Basking in the sunshine atop the San Sebastian winery in St. Augustine’s historical downtown, a picturesque waterfront lies in front of you, while a turn of the head reveals the cityscape of the nation’s oldest city. The air is warm and filled with the sounds of this week’s local musician playing their heart out for your entertainment. The glass of wine you’re holding in your hand isn’t something pumped out of a factory in the middle of who-knows-where, it was produced with care by a single family, and damn is it good.
Charles Cox, president of the San Sebastian Winery established in 1996, knows that providing a quality experience is what can make a wine great. This is how the Cox family has been able to create the second-largest winery in Florida, with San Sebastian receiving over 500 medals of excellence for their products. San Sebastian offers complimentary wine tours and tastings seven days a week for wine lovers and novices alike.
“I think we do a good job in that when people come through we are able to educate everyone, whether they know a whole lot about wine or very little. With providing our wine tour and tasting, everyone leaves with a little more knowledge of wine than what they came in with,” Cox said.
The San Sebastian winery produces award-winning table, sparkling and dessert wines to be enjoyed while exploring the town’s rich history or in the comfort of one’s own home. Additionally, The Cellar Upstairs offers impeccable appetizers to be enjoyed with great company and local jazz musicians every weekend upon the rooftop of one of Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway buildings.
“The experience you get when you come through the door is what sets us apart,” said Cox. “When you come in, you learn about our family and the history of winemaking in Florida. I think most people are on a little vacation or want to get away when they come through. They want to be able to relax and enjoy what they’re experiencing. Hopefully, they find a wine that they like to take home and enjoy with family and friends or even by themselves that is able to remind them of a happier time.”