Beyond the Grape owner celebrates 3 years at Cordova Mall

Pensacola, FL – Beyond the Grape is excited to welcome NW Florida author Kevin Begos to the tasting room at Cordova Mall on Thursday September 13th at 6:30PM for a special one-night-only tasting of rare varietals and natural wines discovered during his 10 years of research into the origins of wine.  “We have never had a tasting like this, highlighting the diversity of native grapes and traditions from many different cultures – we will be tasting wines from the Republic of Georgia, Israel, Switzerland, Croatia, rare varietals from Italy, and winemakers who are reviving traditional winemaking” says Roger Johnson, owner of Beyond the Grape who is celebrating 3 years as owner of Beyond the Grape in September.

The Wall Street Journal review of Tasting the Past noted:

“We experience his discoveries on the wine side roads as freshly as he does. The end game of his travels is to encourage wine drinkers to step beyond their tried and true pours to seek out unheralded but worthy wines to drink on and think on. Wine, after all, ought not always to be a habit but sometimes an adventure.”

The evening will include a brief talk by author Begos on the 8,000 years of wine history and highlights from his journeys that led to Tasting the Past.  Attendees will taste many uncommon varietals from off the beaten path; wines that most people have probably not encountered before, including Rkatsiteli and Saperavi from the Republic of Georgia, Hamdani and Jandali from Israel, and native grapes from the Mediterranean and central and eastern Europe.  We will also try some native and natural wines from experimental winemakers in America.  There will be none of the most common grapes; we won’t be sampling any Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, etc.

This appearance by Kevin Begos highlights the evolution of Beyond the Grape over the last 3 years.  Having never visited Pensacola, owner Roger Johnson arrived from Seattle, in August 2015 to purchase the store from a friend in New Orleans.  “As many an entrepreneur will say, if you knew what you were getting into you wouldn’t do it.  But if you have the vision and persistence, you will build something authentic and attract a customer base.  We have the best customers and we’re always welcoming visitors to Pensacola with a unique wine tasting experience.”

Beyond the Grape is a welcoming, laid back place to discover new wines, from local to international, sweet to dry, exotic to classic.  “We are able to offer great and unexpected selections for any wine lover, from someone new to wine to the most experienced sommelier.  I believe in supporting local and I am proud to represent three excellent Florida wineries.  And I have introduced many small production wines from the west coast, especially my home state of Washington, and from around the world.  It’s great to have that connection to the winemakers and to find you can sell these uncommon wines to a wide range of people!”  Beyond the Grape currently stocks over 400 different wines from over 20 countries, representing more than 100 wine grapes and fruits.

Beyond the Grape is also the place that popularized “Wine Smoothies”, which were introduced on day one in March 2014 and new owner Johnson has improved and expanded the offerings of wine smoothies.  Wine smoothies have become a fixture at Wahoos stadium for both baseball and UWF Argos football for 3 seasons.  “When I was leaving Seattle 3 years ago my friends all thought I was crazy… and laughed at the wine smoothie concept.  Now, I’m seeing Elmeco slush machines appear all over town here and then the other year the Seattle Times did an article about the ‘big trend’ of bars and restaurants making delicious and refreshing wine-based slush drinks.  We continue to see growth and many repeat customers at the mall and stadium.  We’ve served more than 50,000 wine smoothies in the last 3 years.”

Bringing together personal journeys in wine, supporting small production, handcrafted wines both local and international, and creating a special “sense of place” that people seek out and keep coming back to (in the Mall, of all places!), and giving back to the community are what Beyond the Grape is all about.


Tickets for the Tasting the Past book talk and special wine tasting with author Kevin Begos on September 13th at 6:30PM are available at Beyond the Grape (Cordova Mall), by calling 850 696 2916 or online:  Space is limited.  Tickets for the tasting plus a copy of the book are $35 and $15 for just the tasting.