Want the perfect recipe for summer fun? Just add local wine to live music and balmy breezes, and ta-da! Wine Enthusiast searched the nation for concert venues set among the vines and discovered these wine-fueled music festivals you must check out. From family-friendly affairs to multiday events, there’s something for everybody. Go ahead, add them to your calendar.
This weekend, enjoy two days of wine and music that comprise one of California’s coolest festivals, Huichica, which started in 2010 as a collaboration between vintner Jeff Bundschu and musician Eric Johnson. See a variety of renowned indie and folk acts that include Gap Dream and Sonny & The Sunsets on three stages while sipping Gundlach Bundschu estate wines. Don’t miss an ice-cold Gewürztraminer paired with a snack from local eateries KronnerBurger, Bicycle Banh Mi or Q Craft Barbecue. Tickets are $85 for the weekend, or $40 for Friday and $55 for Saturday.
Every other Saturday night throughout the summer (June 27–Sept. 12), dance outdoors at one of California’s most iconic vineyards, nestled in the heart of the Alexander Valley. Learn to salsa or swing dance at the winery’s performance pavilion at 6 pm, followed by live music until 10 pm, including the Pacific Mambo Orchestra. Naturally, there’s plenty of wine and food available for purchase at the Pool Café. Tickets are $20 for swing, $30 for salsa. Bonus: There’s also free live music from 6–8 pm every Friday at the Pool Café until Aug. 28.
Wine lovers should mark their calendars for Newport Vineyards’ Jazz Clambake. Falling in between the Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival, the party ensures there’s quality music for Rhode Islanders all summer long. On July 30, guests at the glitzy winery (which recently completed a multimillion-dollar facelift) can enjoy sips of the winery’s some 30 varieties at a pre-dinner tasting, plus snack on seafood chowder and relax to the tunes of the Lois Vaughan Trio. At sunset, a traditional seafood dinner will be served for $70 per person ($60 if you skip the lobster). It includes local seafood favorites like clams and mussels cooked over hot rocks and seaweed. If you can’t make the clambake, the winery hosts a live music showcase every Saturday during the summer, starting at 1 pm.
Washington State’s oldest winery has hosted headlining acts during its Summer Concert Series since 1984, so it knows a thing or two about putting on a good show. Chateau Ste. Michelle’s hotly anticipated 2015 season should be stellar. The lineup includes Gregg Allman, Sheryl Crow and the Gipsy Kings (check the winery’s Web site for additional bands and ticket prices). Guests can bring picnic baskets packed with snacks (no alcohol), or food is available for purchase from select Northwest vendors. Columbia Valley pours are on sale from the wine shop, open to ticketholders until intermission.
Visitors can mix, mingle and make merry in the vines with Dutton-Goldfield’s grape growers and winery staff at the Summer Soirée on Aug. 15, from noon–3 pm. In addition to a whole roast pig sourced from Devil’s Gulch Ranch and other local bites to accompany pours of the winery’s top Pinot Noirs, Santa Rosa band Da Puna Bruddahs will perform traditional Hawaiian music. Tickets are $25 for Wine Club members, $50 for nonmembers.
New York City
Grab a glass of refreshing sangria (or wine pulled from 11 taps) and soak up some music in the sun this summer. Each Tuesday through Aug. 25, the half-winery, half-event space hosts a free outdoor music and wine festival. A diverse roster of rock, jazz and folk musicians will hit the stage from 5–7:30 pm. Perfect for refueling after work, there will be bites on offer from Great Performances’ Mae Mae Café and a variety of beers.
Paso Robles, CA
Now in its third year, the Vina Robles Amphitheatre offers an intimate live music experience for wine-loving guests (the farthest seat is purportedly just 150 feet from the stage). Headliners for 2015 include performances by Grace Potter, Dashboard Confessional and Willie Nelson. In addition to Vina Robles estate wines available by the glass and bottle, there are show-themed dinners for premium seating patrons and pairing recommendations for local and seasonal concessions. Fun fact: Concertgoers can feel good about food and beverage purchases, as all items are compostable or recyclable.
Bring the kids to the Starry Night Concert Series this summer, located at the base of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Grab seats on the grass or buy tickets for a buffet dinner on the lawn, singing along to family-friendly Motown classics from Jimi Smooth or Beatles cover band Abbey Road (check the Web site for the musical lineup). Tickets are $20 and include a Veritas wine glass. Children under 10 get in free.
Santa Fe, TX
Bring lawn chairs and wine glasses to this scenic, family-run winery, located about an hour by car from Houston. Weekend concerts include performances by local musicians like the Mambo Jazz Kings, Zydeco Joe and the Cypress Creek Band (cover is just $5). There’s plenty of Texas wine to try, too, like bottlings made from the hybrid grape Blanc du Bois, along with filling Southern fare. The winery is known for its burgers, charcuterie plates and fried chicken fritters served with housemade Bourbon barbecue sauce.
Don’t miss the Black Dog Music and BBQ Festival at this hillside vineyard on Aug. 8, from noon–6 pm. In addition to a Kansas City Barbecue Society Competition, there’ll be live music by Kopecky and The Alternate Routes. Ticket prices ($20 per person) include a winery tour, a tasting of Virginia wines and a souvenir glass. Not drinking? Designated drivers can get in for $15. Dogs on a leash are welcome to tag along