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History

It's not about wine. It's about people. 

History

Our History

St. Augustine history encompasses many cultures and ethnicities, but our primary history involves Spanish exploration and colonization. When Pedro Menéndez and the first 800 European settlers landed on our shore 452 years ago, his ships carried survival provisions. Among his most treasured stores was Spanish wine.

Spain has cultivated wine grapes for more than 4,000 years. The Romans fell in love with Spanish wine and exported it throughout the Roman Empire. Spanish wine is the most popular wine in Europe and the fastest-growing segment of the American wine market. St. Augustine’s Spanish Wine Festival is an opportunity to promote our City regionally, nationally and internationally, to help local charities, and connect with our founders through products that are as relevant today as they were when the early Spanish explorers came to America.

Spanish culture, music, food and wine defy space and time. The festival and all of its events are designed to promote St. Augustine as the Spanish Wine Capitol of America, and to facilitate historical-destination tourism.


It's not about wine.
It's about people.

The St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival is a celebration of life.

While it’s true that Spanish wine is considered among the best wine values in the world, the St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival encompasses much more than tasting wine.

Have you ever gone to a place and had the feeling that you have been there before? Have you ever walked into an event full of people and felt comfortable and welcomed? Have you ever tasted a food or wine for the first time and had your palate signal total approval? Have you ever closed your eyes and allowed a Latin rhythm to carry you away to a distant shore?

Now in its sixth year, this festival has a uniquely Spanish energy of total acceptance. Spanish culture is warm, welcoming and romantic. Our Spanish wine experts, chefs and musicians are passionate about sharing Spanish culture with festival guests. Come and learn about Spain from native Spaniards. Come and immerse yourself in a community event that welcomes guests from around the world. People travel from all over the world to attend. Patrons come from as far away as Washington State and California, from South America and many countries in Europe. Visiting America’s First City is always attractive, but meeting people from around the world makes the St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival unlike any other local event. Interested people are interesting people, and when you create a gathering of interesting people, there’s a spark of magic. Come prepared to make a new friend for life.

This year we’re moving to The St. Augustine Shipyard. The waterfront venue, the music and entertainment, the food, the excellent Spanish wine, and most important the people, combine to make the St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival a once-a-year, one-of-a-kind series of events.

Every ticket dollar goes to local charities. The festival is produced by volunteers with corporate sponsorship from Wells Fargo and St. Augustine Shipyard. The festival has no employees, takes no shortcuts, and pays no commissions. Every penny is accounted for, and each year the net contribution to St. Johns County charities has grown. Since the festival was established in 2012, it has donated more than $325,000 to local charities.

This is your personal invitation. Please join us for a weekend in St. Augustine and St. Johns County. Meet interesting people from around the world. Make a contribution that will help people who are making a difference in our local community. Come join the fiesta!


Charlie Seraphin, President
Charlie was originally commissioned by the City of St. Augustine to create a Spanish Wine Festival without utilizing public funds. Charlie pulled together a collection of local merchants and businesspeople to form a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to serving the less fortunate of St. Augustine. A relative newcomer, having lived in St. Johns County for only five years, Charlie’s passion for service helped develop a charity that drives maximum proceeds to the bottom line. Prior to moving to the area, Charlie enjoyed a career in broadcasting and professional sports. 

James (Jim) W. Babcock
Jim has been a resident of St. Johns County for more than 30 years and is one of the original members of the board. While Jim’s career revolved around logistics and the construction and lease of millions of square feet of warehouse space across the country, his love of food and wine made him a logical choice as a founding board member. Jim previously owned and operated two restaurants in St. Augustine, and is a collector and connoisseur of fine wine. Since retirement, Jim has focused on philanthropy as well as educational and artistic endeavors. 

Joseph Boles
Joe, attorney and former mayor of the City of St. Augustine, was asked to join the board in 2015 following his many years of service to the city and its residents and businesses. Joe, who moved to St. Augustine as a youngster, has long been involved in local charity work and served on numerous boards within the community. Joe’s many years of service to the community, his passion for helping others, and his lifelong connections to and friendships with local residents make him an ideal board member.

Harold Weisstein
Harold, director of sales at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, also joined the board in 2015. Harold, who resides in Jacksonville and directs Southern’s sales efforts in this area, has been a supporter of the festival and its charities since 2012. Harold has relationships with dozens of Spanish wine suppliers and has been instrumental in bringing Spanish nationals to the festival. In addition to his professional contributions, he has worked long hours behind the scenes ensuring the development of the festival.

The St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival is currently seeking additional board members willing to devote time to developing this legacy project for the City of St. Augustine and St. Johns County. If you are passionate about helping others and have skills that can augment the skills of the existing board, you are encouraged to apply. Send your cover letter and resume to info@spanishwinefestival.com.

Board of Directors