San Sebastian Winery opened in St. Augustine in December 1996 by Gary Cox and family, in conjunction with Seavin, Inc. Seavin, Inc. currently owns the largest winery in the state of Florida, Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards in Clermont. With St. Augustine's vast and interesting history, it seemed only appropriate to open the second Winery location near what history recalls as the birthplace of American wines.
Seavin, Inc was originally formed by Gary Cox to take over a partnership that was formerly the Lafayette Winery located in Tallahassee, FL. Although Gary had grown up predominately in the construction business working with his father Francis Boynton Cox, his dream was to open a Winery. After finishing school Gary became a C.P.A with the Tallahassee firm Williams, Cox, Weidner, and Cox, where he practiced accounting for about thirteen years. While traveling, Gary and his wife Carole often enjoyed visiting different wineries both around the United States and Europe. The interest grew from there. After he planted five acres of vineyards at his home he then decided to take the step to go forward with his dream of opening a winery. Cox decided to form the group to start the Lafayette Winery. A year or so later in 1983 Lafayette Vineyards was born. One of the first employee's was winemaker Jeanne Burgess who has been with the company ever since.
In 1988 another opportunity came the way of Gary Cox when some investors out of Orlando were interested in opening a winery in the Central Florida area. The thought soon came to fruition when the group, along with Cox purchased land in the Clermont, Florida area which soon became the home of Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards. It became difficult however, to run both of the operations simultaneously therefore Cox was forced to close the Lafayette Vineyards and merge everything to the Lakeridge facility in Clermont, which now has a total of 65 employees.
In 1992 Gary's son Charles joined the team at Lakeridge Winery to assist with the overall marketing, retail and ever growing special events which Lakeridge Winery would host. The two worked very well together and the match would soon prove successful. The winery has significantly increased its wine production over the past 13 years, which has allowed the Cox family to open a very successful second location in St. Augustine, Florida, San Sebastian Winery, which has quickly proven itself an industry leader.
The wineries are now structured as a private corporation with Gary Cox as President, Charles Cox as Vice-President, Carole Cox as Secretary and Mandi Enix as Treasurer. The family has always had a strong commitment to produce a quality product, with possibly an even stronger commitment to their customers. The Cox family invites you to visit either of their wineries for a free tour and wine tasting, whether a first time or repeat visitor, you are assured to have a wonderful time, as well as learn about the great wines that Florida has to offer.