I have not had a week go by in the last few months where someone hasn’t said: “I cannot believe all of this is going on here!” The “this” are all of the wine events. The “here” is the Pensacola area.
According to any map of wine, we are not “in Wine Country.” But are we?
What comes to mind when you hear “Wine Country?" Tuscany, Napa, perhaps the terraced slopes of the Douro. Probably places that grow grapes. Not only does Wine Country conjure up images of beautiful vineyards but when you are in Wine Country you can also drink that fermented grape juice. Sounds like such a fun place!
What would it be like to live in Wine Country? It would be really fun. Well, if you look around at any one of our local wine tastings, you will see people drinking that fermented grape juice and having fun! Wine Country is so much more than a place where grapes are grown. So, I say: We do live in Wine Country! Wine Country, just like any Country, is a place that has an identifiable, unique, and ubiquitous culture.
To me Wine Country = Wine Culture. Pensacola has a unique and super fun culture, especially with wine, and it surprises people constantly. There are many reasons why this culture exists here and not in our closest large neighbors to the East and West. A few of those reasons are our long and diverse history, the constant influx and mixing of people (a lot due to our military bases and not just Navy, but Air Force, Army, and honorable mention to the Coast Guard), and the fact that we live in a part of the world where many people travel to have fun.
The result of this mixing over such a long period of time is a culture that likes to enjoy enjoyment, and wine is a natural fit.
During the slowest week, there are three wine tastings and several wine happy hour specials at some of our best restaurants. Last week there were SEVEN wine tastings around town, from Tuesday through Saturday! That should not surprise any of you, but it does surprise many people, both new to our area and those who have been here for quite a while.
This week you could have had a great sparkling wine at The East Hill Bottle shop tasting, jumped around Tuscany at the Beyond the Grape tasting, sampled some great food and wine at Anna’s monthly tasting, played in the mystery wine game at Aragon’s tasting, had an amazing charcuterie board and wine at So Gourmet’s tasting, partaken in a few amazing wines from Argentina at AJ’s Market, talked tasting profiles Friday night at the Bottle Shop on Baylen’s tasting, and capped it off with a great pizza and wine at Wine World. Each one was a great time, with fun people enjoying the company of other wine lovers, not wine snobs!
Gulf Coast Wine was created to give a home to our amazing local wine community, to share our uniquely fun wine culture, and to show how approachable and inclusive wine really is. In partnership with Pensacola City Lifestyle, we will take a monthly look at our local wine scene, highlight local profiles, showcase some fun wines, and enjoy the journey and experiences together! So, we do in fact live in Wine Country, one that, in my opinion, is actually more fun than several of those listed on the map! Cheers to that!
“I cannot believe all of this is going on here!”