By Destiny Brown 

If you live on or visit the Gulf Coast for long enough, you start to see the different activities each season brings. Following the summer vacation season is the culinary and wine festival season on the Gulf Coast, and boy is it a season awaited by many. With so many flavors, it’s easy to see why the Gulf Coast is a one-of-a-kind area for a number of tastings and food pairings. Whether your’e searching for your favorite annual wine festival, or an event to load up on delicious samples of Gulf Coast cuisine, PKL has you covered! 

The Wharf Uncorked Food & Wine Festival, Orange Beach 

Kicking off this anticipated season is one of the first tasting festivals, the Uncorked Food and Wine Event in Orange Beach. 

On Sept. 13 through 15, The Wharf in Orange Beach will host it’s 5th Annual Uncorked Event. 

“We will have a similar number of vendors as years past. The variety will include food, wine, beer, spirits, boat dealers, gourmet olive oils and cooking essentials, and much more,” said Sheena Mizell, marketing director with The Wharf. 

A couple of new events and add on’s to this year’s festival include: we have a new partnership with our presenting sponsor Rouses Markets. They are heavily involved with this year’s event and will include breakout cooking demos at their Gulf Shores and Orange Beach locations on Thursday and Friday. Also, a Friday night wine dinner that will be a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Alabama. This dinner will be hosted by Red or White Wine & Gourmet at The Wharf and will feature. Executive Chef James Briscione and Wine Director Brooke Parkhurst of Angelena’s in Pensacola. And at the Grand Tasting on Saturday we have added the Bellstar Prosecco Challenge. This cocktail competition will feature bartenders from four local restaurants slinging innovative cocktails for the crowd to taste and cast their people’s choice vote

The Uncorked event has always had a reputation for giving back to the community. 

We are proud that this event not only involves businesses at The Wharf, but all across our community,” Mizell said. “We have partnered with make-A-Wish Alabama for the last 4 years of this event and have raised over $55,000. They will be our charity of choice again this year and we hope with added fundraiser we will be able to raise more than ever before.”

There will be other events throughout the week hosted by Uncorked. 

“We have the popular Kick Off Party & Chef Showdown on Thursday, Sept. 13th at The Port from 5:30 to 7:30pm,” Mizell said. “There will be high end wine samplings, small bites, a wine pull & live auction, cookbook signings, and the Chef Showdown featuring local chefs that compete against each other and the clock and use mystery ingredients. This party is always a hit! There will also be wine dinners at local restaurants on Friday night and the Rouses Markets in-store events on Thursday & Friday as well. Check our website thewharfuncorked.com for all the details.”

Taste of the Beach, Pensacola 

Sip, savor and surf your way onto Pensacola Beach on Saturday, Sept. 15 for the 11th Annual Taste of the Beach Festival. Deemed as Pensacola Beach’s largest culinary event of the year, the day is filled with chef’s challenges, cook-offs, tastings, live music, restaurants’ signature dishes, crab racing, beer tasting, and more starting at 11 a.m.!
As the event leads into the night, the band Pop Fiction will take the stage at 7 p.m. to end the 11th annual Taste of the Beach festival. Hailing from Jackson, Mississippi, Pop Fiction band members Joey Tannehill, Daniel Adams, Sam Green, Josh Arnold, and Aubrey Walker re-imagine modern pop, rock, dance, and hip-hop classic hits we all love. For more information and full schedule of events, visit http://www.tasteofpensacolabeach.com/event-info/.

3rd Annual Luna’s Eat & Drink Oktoberfest, Orange Beach 

For the past three years, Luna’s Eat and Drink Oktoberfest has been the kick-off to a new month (and season) in Orange Beach. This year, the awaited event will be held on Sept. 30 from 2-6 p.m. at the restaurant’s beautiful complex at 25689 Canal Rd. in Orange Beach. The party will feature German food selections as well as other German traditions like polka music, stein hoisting, games and other festivities. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Orange Beach Animal Care and Control Program. Tickets to the event are on sale now for $10 and include a souvenir beer mug. Ages 21 and up need to purchase entry ticket at either Luna’s Eat & Drink, Cosmo’s Restaurant & Bar, Cobalt, Cosmo’s Restaurant & Bar and Maggie’s Bottle n’ Tail. Individual food and drink tickets are also available for $2.

The Festival of Flavor, Foley 

The Festival of Flavor, sponsored by Riviera Utilities is set to take place Saturday, Oct. 6 in the streets of Historic Downtown Foley from noon until 5 p.m. Presented by the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, The Festival of Flavor showcases the many flavors of local and regional foods, wine and craft beer. Local Chefs and restaurants will be preparing unique dishes while festival guests stroll the streets of Historic Downtown Foley. Guests will enjoy the day while sipping and savoring the unique specialty wines, craft beer and delectable cuisine. On top of the delicious food and beverage samples, they will have you covered for SEC Football with two giant screens to keep up on your favorite teams. Festival of Flavor has been named as a designated qualifying festival for a Golden Ticket to the World Food Championships that will be held at The Wharf in Orange Beach later this year. The fest will offer sample tastes, not only from the Chefs competing for a Golden Ticket, but also from local breweries, wineries, restaurants, mom-and-pop shops and so much more. The Festival of Flavor will host its own competition for People’s Choice and the winner will receive over $1,500 in cash and prizes. 

Wine on the River, Mobile 

Join in for Mobile’s 2nd Annual wine tasting event on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 4-8 p.m. at Cooper Riverside Park. Sample wine from national and international vineyards. With an “Around the World” theme focusing on cultural regions, there will be wine and food for purchase in each selected area. Live music entertainment will be going throughout the evening to keep the fun going.