30-A offers winding roads, quaint communities, and pockets of hidden gems, not to mention stunning architecture, white sand beaches and emerald waters. But there is even more that draws people to South Walton, like the incredible food, craft drink and sought after art scene.
Recently, a new wine called 30A Coastal Dunes Chardonnay; distributed by McNeese Distributing, LLC, and labeled by recognized artist, Allison Wickey; hit the stores and the local restaurant menus to rave reviews. The collaboration took place between three close friends: George Barnes, director of operations at 723 Whiskey Bravo in Seagrove Beach, Florida, celebrity grocer, Charlie Modica, Jr., of Modica Market in Seaside, and Peter Seghesio, a famed winemaker who has known Barnes for two decades. Seghesio has visited Seaside each Easter with his family since 1995 (where he got to know Modica), and is the owner of Lorenzo micro winery that produces small batches of wine in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, on a vineyard that Peter’s great-grandfather started in 1886.
I enjoyed an exceptional evening tasting light h’orderves and sipping on the refreshing, buttery wine at the Seghesios’ Seaside beach home with Wickey, Barnes and Modica this past spring. Cathy and Peter Seghesio’s young sons, Joseph and Will, were on hand and entertained us with stories filled with passion for their family business on a glorious night as we watched the sun dip below the Gulf’s horizon. The unfiltered wine is very drinkable on its own, but also pairs very well with a variety of dishes, especially seafood. We were delighting in and savoring Ms. Lisa Black’s crab cakes from Modica Market. This band of brothers selected the finest grapes to create a blend that makes up the luscious, fruity, yet balanced 30A Coastal Dunes Chardonnay. The grapes are then fermented in large concrete shaped eggs that allow for breathing and make for a richer, more full bodied wine.
Once in production, Charlie and George reached out to Allison Wickey about creating the label for 30A Coastal Dunes Chardonnay. Wickey says, “They developed the concept before they came to me. They scouted many other artists and I feel honored to have been chosen. My painting of Western Lake is one of the most iconic scenes on 30- A, and perfect for the wine label.” Wickey’s work is a 3-step, 4-day process involving Venetian plaster, acrylic paint, glazes, and an orbital sander. You will find her work draping the walls of homes and restaurants up and down 30-A and beyond. Barnes loved the commissioned art from the wine label so much that he in turn commissioned the same piece that is now hanging in his and his fiancé’s gorgeous new home.
Wickey became well known quickly when she moved to South Walton in 2007, and could not get enough of painting the rare coastal dune lake images. It was soothing and peaceful. Wickey says, “After eight years, Western Lake is still a fan favorite. That image is used for so many events and again, I am flattered to have my art on the 30A Coastal Dunes Chardonnay bottle.” Wickey was given the accolade for 2011 Beaches of South Walton Artist Of The Year and 2012 Best Art Gallery on the Emerald Coast. She is currently moving her art studio to the newest sensation on 30-A, The Hub at Prominence.
The Idea Boutique and Cornerstone Marketing created the graphics for the wine bottle and in the future, red and sparkling wines are in the plans to be offered. Modica says, “We want people to come on a journey with us and to enjoy this fine wine, presented on a platform that raises awareness for preservation efforts of our fragile coastal lakes.”
You can find 30A Coastal Dunes Chardonnay with Wickey’s artistic label at Modica Market, 45 Central and Great Southern Café in Seaside, and at The Bay on Hwy 331. 723 Whiskey Bravo and Café Thirty-A in Seagrove Beach, Stinky’s Fish Camp in Dune Allen, George’s at Alys Beach, and Edward’s in Rosemary Beach also have the wine for purchase. For more information about 30A Coastal Dunes wines, visit the website at 30ACoastalDunes.com. Visit Allison Wickey’s website at allisonwickey.com