Brass Tap run down a long line of taps?more than 60, in fact?to pull pours of craft brews. These selections rotate regularly, and guests can check out what's available by scanning the colorful chalkboard or hiring a private eye. Beyond that, the many bottled beers that stock the bar's fridges tip the beer list over the 200 mark. These brews pair with live music and a simple but satisfying menu that includes prime rib nachos, paninis, and pizzas made with a pretzel crust.
Whiffs of fruit and oak season the air in the Village of Baytowne Wharf during the annual Sandestin Wine Festival, a three-day event now in its 26th year. Vintners uncork more than 700 wines aged in America and abroad, including rare and specialty varietals parceled out during charity wine auctions. Novice tipplers learn basic wine styles and pairings as they explore the Grand Tasting and special events such as “Winemakers and Shakers,” which matches wines with gourmet meats and cheeses. As live music floats across the grounds, special lectures enlighten curious festivalgoers on topics such as biodynamic wines. New cooking demonstrations in the culinary tent include a Sunday session led by Stinky’s Fish Camp’s executive chef, Jim Richard, who will divulge the secrets of Spanish paella—a dish renowned for its compatibility with red wine, white wine, and grape-flavored Juicy Juice ($20 per demonstration). When guests empty their stemware, they can track down their favorite wines of the day in the onsite retail tent and take bottles home to savor and share.
The instructors at Destin Pilates Center incorporate both Pilates and yoga principles into their workouts. In addition to offering reformer classes, the instructors also lead aerial silks classes where students learn how to climb and pose with two pieces of fabric hanging from the ceiling. Destin Pilates Center is a Pilates Method Alliance certification studio in the area for Balanced Body University, which is one of the largest manufacturers of Pilates equipment.
The Baytowne Beer Festival pours a cascade of more than 100 beer samples amid the sounds of local Americana and roots bands. The festival’s 2010 edition featured liquid fixings from more than 30 craft-brewing establishments, including World Beer Cup Award winners Dogfish Head and Left Hand. Armed with a complimentary beer glass and wearable barrel, patrons tromp from tent to tent among glistening green grass and the boardwalk’s colorful edifices, taking samples of sippables while partying to live tunes from Americana stalwarts The Minor Adjustments from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and country rock-around-the-clock-ers The Modern Eldorados. From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., eyes can guzzle their fill at The Village on the Wharf’s Great Lawn, a collection of vintage, brand-new, and still-teething Corvettes crying out to be ogled and fed gas.