People have been cultivating wine since as early as 4,000-5,000 years B.C. The first wine festivals were probably held in Greece in honor of Dionysus, Greek god of wine and fruitfulness. Wine was also drank at other types of social gatherings, so it seems that our love for the wine & talk combination spans the millenniums.
Today we have wine festivals all over the world. The US is especially fruitful in this respect, with more than 200 events in the country. They give visitors a chance to relish in familiar and new wine tastes, explore wine labels of the varietals they especially enjoyed, and participate in wine workshops, while traveling to places they might never see otherwise. So, wine festivals are obviously not organized only for wine lovers, but also for all kinds of travelers and adventurers.
The following is Part One of the comprehensive list of all the best wine festivals in the United States, from coast to coast, so if you’re just looking for ideas how to spend your vacation, you might find your match right here.
Boston Wine Festival, January – March 2017
This is the US longest-running wine and food festival, with events being organized every week between January and March at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Winemakers at the festival do their best to come up with appropriate exclusive wines to go with extravagant meals that guests can enjoy.
Sculpture and Wine Festival in Fountain Hills, January 13-15, 2017
Fountain Hills in Arizona is hosting a sculpture and wine festival in January, where visitors will have a chance to sip wine while viewing stunning small, life-sized and monumental sculptures made of bronze, stone, copper, clay, wood, metal, glass, steel, found objects and mixed media. The organizer is partnering up with the International Cancer Advocacy Network, so this festival also has a charity dimension.
Key West Food & Wine Festival, January 25-28, 2017
Hide from January winter on this beautiful tropical island where wine lovers and culinary experts meet to enjoy over 30 diverse events showcasing exquisite wine and exotic cuisine.
Mohegan Sun Wine & Food Fest, January 27-29, 2107
Though it’s primarily a wine and food festival, the Mohegan Sun Fest offers much more. As the organizer claims on their website, it’s a feast for all your senses showcasing over 20 celebrity chefs and winemakers as well as 1,000 wines, craft beers, select spirits and signature dishes from New England’s finest restaurants.
San Antonio Food & Wine Festival, January 27-29, 2017
This is a wine festival with a 30 year long tradition and consists of three events: Wine Opener (which is a black-tie event), Champagne Brunch where wine lovers will get a chance to try out some of the best wines and get advice from winery representatives, and Fine Wine and Cuisine Tasting where guests will sample wine from around the world and savor delicious treats from San Antonio restaurants.
Coastal Virginia Wine Fest, January 28-29, 2017
If you need a pleasant distraction in January, head over to the beautiful Virginia Beach Convention Center and indulge in a two-day festival that includes enjoying wineries, specialty foods, arts and crafts, a grape stomp competition, live entertainment and more.
Portland Seafood & Wine Festival, February 3-4, 2017
The organizers are predicting a fascinating show, with face painters, balloon artists, live music, wines from over 50 Oregon wineries and selected Oregon craft beer vendors, and fresh Oregon seafood. The first 300 people on both days will receive a collectible wine glass!
Clearwater Beach Uncorked, February 2017
There’s no better way to rest from winter than visit the beautiful Florida Gulf Coast beach resort and spa where Uncorked is held. This festival means two days of fabulous food from the area’s best restaurants, over 100 wines from around the world, conversations with wine specialists and brew masters, music, entertainment and fun. What better way to prepare for the Valentine’s Day!
Union Street Has a Crush on You Valentine Wine Walk, February 9, 2017
If you’ve never been to San Francisco, the Valentine Wine Walk is a good excuse to finally visit. It’s an interesting wine tasting event where participants take self-guided tours through restaurants and vendors, and taste wine and hors d’oeuvres.
Lakeridge Winefest, February 10-12, 2017
Lakeridge Wineries and Vineyards in Clermont, Florida, organize this wine festival every year, showcasing the full range of their award-winning table wines, while local artists and crafters entertain guests and display their work.
Masters and Makers at Meritage, February 17-19, 2017
Costly but well worth it, the pass to Masters and Makers wine festival includes grand wine tasting, interactive cooking seminars, winemaking dinner in the Estate Cave, interesting and unexpected pairings of food and wine, a vino and cioccolato experience, and many more fun, educational and unique events.
