Emerald Coast Wine Cellars - Destin & Miramar Beach, Florida Winery

Emerald Coast Wine Cellars History

The story of Emerald Coast Wine Cellars.

Emerald Coast Wine Cellars History

Emerald Coast Wine Cellars has been a tourist favorite attraction in Miramar Beach, Florida for years. Along with our sister store and vineyard, our light-hearted, whimsical approach to wine and wine-related retail gifts moves us to the top of the list of places to visit for thousands of people annually. The name of Chautauqua was chosen for the Vineyards and Winery because of DeFuniak Springs, Florida, the town that was home to the permanent Winter Assembly of the Chautauqua Assembly from Chautauqua County, New York from 1885 to 1928. Many turn-of-the-century homes (and the Chautauqua "Hall of Brotherhood") still stand, gracing the shores of a perfectly round lake that is the center of the city.

Our Florida Vineyard

More about our spectacular wine vineyard located on the Florida Panhandle.

Our Florida Vineyard

The 40 acre vineyard was planted in 1979 and is located 12 miles north of Defuniak Springs. The grapes grown by Chautauqua are Muscadine varieties. Muscadine grapes are native and are found growing wild in most areas of the southeastern states. Our varieties are Carlos and Noble, improved generations selected and propogated from native grapes.

Florida Wine Grape Varieties

Our delicious wine grapes are carefully and lovingly grown at our vineyard. Here is some info about the source of our wines.

Florida Grapes Varieties

Carlos is a white Muscadine variety used for juice and wine and is similar to the well-known "Scuppernong" Muscadine. Noble is a red Muscadine variety and is known for its full and festive flavor. Great care and attention is paid to the cultivation of the vineyards. The grapes are fertilized and irrigated to yield crops of quality and healthy vines for future vintages.

Florida Wine Grape Harvest

Learn about the cultivation and harvesting of Florida wine grapes that make our delightful wines possible.

Florida Wine Grapes Harvest

The florida wine grape harvest begins in late August and lasts into September. A mechanical picker is used to quickly and efficiently harvest the fruit in the cool morning hours. The grapes are then delivered to the winery for crushing, usually within a couple hours after picking to maximize freshness. This cool picking and rapid processing is essential to capturing the quality and flavor of these exceptional grapes. The quality of a wine hinges on the vineyard and our goal is to maintain that quality from vine to bottle.

Florida Winery Production

Our Defuniak Springs, Florida wine production facility is where we bottle our varieties and it is something special to see with our daily free tours.

Our Florida Wine Production Facility

At our Florida Winery the grapes are crushed and pressed in a state-of-the-art facility. The winery was constructed in 1989 and boasts over 70,000 gallons of temperature-controlled, stainless steel cooperage as well as over 1,980 gallons of barrels for oak aging. The commitment to quality and efficiency is showcased in the press used for processing. The current wine press was added in 2004 and is a 12,000 liter Europress. This wine press was custom-built for Chautauqua by the Scharfenberger Company of Germany. Currently, this is the largest press of its kind East of the Rocky Mountains. This press can gently extract the juice from 30 tons of fresh grapes, or 35 tons of fermented reds in a single load. The winery also has its own in-house lab for the winemaker to evaluate field samples and wines as part of Chautauqua's strict Quality Assurance program.

Florida Wine Making

Our wine making process is a marvel to behold. Learn more about our wine press, wine distillation, and storage.

Florida Wine Making – How We Do It

After crushing, the white grapes are immediately pressed and the juice is quickly chilled. When the juice is clarified, cultured wine yeast is added and the fermentation process begins. The white wines are generally fermented at very cool temperatures, around 50-55 degrees F, this to capture aroma and flavor. Reds are handled a bit differently. The grapes are crushed into fermentation tanks while select wine yeast is added. They are then fermented "on the skins" for several days to extract the flavor and color from the skin of the grape. When ready, the free run fermenting juice is drained, and the skins and pulp are pressed. Red wines are fermented at cool temperatures, usually 70 degrees F. Both white and red wines ferment until all sugar is converted to alcohol, this itself ending the fermentation process. The wines are then allowed to settle and any blending that is done happens at this stage. Thereafter, the wines are clarified and stabilized in preparation for bottling. Grapes harvested in the fall are made into wines which are typically ready for bottling the following spring.

Florida Wine Retail Stores

We have two charming retail stores filled with great wine, gourmet foods, and gift selections.

Two Florida Wine Retail Stores

Chautauqua Wines and related brand labels are sold exclusively at Emerald Coast Wine Cellars and our sister store and vineyard in Defuniak Springs, Florida. Emerald Coast Wine Cellars is located at 1708 Scenic Gulf Drive (Old Hwy 98 East) in Destin, Florida. Our large inventory of wine-themed gifts, gourmet foods, and gift baskets is sure to bring a smile. Our sister store and winery is located at the intersection of Interstate 10 (exit 85) and Hwy 331 in DeFuniak Springs. The retail store is open for free wine tasting and tours daily from 9 to 5. Guests are invited to try any of our wines and see the winery as well as the wine making process. In addition to fine wines, guests can browse the selections of gourmet foods, gifts, and gift baskets.

Free Daily Wine Tastings & Tours

We welcome you on a free wine tasting & tour!

Free Wine Tastings Daily

Emerald Coast Wine Cellars welcomes you to visit our retail store in Miramar Beach, Florida, or enjoy a free wine tasting and tour at our sister facility as part of your visit. Call for (850) 837-9500 for more details.