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Top Wine Events for Consumers in 2017

If your 2017 resolution was to do more or drink more, this is the list for you. That’s right. These are the wine events where you can feel right at home swallowing, rather than having to spit that good stuff out into a receptacle (and risk splashback, a real and present danger). These are also the events where you won’t break the bank buying a ticket.

February

Rieslingfeier (2/18, New York) – One of the newest events on the circuit, Rieslingfeier (“a celebration of Riesling”) is a showcase of German wines. For just $30 a ticket, guests have the opportunity to interact with German and Austrian winemakers, and sample their limited releases. Wineries in attendance include DönnhoffLeitzSelbach-OsterVon Winning, and more.
SF Chronicle Wine Competition Public Tasting (2/18, San Francisco) – With over 7,000 entries from across the U.S., the SF Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest in the world. The wines are judged via the “West Coast-style”, which is a double-blind process that also allows judges to compare and discuss the wines with one another prior to a final decision. For just $70, the public has the opportunity to taste through the winners, announced Jan. 13, 2017.

South Beach Wine & Food Festival (2/22-26, Miami Beach) – Where else can you sample food from over 50 restaurants while rocking out to beats DJ’d by Ingrosso, and then attend a yoga session afterwards? SOBEWFF programming offers something for pretty much every interest. Guests can indulge their inner wine-o, engage in a food fight hosted by Guy Fieri, or attend a clambake hosted by Bobby Flay at this 5-day event.

March

Charleston Wine + Food (3/1-5, Charleston) – For a taste of the South, Charleston Wine and Food is your place to go. Guests can indulge in signature tastings from local James Beard Award-winning chefs, attend a BBQ carnival from champion pitmaster John Lewis, see local sommeliers face off in a “Sumo Sommelier” competition, and more.
Wine Roads Barrel Tasting Weekend (3/3-5 and 3/10-12, Sonoma) – It’s not often that we have the opportunity to sample wines straight from the barrel. Each year, wineries along the Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Russian River Valley open up their doors for just that. At a mere $50 for the entire weekend, guests will have the opportunity to taste and then purchase wine “futures” that they can pick up in 12-18 months, often at a discount. Sounds like a win to us!
San Francisco Vintners Market (3/11-12, San Francisco) – If you’ve ever wished you could try a wine before you buy it, this is your event. Specifically designed with wine purchases in mind, this annual event is one of the few where over 200 wineries sampling their wines are also carrying enough inventory to sell. Tickets range from $80-150, based on the price points of the wines sampled.

Pebble Beach Food & Wine (3/31 – 4/3, Monterey, CA) – If tasting in an idyllic setting is your thing, check out Pebble Beach Food & Wine. Each year, the incredibly scenic Pebble Beach brings over 100 sommeliers and 250 winemakers to the California Coastline. Last year’s event included culinary discussions, a barbecue with Guy Fieri, and the opportunity to dine with Cat Cora. This year’s tickets start at $100.

April

Vegas Uncork’d (4/27-4/30, Las Vegas) – 2017 is the 10 year anniversary for Uncork’d, so expect this year’s festivities to be even bigger and better than ever. While the schedule is yet to be released, early hints include a 5-course meal from Michelin-starred Guy Savoy paired with Krug prestige cuvees, dining in the dark at Bacchanal Buffet, and a cocktail academy ending in a Hubert Keller brunch. Tickets go on sale January 31st.
Austin Food + Wine Festival (4/28-4/30, Austin) – If you think Austin equates to barbecue, think again. From a Rock Your Taco competition to night market cuisine at Lone Star Nights, this three day fest is a celebration of all things culinary. Alongside the eats, Master Sommeliers Devin Broglie and Craig Collins will be on hand to educate, pour, and pair. Tickets start at $250.

BottleRock Napa Valley (5/26-28, Napa) – You can have your cake and eat it too. BottleRock gives concertgoers a curated Napa tasting room experience. Rather than a typical festival experience where wines are poured in the same way across dozens of stalls, guests can experience each wine in a setting designed by the winery itself, from the decor down to the flooring. Bonus: on top of the already star-studded lineup (this year’s includes Maroon 5 and the Foo Fighters), guests can witness mashup performances from Michelin chefs. In 2015, the surprise hit was Iron Chef Morimoto teaching Snoop Dogg how to roll sushi. 3 day tickets are already sold out, but individual day tickets still remain.

June

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival (6/1-4) – While this year’s event details are yet to be released, Southern food lovers are sure to find favor in this three day feast. Last year’s affair featured creative tastings with a Southern flair, such as Champagne with Louisiana-style seafood, crab cakes and wine, or a flight of wines matched with comfort foods like mac ‘n’ cheese and MoonPies. Tickets are not yet on sale.

August

Epcot Wine & Food Festival (8/31-11/13, Orlando) – The most shared event on Facebook is a wine festival held at.. you guessed it — Disneyland. Why is it the most shared event? As a child-friendly event, perhaps it finally gives parents a reprieve from days of theme park rides in a setting that their kid will still enjoy. The festival also boasts an insane amount of food; so much so that the Disney blog recommends planning in advance or picking out one section of food to try. Tickets aren’t onsale yet, but stay tuned for updates.

October

Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting (October 2017, San Francisco) – If a tasting through a high quantity of best-in-class wines is your objective, the Top 100 Tasting is your event. The event allows guests to taste through most of the annual list of the Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Top 100 wines. It’s a great opportunity to sample the latest vintages from the big names (Penfolds Grange, Stag’s Leap, etc), or discover new winemakers such as El Enemigo or J. Christopher. Tickets go on sale early September.

NYC Wine & Food Festival (10/12-15, New York City) – The largest food and wine festival in NYC turns 10 this year, so expect extra celebrations to be planned. While the lineup is yet to be released, the event will take place across the Big Apple. Guests who want to forgo the traditional tented tasting experience can buy into individual sections of the event, such as a Koreatown-inspired k-pop party, a “Midnight in Paris” sweets session from Dominique Ansel, or an intimate dinner with David Bouley.

November

San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival (11/13-19, San Diego) – The cool thing about this fest is that it truly caters to both foodies and wine enthusiasts. Guests who want to geek out with industry professionals can buy a ticket to a SommCon(R) tasting, which happens to occur at the same time. Those who are more interested in wine paired with food from celebrity chefs can purchase tickets to the Grand Tasting. While this year’s activities are yet to be released, the event promises to include a diverse range of tastings, wine dinners, and classes.

These are the major wine events to have on your radar that are still affordable and accessible to large numbers of people. We’ll continue to add to this list as we hear about more events throughout the year. Have an event you think should be here? Send us a tip!

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