Summer’s gone, and with the sudden dip in temperature and eruption of colorful fall foliage reminding us that winter is on the way, there’s nothing better than a wine festival to help cut the chill. Toast autumn with some of North America’s best fall wine festivals.
Niagara Grape & Wine Festival, St. Catharines, Ontario
It’s fitting that Canada’s largest wine-growing region is hosting the biggest wine festival in the country: The Niagara Grape & Wine Festival. There will be over a hundred wineries, 50 hours of live music, food, dancing, parades and more as wine lovers from across North America come to pay homage to the noble grape. Among the highlights of the event are the Discovery Passes. The Passes entitle holders to eight (from a choice of 30 participating wineries) unique wine and culinary experiences that are specially designed by winemakers and chefs to celebrate the harvest. September 14-29, 2019.
Healdsburg Crush, Healdsburg, CA
Enjoy a seasonal harvest festival in the beautiful town of Healdsburg. Guests can stroll through the historic plaza as they sample a variety of limited-production pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling wines, from over 60 vintners. The event will also feature local food vendors, a silent auction and more. All of the proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin. While in town, be sure to check out nearby Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens. During Sept and Oct the winery hosts special outdoor farm-to-table dinners; or just wander the expansive 4-acre culinary gardens and seven wine sensory gardens. Healdsburg Crush October 20, 2019.
Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival, Hawaii
Combine the stunning beauty of Hawaii with the deliciousness of wine and you’ve got heaven! The Ninth Annual Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival begins on Hawaii Island, hops over to Maui for a charity golf tournament, two chef events plus an all-family event, then concludes with five days of programs on O‘ahu. It features an incredible lineup of 110 chefs, 40 winemakers and more than 30 mixologists and all of the participating chefs are asked to use locally sourced goods by farmers, fishermen and purveyors to showcase local ingredients. HFWF was created as a nonprofit to benefit the farmers and create a culinary legacy for the Islands. Since 2011, the festival has given more than $2.5 million to local sustainability, culinary education and agricultural programs. October 5-27, 2019.
Festival of the Grape, Oliver, BC
British Columbia’s temperate climate and unique terroir are what make it one of Canada’s most lauded wine regions and earned it the moniker “Napa of the North.” The festival is in its 23rd year and sees over 4500 guests come out to savor wines from over 40 vintners from the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country. Along with wine tastings, guests can enjoy an art show, food trucks and an artisan market. The signature event is the highly competitive Grape Stomp, which involves 18 teams competing on stage throughout the afternoon to crush the most juice. October 6, 2019.
For winemakers, fall means harvest season and to celebrate the busiest time of the year Napa is abuzz with tons of grape stomping and harvest parties at wineries throughout Napa Valley from September to November. Activities include the chance to be a winemaker for a day, learning how to sort grapes, wine blending classes and more. There’s also plenty of vineyard tours and wine tastings, as well as multi-course meals and harvest parties. You also won’t want to miss the 9th Annual Mexican-American Vintner’s Association Harvest Festival, which is part of the regional festivities.
58th Annual Naples Grape Festival, Naples, NY
The Finger Lakes is one of American’s most exciting (and scenic) wine regions, so don’t miss a chance to enjoy one of the area’s best wine festivals. The event truly is an all-out celebration of everything grape related—be it beverage or food. Enjoy the bounty of the region’s grape harvest, talented artisans, wine makers and local and regional music and cuisine. The highlight has to be the World’s Greatest Grape Pie Contest; after all, Naples is said to be the original birthplace of the tasty dessert. Few other festivals give guests such a grape-to-glass chance to taste the terroir! Sept 21 to 22, 2019.
Nova Scotia Harvest Wine Festival, Nova Scotia
Discover one of Canada’s up-and-coming wine regions! The festival features Nova Scotia wine-focused events at wineries and restaurants across the province. Learn all about the province’s vibrant wine industry with winery tours and tastings, wine-paired dinners and vacation packages. The signature event is the spectacular Grand Tasting, which gathers Nova Scotia’s wineries together for a one-night extravaganza with special vintages paired with locally inspired food stations. September 15–October 31, 2019.
Salud! The Oregon Pinot Noir Auction, Willamette Valley, OR
One of Oregon’s most anticipated wine events is this pinot noir auction that raises healthcare funds for more than 2,500 Oregon vineyard workers and their families each year. Forty of the region’s most esteemed winemakers make a special pinot noir just for the event. Guests can sample all 40 vintages, nibble on fresh foods and bid on cases of the custom wines during the silent auction. This year, the auction runs from November 8 & 9 at Ponzi Vineyards and Domaine Serene.
You don’t want to miss this wine festival held on one of Canada’s most idyllic and bountiful islands. Taste for yourself the wine the lush landscape can yield. The event features local and regional wine, beverage and food producers at the iconic Salt Spring Farmers’ Institute. Guests can also sample regional breweries, cideries and distilleries as they enjoy live music, a silent auction and a whole lot of fun. As the organizers say, it’s a “barn party and fall wine festival smashed together.” October, 19, 2019.
Catch the Crush, Yakima Valley, WA
Yakima Valley’s viticulture has seen a lot of success over the last three decades and its wineries are among the most respected in the Northwest. See what area winemakers are up to with a variety of events spread through the region. Individual wineries will offer lots of activities like grape stomps, special dinners, harvest and crush events, cellar tours, free-run juice, wine tasting and more. There will also be opportunities to get a sneak peek of upcoming vintages. October 12 to 13, 2019. Explore more incredible Washington state wines at other fall events like Fall Release Weekend (Walla Walla Valley), November 1-3, and Wine on the Rock (Bainbridge Island), November 9-10.
Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival, Grand Rapids, MI
Michigan is gaining acclaim as a wine region worth watching so why not see for yourself what the buzz is about at the state’s premier tasting event. Visitors can sample over 1,500 wines, beers, ciders and spirits from the area and around the world. The event also features multi-course pairing dinners, food, live music and more. November 21 to 23, 2019.
Beaujolais Nouveau 2019, Portland, OR
Mais oui! Alliance Francaise Portland’s Annual Beaujolais Nouveau festival, one of the largest of its kind on the West Coast, gives guests a rare chance to imbibe premier Beaujolais. It’s hosted by French-connected vintners and importers, such as Georges Duboeuf, WillaKenzie Estate, Pacific Rim, Ruby Vineyard, Anne Amie, Terroirs Originels and more. The event also features a gourmet buffet of sublime French and American delights, delectable pastries, live music and dance. November 22, 2019.