Coastal Vision 3000 Bought by FRLA

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) announced today the acquisition of Coastal Vision 3000, a private, non-profit tourism and economic development group in Northwest Florida.  Coastal Vision’s executive director Mel Ponder will lead the transition to FRLA over the coming months.

“The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is proud to work with and compliment the efforts of Coastal Vision 3000,” said FRLA President and CEO Carol Dover.  “This merger will allow for greater marketing and branding efforts, and growing the economic development of Northwest Florida through the hospitality and tourism industries, one of the state’s main economic engines,” she continued.
Continue reading “Coastal Vision 3000 Bought by FRLA”

Mission Accomplished: An Interview with Coastal Vision 3,000’s Buddy Runnels

Over the course of the last 2 months following Coastal Vision 3000’s announcement of its disbanding, numerous articles have been written, many speculative, as to what caused the doors to close. Even more were curious as to the declaration of, “Mission Accomplished,” and what goals of Coastal Vision 3,000 were actually achieved. To answer our questions, we went directly to the source, Mr. Davage “Buddy” Runnels, who served as the chairman of CV3’s board. In his view, the mission was accomplished, but not yet completed. Continue reading “Mission Accomplished: An Interview with Coastal Vision 3,000’s Buddy Runnels”

11/6/09 – Taste of The Beach in Pier Park

Bring your taste buds and sipping hands for this venue will be an international wine tasting experience with over 300 wines to taste and food samplings from various Bay County restaurants.  Held at Pier Park in Panama City Beach, proceeds from the tasting go to benefit various local charities dedicated to helping underprivileged children. 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.tasteofthebeachfla.com

Coastal Vision 3000 Hits Membership Milestone

Coastal Vision 3000, the private, non-profit regional membership organization for THE Beach, has hit a membership milestone celebrating its 100th member. The organization encompasses Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf and Franklin Counties and was established to create a consistent, branded identity for the region known as “THE Beach.”

Since its start in late 2007, Coastal Vision 3000 has grown from a group of regional visionaries to over 100 businesses, organizations and individuals representing over 150 companies, working together in a unified front to present THE Beach to new markets both nationally and internationally. The aim is to promote the work of local tourism and economic development professionals and to grow the market to its fullest potential.

“Membership in Coastal Vision 3000/THE Beach is open to all businesses and organizations in our seven-county region,” said Mel Ponder, executive director for Coastal Vision 3000. “Members benefit in many ways, not only for themselves, but for the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast region as a whole.”

Ponder said that marketing the entire region under one “halo” brand means businesses and organizations not only strengthen and enhance their own marketing efforts, but also help ensure long-term economic growth and create a tourist destination that is identifiable throughout the world.

Coastal Vision 3000 offers five Membership levels; Advocates $100, Champions $500, Stewards $2,500, Trustees $5,000, and Founders $15,000. Each level offers Members a variety of benefits, including a twice-monthly informational e-newsletter, a listing on THE Beach’s award winning website (www.thebeachfla.com), use of THE Beach’s standardized graphics and logos, membership meetings, and the opportunity to participate in THE Beach’s national and international marketing efforts.

For more information about membership in or goals and initiatives of Coastal Vision 3000 and THE Beach, visit http://www.thebeachfla.com or call Coastal Vision 3000 at 850-337-3469

Taste of the Beach at Pier Park

Pier Park played host to The Beach’s Taste of The Beach Friday evening.  With hundreds of wines to taste and 8 restaurants participating, a broad range of flavors wafted through the air.

“We expect 600 to 700 people here tonight,” said Paul Wohlford, VP of Sales and Marketing for the Resort Collection of Panama City Beach.

I’ve never been a good estimator of quantity, but I’d say if they hadn’t hit that mark, they sure were close.

Pier Park closed off the main boardwalk section between Hofbrau Beer Garden and Buffalo Wild Wings to place two tasting tents with a wide assortment of wine, cheeses, food and deserts.  Sponsors came from all of northwest Florida to participate, in addition to local Pier Park restaurants.

The restaurants that had a food sampling were Baja Grille, Margaritaville, Back Porch, Reggae J’s, Hofbrau Beer Garden, Buffalo Wild Wings, Longhorn Steak House, and Firefly.  All of the food was great, and many offered discount cards to dine at their restaurant during the off-season.

As people tasted, reggae music floated through the air.  The mood was pleasant and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

The schedule for the rest of the weekend:

