Wine Festival BasicsA wine festival offers a convenient way to taste a lot of different wine in one place, and to get to know the people who are involved with winemaking. It's an experience that you can only approximate when you visit a wine region, because you'll either have to drive to wineries, or be driven around -- an activity that certainly has its charms, but cuts down on the amount of wine you can physically consume on an hour-by-hour basis.
There are two general types of wine festivals: festivals in a specific wine region, and those that happen where a lot of wine drinkers congregate. Although there are exceptions, wine festivals in wine country tend to focus on wines produced in the area, whereas wine festivals held in major destinations tend to pour a variety of wines from many different regions.
Finding Wine FestivalsThere are wine festivals and wine-tasting experiences each month, either as stand-alone events, or as part of a food festival or event. You can plan your food travels around these festivals, or just check to see whether one will be happening in a destination you're already visiting. Here's where you'll find month-by-month guides to the best wine festivals in the United States.
Notable Wine Festivals in the United States:
- Epcot Food and Wine Festival, Orlando, Florida: Walt Disney World Resort's Wine and Food Festival has an international focus, with wine seminars by region, and multiple wine tasting opportunities, usually paired with food.The event lasts over a month, usually in the early Fall. Disneyland in California used to offer the Disney California Food and Wine Festival in the spring, but is no longer hosting the event.
- Food& Wine Magazine Wine Festivals:Annual events include New York City Wine & Food Festival, South Beach Wine & Food Festival, in Florida, Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival in California and the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, in Colorado.
- One company runs huge wine tasting events -- to the tune of over 600 wines poured in New York City, for example, at the annual New York Wine Expo. In Washington DC, there's the The Washington Wine & Food Festival and in Boston, Mass., for The Boston Wine Expo.
- The California Wine Festival has two editions, one in Santa Barbara, and one in Orange County. Both include seminars, tastings and countless creative ways to sample California wines.
- Bon Appetit magazine hosts Chicago Gourmet, in Chicago, Illinois and Vegas Uncork'd,in Las Vegas, both food festivals with a strong wine component.
- The Grapevine GrapeFest, in Grapevine, Texas, bills itself as the largest wine festival in the Southwest, with a focus on international wines and a "people's choice" component, which is all Texas wines.