Seattle Wine & Food Experience, February 24-26, 2017
Get in the crowd of approximately 3,000 who visit this annual Seattle event, and try out the best wines from the Northwest and beyond. You’ll also learn a lot directly from the wine producers, check out artisan food purveyors, top culinary talent and tastemakers serving their latest creations.
South Beach Wine & Food Festival, February 22-26, 2017
This is among Florida’s top food and wine festivals featuring world-class wine and top talent from the culinary and wine industries. More than 65,000 people visit the festival that lasts for five days and features more than 85 events.
Zinfandel Experience, February 23-25, 2017
Fans of the Zinfandel wine variety will enjoy this weekend of sophisticated experiences in three San Francisco locations, where they’ll have the chance to taste hundreds of Zinfandel styles from California, and experience face-to-face tastings with celebrity winemakers.
Charleston Wine + Food Festival, March 1-5, 2017
Here’s a great chance to explore the beautiful Charleston, because you’ll be checking out dinners and tastings at different venues throughout the town and the lowcountry. The festival includes over a hundred events, so you can take your pick. Waiting for food could be longer than for wine, warn the previous visitors – but that is hardly a problem for true wine lovers.
Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival, March 2017
Here’s a 4-day festival in Texas where you can’t bring your kids, except that final day. You’ll enjoy amazing culinary wonders and wine from acclaimed vineyards across the nation, as well as lots of fun outdoors and indoors events. Best of all – this festival has a humanitarian character and all proceeds go to culinary students who lack funds to go to culinary schools.
VinDiego Wine and Food Festival, April 8, 2017
VinDiego is San Diego’s largest “wine only” tasting event where guests have the opportunity to taste hundreds of California’s finest wines, as well as delicious appetizers and food samples, and pair them up for the most satisfying result. This event is a must-see for serious wine fans.
Arizona Wine & Dine, April 2017
Scottsdale is the home of this fabulous feast that showcases Arizona’s best specialty dishes and finest wines from local wineries and microbreweries selected to match the gourmet dishes. Visitors have the chance to watch the food prepared on-site by Arizona restaurants’ top chefs. Live music and other fun events (e.g. auction) complement the show.
Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair, April 5-9, 2017
Sugar Land, just 15 minutes away from Houston, is the place where top chefs meet to trade culinary secrets and thousands of people each year enjoy amazing dishes paired with exquisite wine. Food and wine tastings, interesting seminars, bartender challenges and other fun events will make this 5-day festival pass by too quickly.
Savor Dallas, April 2017
This festival attracts about 5,000 each year. Though not the largest festival in Texas, many people prefer coming to this one, especially those interested in art and architecture, because here they have a chance to sip exquisite wine while strolling amid the beautiful Dallas Arts District.
UNLVino, April 2017
For over 50 years UNLVino has been one of the most interesting wine festivals in Nevada. For three days visitors have the chance to explore different wine, beer and spirit varieties, enjoy fun events and feel good about participating in raising money for hotel administration student scholarships.
Galveston Island Food & Wine Festival, April 17-23, 2017
Events such as premium wine tasting and pairing, champagne brunch, cooking demonstrations, talks with esteemed chefs, music events, and a variety of artisan exhibits make this festival a treat to the taste buds, eyes and ears.
Red River Wine & Beer Festival, April 2017
Every year Wichita Falls in Texas becomes the host of one of the largest wine festivals in the area. Visitors get the chance to taste over 40 different wine varietals, while listening to local bands and exploring other educational and entertaining events during this one-day show.
Midwest Winefest, April 20-22, 2017
Midwest Winefest in Wichita, Kansas is the region’s main wine festival. During these three days, visitors will taste from over 300 delicious wines from all over the country, while strolling through Wichita’s historic Old Town, enjoy the gourmet dinner and wine pairing, participate in the silent auction and more.
Austin Food + Wine Festival, April 28-30, 2017
Here is where some of top culinary chefs on Earth meet to discuss their trade and share their secrets with the visitors. It’s a party all day long throughout the weekend, with live music, grilling demons and wine tasting with the best sommeliers around.
