Celebrity winemakers and seminars announced for South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival

Special to the Walton Sun/USA TODAY NETWORK

MIRAMAR BEACH — Featured winemakers and distillers have been announced for the 2022 South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival on April 21-24 at Grand Boulevard’s Town Center.

Celebrating 10 years, the charity festival is known for attracting top winemakers and master distillers from around the world. Festival attendees can meet these renowned winemakers and industry experts to discuss their wines and spirits while tasting them.

Beam Master Distiller Freddie Noe Jr. is among those expected at the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival on April 21-24 at Grand Boulevard.


The festival once again has winemakers representing wineries from the globe’s most notable wine regions. Jackson Family Wines will present Greg Brewer of Brewer-Clifton wines, named the 2020 Winemaker of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Wine Star Awards. Brewer will pour his signature wines from Santa Barbara County, which was named Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Jill Russell of Cambria Wines will pour her Santa Barbara-based wines alongside Brewer. Both winemakers will present a tasting seminar at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23, that will feature Santa Barbara wines paired with cheese selected by Nathan Aldridge, manager of education for the Institut Du Fromage, and additional accompaniments by Jackson Family Wines Chef Tracy Shepos.

Santa Barbara County award-winning winemaker Greg Brewer of Brewer-Clifton will be part of the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival on April 21-24 at Grand Boulevard.

Freddie Noe Jr. is the Eighth Generation Beam Master Distiller. Since joining the distillery team in 2013, Noe, Jr. has performed nearly every job, learning the craft of making whiskey from the ground up together with his dad, Seventh Generation Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe.

As Eighth Generation Beam Master Distiller, Noe Jr. holds a place alongside generations of Beams dating back to 1795 who have crafted the world’s finest bourbon and whiskey. Noe Jr. assists his dad in producing bourbons at the Beam distilleries in Kentucky. He will pour Knob Creek and Basil Hayden and feature both at a tasting seminar at 2:45 p.m. Saturday, April 23.

The first seminar on Sunday, April 24, is at 1:30 p.m. and is all about bubbles! Champagne Ambassadors Philippe André and Oyku Saran will present the three Heidsieck brands of champagnes — Piper-Heidsieck, Charles Heidsieck and Rare — all of which stem from the same family. They will present a brief history on how they are related and how they differ, in addition to touching on what exactly is champagne, how it differs from other sparkling wines and the truth about which glass is actually the perfect glass for champagne sipping.

Meeting the Maker

The final seminar of the festival takes place at 2:45 p.m. Sunday, April 24, “Meeting the Maker” showcases icon of Whiskey Master Distiller Lisa Wicker, the president, master distiller and blender of the Widow Jane Distillery. Wicker shares her methodology for creating the unapologetically bold, sophisticated and complex flavors of Widow Jane.

This special event, educational seminar explores the Brooklyn-based distillery’s “Art of the Blend,” and includes a tasting of it flagship bourbon and ryes, and even some special limited-release “hard to find” bourbon expressions. Widow Jane is among numerous prized spirits that will be poured throughout the festival.

Charlie and Andy Nelson, founders of Green Brier Distillery; Niccolo Maltini of Antinori Marchesi wines; Italo Jofre of Fetzer Vineyards Concha y Toro; master mixologist Bobby Gleason of Beam Suntory; and top mixologist influencer Jarrett Holborough of Slater Hospitality will all be on hand to pour, mix and meet visitors.

“After a two-year hiatus, wine and spirits lovers are eager to return to aspects of the good life. Our team is committed to presenting the world-class festival our supporters have come to expect. We are excited to be back!” said Stacey Brady, the festival's executive director.

The Savor South Walton Culinary Village will feature Italian dishes to pair with the Italian wines poured in Culinary Village. Nosh Pavilions at the festival will feature sushi, paella, local seafood, charcuterie, cheeses and a variety of small plates and bites. 

Tickets are now on sale now. To purchase tickets, please visit www.SoWalWine.com.

More about the festival

Presented by Grand Boulevard at Sandestin and Visit South Walton, the festival offers the ideal backdrop for a beach getaway.

The festival is made possible by the generous support of these additional Founding Partners: Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa and Wine World of Northwest Florida.

Hyatt Place Sandestin at Grand Boulevard, Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard and Residence Inn by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard are the official lodging partner of the festival.