  • Telluride Mountain Film Festival
    • Friday and Saturday night, November 7 & 8th, 2008
    • Mountain Film Festival celebrates the best in independent thinking – where adventure is celebrated, history is important, and people are passionate about what they believe.  It attracts an audience seeking a culturally rich, conversation-inspiring experience in which to discuss films, share ideas and be inspired, all under a dramatic canopy of stars.  Showtimes are 7 to 10 pm and gates open at 6 pm.  Tickets are $25 per person for one night, or $40 per person for two nights; kids 5 to 12 are 50% off, and free to children under 5.
  • Seeing Red Wine Festival
    • Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 1 – 5 pm
    • Join us for an intimate afternoon of wine, food and music in the tranquil beauty of Seaside, Florida.  As you explore, sample and expand your knowledge of the latest in trends in wine from aficionados who are willing to meet and educate you.  $100 per ticket.
  • Winemaker & Shaker’s Dinners
    • Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
    • “Winemaker & Shaker’s” Dinners will be held in the area’s finest restaurants along the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast.  Celebrity vintners will be paired with a spectacular chef at each of these locations to create an unforgettable evening.  $150 per ticket.
  • Rosemary Jazz Brunch
    • Sunday, November 9th, 2008, 10 am – 1 pm
    • The Rosemary Jazz Brunch blends premium wines, gourmet food and Gulf Coast culture into a sophisticated, educational and entertaining event.  Brunch with champagne, light wines and the Green Hit Band on a tranquil day as you take in the sights of beautiful Rosemary Beach.  $50 per ticket.
  • Taste of The Beach & Charity Auction
    • Sunday, November 9th, 2008, 3 – 6 pm
    • Taste of The Beach & Charity Auction at the luxurious Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa.  Guests will be treated to distinctive wines from internationally acclaimed vintners, the area’s top restaurants.  While wining and dining attendees will enjoy live music and the excitement of a silent auction.  The night will culminate with a high-energy and entertaining live auction that will include rare and distinctive wines, themed get-a-ways and other spectacular, one-of-a-kind items.  $150 per ticket.

Taste of THE Beach

Taste of THE Beach Partners Announce Unparalleled Regional “Wine.Dine.Donate” Event

Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. – Wine enthusiasts and aficionados, gourmets and gourmands, philanthropists and successful friends will combine talents and passions to create an unparalleled 4 day gala, “Taste of THE Beach-Wine.Dine.Donate” November 6-9, 2008.  This 4 day extravaganza will be held on the Northwest Florida gulf coast, also referred to as THE Beach, which is blessed with pristine white-sand beaches and emerald-colored waters. It’s also home to a world class resort community where the residents sport a casual and relaxed attitude, yet are obsessed with great wine, great food, and philanthropy.

Spectacular charity wine events and the names Napa, Naples and Nashville are often thought to be synonymous. When thinking premiere events, one usually does not think the Florida Gulf Coast. But this is no usual event.
What’s the secret?  A unique fusion of pure sophistication and southern charm combined with the fun and relaxed ambiance of the seaside.  Add to the mix the world’s greatest vintners, culinary masters, exhilarating auctions, and the opportunity to positively impact the lives of needy children and you’ve got the recipe for success. Robert Davis, Founder of Seaside, states “We are pleased the Seeing Red Wine Festival will be incorporated into Taste of THE Beach.   Seeing Red has been one of this area’s leading culinary and vinicultural events for many years and this relationship will allow us to take this event to the next level.  Even in its formative years, it attracted wine and food luminaries like Robert and Margrit Mondavi and Lidia Bastianich and offered dinners and wine tastings that were extraordinary.  We hope that broadening the alliance with THE Beach will allow this event to attract the international sponsorship and clientele for whom the event and the venue will offer enormous appeal”.

“With the 17 year success of the Seeing Red Wine Festival, partnering with Coastal Vision 3000, it will only enhance the event and expose Seaside to an international audience that will make the event more successful,” says Cara Roy, Chairman of the Merchants of Seaside. “Having events with proven success is an integral part of building Taste of THE Beach, and to be recognized for our 17 years of success of the Seeing Red Wine Festival is quite an honor. We are excited about this partnership and pleased to share our successes to help build THE Beach brand,” agrees Kristin Kramin-Banker, Executive Director for the Merchants at Seaside.

The Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF), Coastal Vision 3000 (CV 3000), and Walton Area Chamber of Commerce (WACC) have created a partnership to host the Taste of THE Beach-Wine.Dine.Donate.

The DCWAF mission is to connect wine enthusiasts to raise money for children in need.  This organization is no stranger to wildly successful wine and culinary events.  In just over 2 years they have raised over $1,000,000 for local children’s charities.  Their reach is international and has included such wine celebrities as  France’s Laurent Drouhin of Joseph Drouhin & Domaine Drouhin and Marc Perrin of Chateau de Beaucastel, Williams Selyem’s Bob Cabral, Dan Kosta of Kosta-Browne, Oregon’s Grace and Ken Evenstad of Domaine Serene, Australia’s Dan Philips and David Galzignato with Duckhorn Wine Company.  Participating world-renowned chefs have included Chris Wilson of Emeril’s New Orleans, Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace  and legendary chef extraordinaire Norman Van Aken of Norman’s, to name a few.

“As a long time business owner in Northwest Florida, I can’t imagine a better way to positively impact our community,” exclaims Chan Cox, Owner of Chan’s Wine World.

Some of Northwest Florida’s most respected business leaders have joined to create Coastal Vision 3000, a membership organization of regional stewards representing hospitality, real estate, tourism and economic development interests in Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Santa Rosa, Escambia and Gulf counties. The stewards of Coastal Vision 3000 are committed to working together to create an internationally recognized, branded destination, to help ensure the long-term economic growth of our region. They have committed to work together to participate in a regional brand-building campaign, to support the work of our region’s tourism and economic development professionals, and to attract additional domestic and international air service to the region.