National Harbor Wine & Food Festival, April 2017
The best way to visit Maryland for the first time is to get a ticket for the National Harbor Wine and Food Festival, where you’ll be able to sample of 150 different wines, beers and spirits, as well as talk to world-class chefs and enjoy their cooking demonstrations.
Bern’s Winefest, April 23-30, 2017
Travel to Tampa, Florida in April to celebrate Bern’s Winefest 20th birthday. There’ll be amazing culinary creations and wines from the best chefs and top wineries in the country, as well as a gala six-course dinner, wine workshops, grand tasting event and many other attractions that will make you wish the festival lasted longer than five days.
Charlotte Wine & Food Weekend, April 2017
Forbes ranked this festival one of the top five in 2014, so it’s definitely a must-see for wine lovers. As the organizers claim on their website, the festival “brings together leading winemakers and chefs from around the world to celebrate and advance public knowledge and appreciation for great wine and food, while making significant contributions to charitable organizations that benefit children and their families in the Charlotte community”.
Vegas Uncork’d, April 2017
This ultimate wine and food festival presents: celebrity chefs, expert sommeliers, dozen unique events at Vegas upscale venues, wine seminars, tasting of over 100 wines and food from 60 restaurants, and more.
Pittsburgh Wine Festival, May 2017
What separates this festival from many others is its high price, but many visitors will say it is justified. Pittsburgh Wine Festival is part of a three-part festival that lasts for three days in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. The same wine vendors participate in all three cities.
Wein & Saengerfest, May 2017
Though the name sounds foreign, this is a really entertaining wine and beer fest in New Braunfels, Texas. Admission is free, and wine and beer tastings are not costly, so everyone can visit. Spend the day stomping grapes, watching cooking demonstrations, listening to wine seminars (and good music) and join the city-wide street dance at the end of the show.
Verde Valley Wine Festival, May 13-14, 2017
This is Northern Arizona’s premier wine and culinary festival of the year, presenting the finest Arizona wineries, breweries, viticulture lecturers, live music and art from Clarkdale artists. This year it will be held in the historic Clarkdale Town Park.
Baltimore Wine & Food Festival, May 2017
The organizers claim this festival is about rich flavors, simple pleasures, stylish tastes and the perfect setting. See if this is all true and enjoy sampling over 150 different wines, beers and spirits, and learning tricks from world-class chefs and culinary artists.
Taste of Tribeca, May 2017
If you happen to be in NYC or in the vicinity in May 2017, visit Taste of Tribeca, the premier culinary, wine and street festival in Tribeca. Excellent wine, tasty food, live music and fun events will occupy you the whole day. You can bring children along.
New Orleans Food & Wine Experience, May 2017
New Orleans is the perfect setting for a few days of wine tastings, parade-style strolls, food competitions and seminars, burlesque shows and more fun activities. Serious wine connoisseurs will enjoy grand wine tasting events and talks with top winemakers.
Rockport Festival of Wine & Food, May 27-28, 2017
What started as an annual fundraiser for the Texas Maritime Museum turned into an entertaining fundraising event + wine and food festival that attracts over 2,500 visitors from more than 25 states each year. People can enjoy wine tasting events, lectures, good food, live music and more.
Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival, June 2017
Enjoy live music, food & wine pairings, cooking kitchen seminars and more fun under tents that the Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival organizers guarantee to visitors. Everyone can bring their own non-alcoholic drinks and snacks for the day, but even if you don’t, you won’t stay hungry (or thirsty)!
Union Street Festival, June 3-4, 2017
This is a traditional San Francisco wine and food festival that runs for two days every June and allows visitors to walk around six blocks “decorated” to fit these inventive titles: Culinary World, Fashion World, Tech World, Craft World, Local World and Health & Fitness World. Obviously, you can see different things in each of these “worlds”, including cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts, fashion shows, and more.
Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, June 16-18, 2017
Don’t miss this widely praised culinary event in Colorado that gathers top chefs, wine experts and other food & wine aficionados who spend the weekend talking, cooking, eating and relishing in this world-class gastronomic experience.
Soon we’ll follow up with Part Two of this series where we’ll present the best wine festivals that are held in the United States between July and Decembar. Until then, enjoy choosing your next wine tasting destination from this list.