San Sebastian Winery is the Best of St. Augustine

San Sebastian Winery has earned the accolades. Often considered one of the best wineries in the state, San Sebastian is the wine heart of the city (and an ideal place for a Valentine’s Day escape). While “best” is debatable, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful. 

History of Wine Making in St. Augustine

St. Augustine is often cited as the birthplace of American wine. Considering its ancient status, this may be surprisingly close to the truth. Wine history in the city dates to the Native American settlements, who utilized the impressive local grapes for generations. 

Despite his popularity in history books, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, an early settler, missed out on the whole affair. While he was distracted by the Fountain of Youth pursuit, he distressingly skipped the local grapes.

It was a quiet French settlement who discovered the quality of Florida’s grapes and sought to bring them to the people. When British Admiral John Hawkins settled in the region in the late 1500s, the wine was in full force.

The History of the Winery

Photo of San Sebastian Winery
Photo of San Sebastian Winery

Despite this, San Sebastian is quite modern. Having started in just 1996, the winery’s benchmark on history is impressively new. But the leaders knew exactly how to harness the history of the city to full effect.

Moving into an old Henry Flagler Railway near the heart of the city, founder Gary Cox and his crew sought to bring the best of wine to St. Augustine. 

Now, the team offers tours and tastings year-round. The tour offers insight into the wine-making process and the tasting offers unique seasonal items and premium wines.

The winery includes a jazz bar called the Cellar Upstairs.  It is also one of the most romantic attractions in the ancient city. Visitors can hang out on the rooftop overtop the city, snacking on appetizers and ordering wine made right downstairs. Draft and bottled beers are also available for anyone wanting a little wine break.

San Sebastian currently stands as the second-largest winery in Florida. Good news is we offer accommodations that provide the perfect home base to exploring their tasting room downtown. Make sure to choose us from the resorts near St. Augustine, Florida.

Types of Wine

st augustine wine bottles
Photo from Pexels

San Sebastian Winery offers a little glass of everything. You can find a delectable chardonnay, with its medium body and light flavor. The Cabernet is known for its dense flourishes of oak and its medium body. You can also find a Pinot Grigio, a juicy and fruity selection for anyone seeking something more than a little sweet.

You also have some very intriguing selections, like the Reserve Petite Sirah, a dark-hued red with a surprising smoothness and rich fruity body. There’s also the Stover Reserve apple-dense fine dry white and the light and breezy Rosa.

What To Do

You can find some amazing jazz music in the Cellar Upstairs. It stands as one of the best historical restaurants in St. Augustine.

Don’t miss out on some tours and tastings during the afternoons and early evenings in the winery proper.

Visitor Information

San Sebastian Winery is located at 157 King St, St. Augustine. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. See the above for specific tour and The Cellar Upstairs hours as the winery tours close in the evening and the cellar is not fully open early in the afternoon.

Fortunately, the San Sebastian Winery has its own parking lot for visiting guests only. It can be found just a few blocks off US1 on King St, the city’s main artery running from the Bridge of Lions to the end of town. 

Plan Your St. Augustine Vacation

Don’t miss out on our top-rated St. Augustine beach rentals on your vacation getaway. Of all the resort hotels in St. Augustine, FL, the Ocean Gallery provides a family-friendly atmosphere along with a neighborhood setting.