Celebrate Texas wine and participate in the People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic at the 35th Annual GrapeFest, presented by Bank of the West on September 16 – 19. This year’s theme, Texas Wine: Come and Taste It! invites you to sip your way through delicious wines from Texas.
One of the signature and most popular GrapeFest events, The People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic, is the largest consumer-judged wine competition in the United States and features more than 30 Texas wineries pouring more than 130 wines. The competition offers eleven 90-minute sessions throughout the weekend, with wines being judged in 10 categories. Winners are announced and awards are presented on Sunday, September 19 at 5 p.m. in the People’s Choice Pavilion at its new location in the Cotton Belt Railroad District (705 S. Main St.). Cheese offered at this event is donated by Southwest Dairy Farmers. This is a separate ticketed event. Tickets are $23 in advance. Starting at 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 16 tickets will be $25. Guests must be 21+ to enter.
New this year is a VIP two-hour tasting on Thursday, September 16 at 5 p.m. for $45 per ticket. This event includes light hors d’oeuvres and a souvenir wine glass.
As the fifth-largest wine producing state in the United States, the Lone Star State’s sunny, dry climate has is ideal for wine production. The first vineyard established in North America began deep in the heart of Texas. In 1662 Franciscan priests planted the first vines, followed by European settlers who planted grapevine cuttings and further developed the Texas wine industry through the 1800s. Today Texas is home to more than 4,000 acres of producing vineyard farmland across diverse wine-growing regions.
The state boasts eight American Viticultural Areas (AVA): Texas High Plains, Escondido Valley, Texas Hill Country, Bell Mountain, Fredericksburg, Mesilla Valley, Texas Davis Mountains and Texoma. Harvest time in Texas is normally around the end of July, two months earlier than in California and three months earlier than most of the wine regions in France.
Texas has 310 wineries that range from small producers who concentrate on tourism for the majority of their sales to large wineries who have developed state, national and international markets. The Texas wine industry contributes more than $1.83 billion in economic impact.
Texas wineries participating in GrapeFest include: Descarado Winery, Landon Winery, Valle della Pace Vineyards & Winery, Llano Estacado Winery, Rancho Loma Vineyards, Tara Vineyard & Winery, LLC, Red Road Vineyard Winery, 4R Ranch Vineyards & Winery, Silver Dollar Winery, Bingham Family Vineyards, Messina Hof Winery, Checkered Past Winery, O’Farrell Country Vineyards, Firelight Vineyards, Lost Oak Winery, Lucky Vines Vineyard & Winery, Bluff Dale Vineyards, Deschain Cellars, Blue OStrich Winery & Vineyard, Haak Vineyards and Winery, Watson Vineyard, Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards, White Fox Vineyards, Four I’s Winery, Bull Lion Ranch & Vineyard and Domaine des Hospitalieres LLC/ H-Wines.
The 35th Annual GrapeFest opens on Thursday, September 16 at 11 a.m. Admission for everyone is free all day on Thursday. Festival hours are Thursday, September 16 from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday, September 17 from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Saturday, September 18 from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; and Sunday September 19 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Admission prices are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors (62+) and children (6-12). Admission is free for children 5 and under. Credit cards and cash will be accepted at booths and various locations throughout the festival. Paper coupons will be used throughout the festival for various purchases and activities. For more information, call the Grapevine Convention & Visitors
Bureau at 817-410-3185 or visit GrapeFest.com.