“It is our pleasure to be a part of and support a Taste of THE Beach and host a portion of the event at the Emerald Grande resort at HarborWalk Village.   Emerald Grande’s location on the Destin Harbor will give guests a taste of one of the cornerstones of THE Beach area.  Where the energies come together – THE Beach, the bay, the nightlife, the shopping, the boating and the fishing,” says Peter H. Boss, CEO of Legendary, Inc.

“This event will be another confirmation to the area residents and business people, to show how well our organizations and our counties work together, with no borders. The commitment we have as stewards of Coastal Vision 3000 is to grow our market and support the area as one branded name that we can be identified with nationally and internationally,” says Mike Chouri, General Manager for the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa.

The Walton Area Chamber has taken a strong leadership role on the Emerald Coast to facilitate a vibrant and cooperative business involvement. Their membership is found in eight states and eight counties throughout Florida.

EVENTS AND VENUES

Thursday, November 6, 2008
Kick-Off Reception at the Emerald Grande on the Destin harbor for celebrity vintners and chefs and other VIP’s.

Friday, November 7th, 2008
5pm to 8pm – Enjoy wine and food while strolling through the all-new Pier Park in Panama City Beach.

Saturday, November 8th, 2008
12pm to 4pm – Join us for Seeing Red-a wine and food walkabout at the quintessential coastal community, Seaside, FL.
Evening—Retail tent and wine tasting at Water Color’s outdoor Mountain Film Festival.
Wine celebrity dinners will be held in the area’s finest restaurants throughout the Gulf Coast.  Celebrity vintners will be paired with celebrity guest chefs at each of these locations to create an unforgettable evening.

“In its eighth year, WaterColor’s outdoor Mountain Film Festival celebrates the best in independent thinking – where adventure is celebrated, history is important, and people are passionate about what they believe.  It attracts an audience seeking a culturally rich, conversation-inspiring experience in which to discuss films, share ideas and be inspired, all under a dramatic canopy of stars.  By being a part of the ‘Taste of THE Beach, we will have the opportunity to pair incredible wines with incredible film in an incredible setting and present an even greater event for all to enjoy”.

Sunday, November 9th, 2008
10am to 1pm-The Rosemary Wine Event blends premium wines, gourmet food, and Gulf Coast culture into a sophisticated, educational, and entertaining event.

3:00 pm- At the luxurious Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa guests will be treated to distinctive wines from internationally acclaimed vintners, poured and paired with fine cuisine created by a selection of the area’s top restaurants.  While wining and dining, attendees will enjoy live music and the excitement of a silent auction. The night will culminate with a high-energy and entertaining live auction that will include rare and distinctive wines, themed get-a-ways and other spectacular, one-of-a-kind items.

“For the past six years the Walton Area Chamber has hosted The Taste of The Emerald Coast, this new partnership with Coastal Vision 3000 and Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation will all us to take this event to new heights and serve as a catalyst for driving destination travelers to our region,” says Lori Kelley, Chair of the Walton Area Chamber.

“The 2008 Taste of THE Beach Wine, Dine and Donate, is yet another great example of this undiscovered region coming together for the common good of all. We are excited that Bay County will be able to show travelers some of the impressive cornerstones in the region. Pier Park is a great community partner and perfect venue for a quality experience,” exclaims Paul Wohlford, Edgewater Beach Resort.

Guests will plan their social calendars around attending this extraordinary event, arriving from all over the United States. Special accommodations packages and group airfare discounts will be available. Ticket packages will be offered for the entire weekend or for individual events.

The proceeds will benefit the lives of children in need.  Taste of THE Beach-Wine.Dine.Donate is committed to supporting charitable programs that improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of underprivileged and at-risk children in Northwest Florida.

“This partnership exemplifies how charitable, business and governmental organizations can successfully work together for everyone’s benefit.  We’re honored and thrilled to be a part of it, and look forward to using this success to make a difference in a child’s life,” says Todd Vucovich, Executive Director for the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation.

For more information, you may reach the chamber at: 850-267-0683, 63 South Centre Trail, Santa Rosa Beach; or 850-892-3191, 95 Circle Drive, DeFuniak Springs. Find out more, and check out the newly launched Walton Area Chamber Channel, at http://www.waltoncountychamber.com.

Coastal Vision 3000 Presentation on The Beach at New Airport Site

Coastal Vision 3000 takes off with Milestone Presentation at Panama City – Bay County International Airport Site

PANAMA CITY – Nearly 100 Northwest Florida business and community leaders came together today as officials with Coastal Vision 3000, a non-profit organization focused on marketing the region, and the Panama City – Bay County International Airport discussed future economic and growth opportunities for the area. The open-forum gathering, which was held under a tented meeting space at the site of the future airport, currently the only airport under construction in the country, was lead by Davage “Buddy” Runnels, chairman of Coastal Vision 3000 and chairman of the Destin-based The Sterling Companies.

Continue reading “Coastal Vision 3000 Presentation on The Beach at New Airport Site”