It’s amazing how ill-prepared human beings are for their lives. We actually know very little about living our lives and being self-sufficient. We can whine and cry, dirty our diapers, eat and drink, and breath without outside assistance, but having the necessary knowledge or the tools to make a good case for our existence, well, fish are better prepared. But not in a culinary sense.

There are areas of our education that require attention, experience, asking questions and experimentation. If we have an abiding interest, all the better. If it seems like work, then we make it so.

Learning about wine falls all over the spectrum. Some of us just think it is too much effort. Others love to put in the time which in the final analysis adds to our enjoyment. Most of us fall somewhere along the line between “I’m tired of this,” and “Let’s not stop now.”

But, and this has always struck me about most things, what would happen if the education was more enjoyable, easier? How about we are exposed to a little bit of hard data and we continue along having a good time?

How did you learn to ride a bike? You had an idea that it would be fun, and your parents, or some responsible adult, made you get on the bike. In the beginning that was more than a little scary, a bit hard to do, and, even with training wheels, challenging to our sense of well-being. Yet, we did finally “get it.”

Learning about wine is just like that. Seems it’s something we should enjoy but what the hell are all these details, strange place-names, odd fruit types, and phrases that describe some sensation in our senses but often not really the way we perceive what is going on in there?

We New Orleanians think that most of life’s bumps are best resolved with a festival. And in this instance, that is exactly what works best for wine education. Go somewhere there are a lot of different wines; there are experts who can answer truly stupid questions which we all have, but under normal circumstances, are ashamed to ask.

You know me well enough to know that I would not have raised this topic if I did not have an answer, a suggestion.

Right around the corner on the calendar, and right down the road on the map via I-10, is the 32nd Annual Sandestin Wine Festival in Destin, Florida. April 12-15.  Warm weather, white sandy beaches, beautiful people and loads of wines from all over the world, poured by professionals who really know their adult beverages. I am not making this up. Yes, it’s almost too good to be true. But it is true.

You can roam around the lovely Village at Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin. You are going to feel very much at home in this place because the architects borrowed liberally from New Orleans. While there is a “beachy” vibe, the night spots, restaurants, pedestrian paths and foliage are right out of our city. Down to the daiquiri shops, bars that feature twin dueling pianos, Another Broken Egg restaurant, and Acme Oyster Bar. Familiar fun.

During the wine festival, stands are erected along the walking paths which surround lagoons, and more than 400 wines from around the world are freely poured by people who can answer those aforementioned pesky questions.

You won’t regret attending, tasting, savoring, eyeballing, and, after each day’s events, heading to the beach for a Florida sunset on the Gulf while resting on a towel spread over white sugar-sand, or while sailing on the Bay. I guess it can get better, but at the moment nothing comes to mind.


The Sandestin Wine Festival

Sandestin Resort

April 12-15, 2018  




Read Happy Hour here on every other Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed and stored (podcast), at Also, check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine.