A wine festival for the novice and the expert

Vermont Wine and Harvest Festival has something for everything

Vermont Wine and Harvest Festival
Andrew Bender tries some Cabernet Franc from Linda Livingstone at the East Shore Vineyard booth during the 2010 Vermont Wine and Harvest Festival at Mount Snow Resort. Brattleboro Reformer File Photo

By Sophie Gaddes

Sometimes, after a long day at work, it can be nice to put your feet up and relax on the couch with a big glass of wine, but how many of us have stopped and savored that first sip?

If you feel that you haven’t been properly appreciating your chardonnays, or even if you’re a sommelier who already can smell the difference between pinot grigios, the 11th Vermont Wine and Harvest Festival might be for you.

The three-day festival, sponsored by the Southern Vermont Deerfield Valley Chamber of Commerce and Mount Snow Resort, is for wine experts and novices, according to Executive Director Eric Durocher.

“The vintners and the distilleries coming do a really good job of catering to people who may be a little more experienced in tasting wine, but they also do a good job of educating people,” he said.

The festival kicks off Sept. 20 with the Wine and Soup Stroll in Wilmington. (Yes, you read that right: wine and soup. An unusual combination, no?)

“I’m not really sure how that piece came about,” Durocher said. “The soup was just a way for us to feature our local chefs and restaurants.”

Whatever the reason, festivalgoers are free to soak up the sights of the village while sampling wine from vintners based in the Deerfield Valley and soup from restaurants such as North Star Pizza and Anchor Seafood. In addition, the event also gives exposure to jewelers, cheesemakers and other craftsmen.

After the stroll, participants can let their hair down at the Wilmington Inn’s after-party, where they vote on which wine was their favorite.

The festivities continue Sept. 21 at the Grand Tasting at Mount Snow in West Dover. The tented event features 70 vendors, including 20 distilleries and wineries, such as Honora Winery in Jacksonville and Shelburne Vineyard in Shelburne.

“It’s great marketing,” said Kate Dodge, owner of Putney Mountain Winery, which participates in the festival annually. This year, it will be bringing a dry blueberry wine and a cranberry wine.

“And we make some money. That’s important!,” Dodge said, adding that, because of the festival, the winery is able to reach a wider audience as well as interact with other wineries.

Hannah Greene, the chamber’s events and membership coordinator, said festivalgoers travel from as far as Texas and California to attend, though many participants are from New England.

“The event brings in a lot of visitors and second-home owners that wouldn’t normally be coming up,” said Jamie Storrs, spokesperson for Mount Snow.

Festivalgoers looking to take a break or just looking to enjoy the fall foliage can take a scenic ride to the mountain’s summit on the Bluebird lift.

Participants also can pair their drinks with goods from specialty food producers like True North Granola, a granola company based in Battleboro.

“We nearly sold out last year, leaving with just two bags of products,” said Ingrid Chrisco, owner of True North Granola.

Tickets are $25 per day, until Sept. 16, when the price increases to $30.

Durocher said that the three-day festival’s primary purpose is to celebrate the vendors in Vermont.

“The Chamber is trying hard to do stuff for the community,” said Janice Stuart, Honora Winery winemaker and brewer. “It’s nice to be part of something so local.” 

Vermont Wine and Harvest Festival
Harry Gorman pours 100 percent milk sugar vodka for people to taste at the Vermont Spirits booth at the 2010 Vermont Wine and Harvest Festival. Brattleboro Reformer File Photo

If you go…

11th Vermont Wine and Harvest Festival

Wilmington and West Dover, Vt.
Information: 802-464-8092, thevermontfestival.com
Tickets: visitvermont.ticketspice. com/2019-wine-and-harvest-festival

Friday, Sept. 20

Wine and Soup Stroll

Various locations, Wilmington, Vt.
5-7 p.m.
Friday night begins with a wine- and souptasting stroll through the historic village of Wilmington. Soups from 20-plus vendors. A stroll passport is required to taste the soup during the stroll. Tickets are $25 per person; $30 after Sept. 16. Soup-only tickets (no wine) are $18 in advance, $22 after Sept. 16. A limited number of tickets for ages 2 to 20 are available for $10.

Saturday, Sept. 21

Grand Tasting

Mount Snow, West Dover, Vt.
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Grand Tasting featuring 70 vendors, including 20 wineries and distilleries. $25 in advance; $30 at the gate (ticket price includes a commemorative wine glass, tasting tickets and commemorative festival booklet). Designated-driver tickets (no alcohol, wine glass or tasting tickets) are $15 in advance; $20 at the gate. $10 for festival tent access for attendees ages 13 to 20.

Sunday, Sept. 22

Vermont Wildlife Festival

Mount Snow Resort, West Dover, Vt.10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The festival, which is admission by donation, features a wide variety of attractions by representatives of hunting and conservation communities, wildlife rescues, state agencies and nature centers.

Sophie Gaddes is a senior at Williams College majoring in English. This summer, Sophie interned at The Berkshire Eagle, where she wrote primarily for the Business section. Her work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer and Williams’ online publication HerCampus. In her spare time, Sophie enjoys reading true crime stories, playing video games with her friends and journaling.

Vermont Country magazine

Vermont Country has a hyperlocal focus on the Green Mountain lifestyle, its personalities, events, attractions and culture. The magazine appears six times a year, designed to complement the state and four-season living. VtCo magazine is a Southern Vermont publication of Vermont News & Media.

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