There are very few experiences that enhance a person’s understanding of the wine culture better than attending a “wine festival.” Every year, winemakers from all over the world carefully book and plan their attendance at these unique events because they are so much fun, and because festivals give winemakers a chance to personally connect with the people who drink their wines!
The fact is, almost every state in the country has a wine festival, so attending one is an excellent way to sample the wines of your region and become familiar with some of the great wineries that might be in your backyard. But many states also play host to international wine festivals - which is an incredible opportunity that gives you a look inside of a vast community of winemakers and winery owners.
But when you decide to attend a wine festival, there are a few things that you'll want to remember to enhance the experience, and to help you make the most of your time.
Wine Festival Punch List
1. Make a Plan: A lot of marketing goes into a successful wine festival, so you’ll likely never find a shortage of information to get you ready for your experience. It always helps to study up on which wineries and winemakers will be in attendance. Then you can make a list of which tastings, pairing, lectures and other events you want to attend. The number of events going on at any given time at a wine festival can be overwhelming, so a well-laid plan always makes the event more complete.
2. Make Food a Priority: One of the most fantastic things about wine is how it can bring out the flavors in food — and vice versa! At most wine festivals, food is a huge priority, so make sure you go with an open mind, and a ready palate to experience the amazing offerings being presented. Ask questions and seek advice on which wines to drink with each food at the various festival booths that are a typically a part of most wine festivals.
3. Sample, Sample, Sample: Take advantage of the fact that so much great wine will be gathered in one location for you to discover. Try things you’ve been reluctant to try before, and ask the winemaker questions about how they made each offering. But also, be smart. When you find yourself in a location with so much wine, it’s tempting to over-do it. So make sure you bring a designated driver, and, make sure you spit wine during your sampling process to ensure you’re always in control.
4. Take Notes: It’s easy to lose track of all the wines you taste at a festival if you don’t take notes! Often the wine festival entry book will include a tasting book, but just in case, bring your own notebook so you can write down notable wines you experienced during the event.
These are just a few basic ideas of how to make the most of a wine festival - but it’s important to note that every festival is a little different. So do your research to find out which festivals hit all of your hot buttons!
For more information see the search results on “wine festivals” below.