Where do you come from originally, and how did you meet?
Shaun: I’m from Northern New Jersey, and Steve is originally from Boston. We met at The University of Florida in Gainesville from where we each graduated. After going our separate ways after college and pursuing our respective careers, we reconnected several years later, both of us realizing that we still retained the same values and ideals that first brought us together.
Tell us about your experience and what prompted you to bring Coastal Wine to Ponte Vedra?
Shaun: I have over 20 years’ experience as a marketing and strategic planning leader in the pharmaceutical client services industry, and Steve has more than 27 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
Steve: We relocated in 2013 to Nocatee in Ponte Vedra, Florida, and really got a feel of the area. In 2014, we realized that there was a void for a casual gathering place for adults. With that (and being newly married with a baby on the way) we decided to combine our respective career experience and our passion for wine and conversation into creating our first small business endeavor, Coastal Wine Market & tasting room.
Tell us about your personal journeys of discovery. How did you develop an interest in wines?
Steve: Upon visiting the wineries and tasting rooms in Los Olivos, California, I was inspired by the ambiance each winery created to ensure their guests felt comfortable and at home. And we wanted to bring that kind of elevated charm to the area. Upon returning to the East Coast, I studied to become a Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. In addition to the ambiance, we also wanted to introduce a chef-curated food and wine experience. I have always been intrigued by the complimentary relationships between food and beverage pairing and the importance of providing the right aesthetics to enhance the overall tasting experience.
Shaun: We are always intrigued with discovering the personalities behind each wine and the great social connections inspired by the wines we enjoy. The winemakers that have visited our shop and have interacted with our guests are a testament to that!
Do you have a favorite wine?
Steve: We have many favorites, all for a variety of reasons. At the moment, we’re exploring The Crane Assembly, a 1.2-acre vineyard located in the heart of Napa Valley owned by Dave Phinney of Orin Swift notoriety, a summer-friendly Italian white blend, Soave, by Pieropan in addition to Pierre Moncuit Blanc de Blanc Champagne.
Shaun: One of my favorites right now is a single vineyard Chardonnay, Saralee Vineyard from the Russian River Valley, created by La Crema.
Tell us about what Coastal Wine offers in terms of its menu, its beverages and any special events or gatherings.
Shaun: We offer Happy Hour 4-6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursdays. Plus, enjoy our authentic Maine Lobster Roll (inspired by Steve’s Boston roots), delicious Flatbreads, Gourmet Cheese & Charcuterie Boards, Chef-Inspired Tapas, Wines by the Glass or Bottle, and an array of Craft beer, Wine Club Memberships and Private and Special Events. One of our favorite ticketed events is our Meet the Winemaker Series where we host well-known vintners for unforgettable evenings of food and wine pairings. Our recent pairing was with Bryan Page, vintner of Revolver Wine Co & Page Cellars, Napa Valley, California.
Steve: We have also recently launched some really fun evenings where we focus on some different food and wine offerings. Take Flight Tuesdays pairs three small chef-curated bites with three Sommelier-selected wines to convey the symbiotic relationship between food and wine. Dive-In Wednesdays features a fresh-from-the-sea, chef-curated dish for one night only and Super Sip Saturdays takes our regular by the glass pours up higher to truly kick off your Saturday!
I recall that you have had some charitable fundraisers. Tell us about them and your interest in supporting these causes.
Shaun: We were humbled during the pandemic to be able to donate $10,000 to the American Red Cross Northeast Chapter through a portion of all of our sales to help with much needed healthcare assistance. Additionally, we have sponsored fund raisers for Type 1 Diabetes Foundation and Alzheimer's Association to name a few along with numerous local charitable fundraisers for worthy causes.
What changes have you made to your location and vision since first opening your doors in 2016?
Steve: We were very fortunate to have been blessed with the opportunity to expand our current space into the adjacent space next door allowing for us to double our footprint. Construction commenced in May of 2020 and we opened our doors in February 2021. We implemented full table service, expanded our kitchen in order to accommodate more creativity and efficiency and doubled the size of our patio amongst other enhancements. On June 17th, we celebrated our fifth anniversary quietly but gratefully.
Shaun: And we can’t talk about our expansion without mentioning Gladstone, our inverted grapevine chandelier art installation. She is a one-of-a-kind commissioned sculpture adorned with 2,000 Cut to Perfection Austrian Crystals created by the incomparable Jonquil LeMaster. Gladstone is truly an artistic masterpiece whose grandeur must be seen in person!
What do you like best about living in this area?
Steve: We would say the people, simply stated. Their unwavering support over the past five years has been immeasurable. We would not continue to grow if it was not for the support of our surrounding communities. We look forward to serving our wonderful guests, familiar faces and new faces alike, well into the future!