The Best Summer and Fall Wine Festivals of 2018

Festivals around the world celebrate what’s in your glass with food, music and, of course, wine.
Music To Your Mouth festival, Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina / Bonjwing Lee

Whether enjoyed during a family meal or sipped while catching up with old friends, wine has an ability to bring people together.

On a larger scale, thousands of people flock to wine festivals each year to learn more about and celebrate their favorite wine. Here are some of our favorite wine and food festivals from California to South Africa to help you celebrate and gain a deeper appreciation for what’s in your glass, and taste with like-minded souls.

Rosé Mansion Max Flatow
Rosé Mansion, New York City / Max Flatow

Rosé Mansion | New York City

July–October

Get to know this pretty pink wine through the Instagram-worthy Rosé Mansion. The exhibit takes viewers through 14 different rooms that show the history, science and economics behind this trendy beverage, running July through October.

Throughout the interactive exhibits, there are opportunities for guests to enjoy eight samples of rosé. Participants are encouraged to partake in the various photo opps, which include swinging from a giant chandelier and a bath filled with rose petals. One of the rooms has a blending lab, where guests can create their own personal rosé.

The experience ends in the Grand Tasting Lounge, where visitors are able to purchase, either by glass or bottle, from the largest selection of rosés in the U.S.

Soweto Wine & Lifestyle Festival | Johannesburg, South Africa

September 1–2

On September 1–2 is the Soweto Wine & Lifestyle Festival. Started by two neighbors, Lynn Woodward and Mnikelo Mangciphu during a backyard braai, the event is now in its thirteenth year. Guests can expect days full of food from cutting edge chefs, travel exhibitions and samples of some of the Cape’s best wine. Last year’s wine exhibitors included Kings Kloof, Mont Du Toit Wines and Freedom Hill Wines.

WineFest | Mt. Laurel, New Jersey

September 15–16

Held on September 15–16 is southern New Jersey’s WineFest. This year, the event will include tastings from 10 New Jersey wineries, four stages of live music and entertainment, and a beer garden featuring Brotherton Brewing Company. There will also be over 70 local crafters and vendors, alongside many local eateries like Flamin’ Foods, Star of the Sea Seafood and Upper Crust Pizza & Italian Restaurant. But this event isn’t just for adults. Children 14 and under get in for free and there’s a kid’s concert as well as pony rides.

Kendall-Jackson Harvest Celebration, Sonoma County, California / Drew Altizer

Kendall-Jackson Harvest Celebration | Fulton, California

September 30

On September 30, Kendall-Jackson’s Sonoma county estate is home to this day of festivities that covers everything from truffle hunting to barrel making. There are also guided walks through estate’s extensive culinary gardens, which are tended to by their resident farmer, Tucker Taylor. In between bites from local chefs like James Beard Award-winning Douglas Keane, wine lovers can attend seminars given by the company’s Winemaster Randy Ullom, including a special interactive session on wine blending.

Fans of Kendall-Jackson’s long-running heritage tomato festival should not despair; there are still hundreds of tomato varieties on hand for sampling. The celebration’s proceeds benefit the UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County.

Fall Release Weekend | Walla Walla Valley, Washington

November 2–4

Celebrate the end of harvest by being on the first to try newly released wines from the Walla Walla Valley during The Fall Release Weekend, which runs from November 2–4. Many wineries, such as Plumb Cellars, will be hosting tastings and live music. Prices vary.

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California Wine Festival | Huntington Beach, California

November 9–10

Sip on premium wines while enjoying ocean views at this year’s California Wine and Food Festival-Huntington Beach, taking place November 9–10 at the Paséa Hotel & Spa.

On the first day, the Sunset Rare & Reserve wine tasting will feature rare bottles, top chefs serving hot and cold appetizers and live jazz music. On the second day, guests can relax at the hotel’s beachside location while hundreds of California wines are served, alongside brews from regional microbrewies, food vendors and listen to live music.

The Southern Supper Club at the Music To Your Mouth festival, Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina / Photo by Bonjwing Lee
The Southern Supper Club at the Music To Your Mouth festival, Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina / Bonjwing Lee

Music To Your Mouth | Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina

November 15–18

Hosted annually by Palmetto Bluff, in the heart of South Carolina’s Lowcountry, the four-day Music To Your Mouth (MTYM) event showcases a range of chefs, vintners, brewers, distillers and musicians from across the region to show the South’s unique culture and cuisine.

Annual event staples include the Culinary Salon: Bourbon and Bacon Cruise, Kiss the Pig oyster roast, Hair of the Dog 5K and Southern Supper Club, as well as a number of educational classes and parlor talks. This year, over 50 winemakers will participate along with 32 chefs and an assortment of local craftspeople when festivities kick off on November 16th.

Additionally, two wine-centric Culinary Salons will take place. The first, Tasting With The Masters, will be led by master sommeliers Andrew McNamara of Breakthru Beverage Group, Emily Pickral of Spire Collection, and Craig Collins of Vintus. Another talk, Exploring American Chardonnay, will be hosted by James Beard Award-winning sommelier-turned-winemaker Rajat Parr, James Beard Award-winning wine writer Jordan Mackay and co-founder of Lingua Franca, Larry Stone.

Of the nearly four-dozen producers represented, look for notable bottlings from Paul Hobbs, Kistler, Revana and Peter Michael.

Published on August 10, 2018
Topics: Festivals



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