Walk on the wild side in Vilano Beach at Whiskey, Wine & Wildlife

Beverage tastings, inspired plates, and coastal wildlife come together for a one-of-a-kind event.

St. Augustine, Fla. (Oct. 5, 2023) –  What could make a trip to the beach better? How about whiskey, wine, beer, and bites crafted by local chefs? Whiskey, Wine & Wildlife (W3) is like no block party you’ve ever seen. This jam-packed weekend is a gourmand’s dream with a relaxed beach setting. W3 raises funds to support Vilano Beach Main Street and the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve).

Whiskey, Wine & Wildlife kicks off on Thursday, Nov. 2 with an exclusive Wine Dinner at the area’s most highly anticipated restaurant, Pesca located in the new Hyatt Place Hotel. Chef and Restauranteur Michael Lugo, well-known in the region for his incomparable flagship eatery, Michael’s, created Pesca to echo the big, bold Latin flavors his family loved, but with a global twist. Located in the Hyatt Place Vilano Beach, both inspired by the Miami Art Deco period, Pesca is approachably classy. The experience begins with a rooftop cocktail reception from 6 to 6:30 p.m. with an open bar, featuring official festival wine, beer, and spirits. The Wine Dinner begins at 7 p.m. and consists of a four-course meal prepared by Chef Lugo and Pastry Chef Rebecca Reed, each plate paired with the perfect wine. The dinner costs $225 per person or $210 with a limited early-bird ticket.

Attendees can hone their culinary craft on Friday, Nov. 3, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a selection of four unique Master Classes presented by Publix. These hands-on classes feature local and celebrity guest chefs, cookbook authors, industry professionals, and beverage experts. Each class includes tasting bites with a paired wine, beer, or signature cocktail. The Master Classes cost $65 per person per class, or purchase a pass for all four classes for $199 per person.

Cap off Friday night at the Vilano A1A Soirée. This elaborate dinner occurs at sunset on one of Vilano Beach’s most picturesque streets, Vivian Browning Avenue. It will truly be a night to remember as guests enjoy a six-course dinner prepared by some of the region’s most celebrated chefs, working collaboratively. Live music by Zaza Flamenca sets the mood. A cocktail reception with appetizers begins at 5:30 p.m., with the first course served at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $199 per person or $179 with a limited early-bird ticket. The meal includes unlimited beverages with souvenir glasses to sample from various wines, beers, and signature cocktails from W3’s official spirits.

The GTM Research Reserve is one of only 30 national estuarine research reserves in the country. It is a true living classroom, providing educational opportunities and research platforms. Explore this magnificent sanctuary on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with a guided tour and reception featuring a wine and cheese pairing. Guests will enjoy a curated selection of wine paired with specialty cheeses from Cabot and Publix. This intimate experience is $45 per person or $39 with limited early-bird tickets.

The main event, the W3 Grand Tasting Vilano Beach Block Party, takes over the charming Vivian Browning Avenue for an afternoon of all three W’s: Whiskey, Wine & Wildlife. The thoroughfare will be packed with hundreds of libations to sample and an array of food tastings from the region’s most popular eateries. The Publix Cooking Demo Stage will run cooking demos throughout the event, showcasing holiday recipes and offering tasting bites. The GTM Reserve Stage will have educational experts with wildlife demonstrations, with guests like gopher tortoises and alligators! Live music is provided by Laiken Love & Fellowship of Love. Awards will be presented for the best bites and sips. Tickets are all-inclusive, with food and drink tastings included. The W3 block party is from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and is $129 per person or $99 with limited early-bird tickets.

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