Local residents and business partners Alayna Brewer and Jamie Umberger have opened Southern Vibes Tasting Room and Wine Cellar. The neighborhood food and beverage establishment features beginning to advanced wine enthusiasts with an opportunity to experience a wide variety of boutique and exclusive wines from around the globe along with locally produced craft beers, hard ciders, and small plate tapas and hors d’oeuvres for lunch and dinner. Brewer and Umberger offer high quality and small production wines at a reasonable price in an inviting atmosphere. The sommelier staff share their knowledge of wines at the tasting bar and at the shelved and cellared wine selection. The neighborhood wine shop is a source of reliable advice and guided explorations. Customers can sit and sip a variety of wines by the glass and purchase retail with more than 700 bottles of various selections.
Patron and private events include classes and tastings to educate participants about grapes, vineyards, wine, food pairings, recipes, proper glassware, temperature, storage, table presentation, decanting vs. carafe, among others. Sommeliers are available to schedule corporate or private tastings on or off site. Private wine cellaring is available to store bottles of wine at the appropriate temperature and lighting which can extend the life of many wine investments. Special orders are available.
“Our mission at Southern Vibes is to create a comfortable and tranquil atmosphere for our customers to enjoy wine and learn more about what is in their glass,” said Brewer. “The idea that initiated Southern Vibes was years in the making. Our two families are inspired by the love of wine with a desire to know more about the craft,” she said. Brewer is an advanced level sommelier and Umberger is an intermediate level sommelier.
After trips to Santa Barbara County and Napa Valley in California, Niagara Peninsula in Canada, and Umqua and Applegate Valleys in Oregon, the store owners decided they wanted to know and do more, and bring the same passion and knowledge of wine to northern St. Johns County.
Brewer and Umberger decided the best way to share their experiences would be to bring the feel of authentic tasting rooms to their hometown of St. Augustine. “Tasting rooms are relaxed and comfortable places where adults can enjoy a glass of wine, discuss their experiences, and take home their favorite bottles to share with their family and friends,” said Umberger. “We have created a comfortable and educational environment that has a touch of southern hospitality.”
For example, ordering wines by the glass changes regularly and may include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay; Pinot Grigio; Red Blends, Riesling; Rose; Sauvignon Blanc, and Zinfandel. Also, sparkling wines by the glass may include Blanc de Blanc and Prosecco, plus sparkling mineral water is available.
The small bites, tapas and dessert menus feature Chef Julio Vargas’s original recipes with a royal cheese board classic; insalata caprese, homemade hummus served with fresh vegetables and pita chips; smoked salmon rolled with cream cheese and fresh herbs; breadbasket with olive spread; ceviche tigre de leche with Mahi; garlic shrimp al ajillo with crostini, pappas bravas with aioli sauce and smoked Romano cheese; southern braised short ribs with bourbon barbeque sauce, and southwestern chorizo tacos. Desserts include homemade bread pudding glazed with whiskey sauce, and mini cakes by Crème de la Cocoa in St. Augustine. Chef Vargas has more than 35 years of experience as an international restaurant manager and chef.
The business owners credit the store opening and recent success in part to their relationship with Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard owners who offered encouragement and recognition as wine club members. Additionally, an exclusive agreement with Mimmo Wine distribution allows the local store to feature limited edition wines from throughout Italy.
Dr. Alayna M. Brewer is also a physical therapist with more than 14 years of experience. She graduated with honors as a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) from the University of St. Augustine. She and her family reside in St. Augustine.
Jamie Umberger is a military veteran having served in the US Army and Florida National Guard. He holds an advanced degree from Webster University and degrees from the University of Florida and South Dakota State University. Umberger is a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College. He and his family reside in St. Augustine.
Store Hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 12pm until 9pm, Wednesday from 12pm until 10pm; Friday from 12pm until 10pm; Saturday from 12pm until 10pm; and closed Sunday and Monday. Due to COVID-19, reservations are required after 4pm to maintain CDC physical distancing guidelines.
Southern Vibes Tasting Room and Wine Cellar is located near World Golf Village at The Markets at Murabella, 105 Murabella Parkway, Suite 5 in St. Augustine. For more information, visit the website at www.southernvibeswine.com.