While painful to write, indeed fall is fast approaching. Fortunately, post-Labor Day travel also coincides with shoulder season rate drops as kids head back to school and adults return to work full time on Fridays. That makes the months of September, October, and November ideal for indulging in wine festivals around the country. Here are five under-the-radar events sans crowds and without the need, just yet, for winter coats.
Imbibe for a cause at Finger Lakes Cork and Fork – Seneca Falls, New York
Can you join the fight against hunger in the Finger Lakes by drinking wine? Yes! September’s Cork and Fork festival in Seneca Falls celebrates local food and wine while supporting food pantries. Two exhibition halls will feature food and wine tastings, cooking seminars and chef demonstrations, all set to live music. Dates: September 14-15, 2019.
Texas Grapefest invites kids and grown-ups to play – Grapevine, Texas
Once in a while, organizers of a wine festival recognize the importance of family by including kids in the celebration. At Texas Grapefest, set to the aptly named lakeside town of Grapevine, families can hang together while sampling a plethora of Texas wines. Consumers get in on the judging, too, as Grapefest hosts the largest consumer-judged wine competition in America. Another fun event: the family-oriented GrapeStomp, where two-person teams stomp around 18 pounds of grapes to see who presses the most juice. Dates: September 12-15, 2019.
Meet stars of the James Beard Awards at Newport Beach Wine & Food – Newport Beach, California
The highly-regarded Newport Beach Wine & Food festival in Southern California returns for its sixth year in early October. The four-day fest offers consumers a unique opportunity to mingle with James Beard award winners and celebrity chefs while sampling some of California’s best wines. Participating wineries include The Mascot, Realm, and Hundred Acre. Notably, this year’s festival will feature rare vertical library tastings from Opus One and JUSTIN Isosceles, as well as a Cult Wines of Napa seminar that will explore ‘renegade’ Cabernet varietals from Hundred Acre, Schrader, Morlet, Ovid, Melka, and Fairchild, as relayed by the winemakers themselves. Other event highlights include a progressive lunch through Newport Coast luxury estates, the Fire It Up waterfront barbecue, and the Grand Tasting. Dates: October 3-6, 2019.
Enjoy island wining and dining at Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival – Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
This flagship food and wine festival on Martha’s Vineyard, or MVF&W, celebrates the Island’s long tradition of fishing and farming through invitations to meet local producers. Talent includes farmers, oyster growers, fishermen, and artisans, plus guest chefs and winemakers from around the world. Dates: October 23-27, 2019.
A red, white and sparkling celebration at the 29th Seaside Seeing Red Wine Festival – Seaside, Florida
Set to the relaxed ambience of Florida’s panhandle, the 29th Seaside Seeing Red Wine Festival starts up again in November. Four ticketed events include the Vintner Dinner, Al Fresco Wine Tasting, Grand Tasting in Seaside’s Central Square, and the Celebration of Bubbles Brunch for fizz fanatics. Dates: November 7-10, 2019.