From pinot noir to merlot, wine aficionados are always searching for a new venue to sip on the esteemed, unusual, rare, and cutting-edge. Luckily, for those who love to swish and swirl, you can celebrate classic wines and sample new ones at a number of wine festivals all around the country. From grape stomping in Texas to clinking glasses with celebrities in Aspen, you’ll want to adorn your sommelier hat at these vinous events across the U.S.
International Pinot Noir Celebration
Set in the small town of McMinnville, Oregon, roughly an hour southwest from Portland, the International Pinot Noir Celebration doesn’t mince words with its title. This is a festival for lovers of pinot noir. If you aren’t a fan of the varietal, you might want to give it a miss. Held every July for over 30 years, this festival honors not just Oregon’s wine country but also pinot noirs from around the world. The 3-day event brings in renowned winemakers for seminars, tastings, winery tours, and even meals. The itinerary of events includes a legendary Salmon Bake where northwest cuisine shines just like the wine.
Food & Wine Classic
The Food & Wine Classic brings in around 5,000 attendees across 3 days in late June to the idyllic mountain town of Aspen in Colorado. You can experience cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and panels led by famed chefs and wine experts. While the festival is a top culinary event, wine aficionados who do find flight deals to Aspen won’t be disappointed; about 10,000 bottles are uncorked at the Food & Wine Classic. This might be the wine festival for those who want to see and be seen. It usually draws celebrities, foodies, and world-renowned winemakers. While most of the wine tasting events are in hotels and city parks around Aspen, the main spot for the festival is the Grand Tasting Pavilion in Wagner Park.
While you might not associate Texas with wine, the Lone Star state puts on quite the wine festival in the appropriately named town of Grapevine, located between Dallas and Fort Worth. Held every September across 4 days, Grapefest has become the largest wine festival in the Southwest. You can sip on fine wines from Texas, along with bottles from all over the world. The festival includes several famed events like the People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic, the largest consumer-judged wine tasting competition in the country. You can also channel your inner Lucy (from I Love Lucy) at the festival’s GrapeStomp, where two-person teams stomp 18 pounds of grapes for 2 minutes. Those who make the most juice in their two minutes advance to championship rounds.
California Wine Festival
California is home to arguably the country’s most esteemed bottles on the world stage. If you want to celebrate California wine throughout the calendar year, there’s a wine festival for you. The California Wine Festival is really several festivals rolled into one title. Showcasing California wines, the festival is actually hosted in several cities in the state throughout the year. In addition to sampling hundreds of California vintage wines, the festival also brings fine food and music to its various locales. Most wine lovers congregate in Santa Barbara, one of the facets of the festival, to experience one of the state’s largest outdoor wine tasting events.
Have you been to wine tasting events or wine festivals that suited your palate? Share your favorite wine-related events with us in the comments section!