Guest Post by Kacey Mya from The Drifter Collective
Summer is almost here, which means that there’s going to be a lot you can do now that you couldn’t do during the winter months. Vacations are a must, but you’ll probably be looking for more low key entertainment too. Towns throw festivals and celebrations for all kinds of reasons during the summer, but if you’re looking for something fun to do for a Saturday afternoon, look no further than your local wine festival.
Wine festivals are perfect for all wine drinkers to attend. Whether you know everything there is to know about grapes and where they’re grown or if you enjoy occasionally grabbing whatever wine is on sale at your grocery store, you’re bound to have a good time at a wine festival. Read up on some essential tips you should know before going to one this summer so you get the most out of your experience.
You may think that because wine enthusiasts are going to be at the festival that you should dress up and make it look like knowing wine is your profession. When was the last time you wore heels to a theme park? Wine festivals don’t have rides, but you’ll still be on your feet all day long, walking around from booth to booth. Wear comfy shoes and clothes, and bring lots of sunscreen. Better to be comfortable than ruin your experience by wearing shoes that pinch or clothes that don’t fit right.
Even if you don’t live in a traffic prone area, you should still think about if you’ll run into traffic on your way to the wine festival and how attendance will affect parking. Some festivals make it easy to figure this out, since you can see on social media how many people are “going” or “interested.” Drive the area the weekend before to see where you can park that’s close enough to walk in case the event parking is full. And always leave a good half hour earlier than you should to prepare for possible traffic.
Every booth will offer dump buckets for you to use when you taste their wine. The idea is to leave the event having tasted some new wines and learned something about them, not to be plastered. Too embarrassed to spit in front of people? You can learn how to spit while wine tasting so you feel better about using the dump bucket before moving on to your next booth.
The worst mistake you could make at a wine festival is to only try the wines you already know about. If you try something new, you won’t be quizzed about it afterwards! In fact, people are expected to venture out from their comfort zone at festivals. It’s why tasting is offered! This summer, travel to an event like the New York City Wine and Food Festival so you know you’re getting good quality wine poured into your glass.
Not only do people expect you to try new wines when you’re at a festival, they also expect you to ask questions too! The people running each booth know their products inside and out. They’ll be able to tell you what went into making the wine you taste and where you can find it in stores. Asking questions won’t make you look like a newbie — everyone is there to learn and have fun.
Have you ever tried a delicious food at a party and left without asking for the recipe? That feeling of regret is something you risk having if you walk away from a booth without grabbing one of their business cards. You won’t know which wines are your favorite until you’ve finished your tastings, and by then you might have forgotten which booth gave you which wine. Take business cards and make notes on the back to help you remember which ones served you a drink you liked and which ones didn’t.
Depending on how long you’re at your wine festival, you might not be good to drive home by the time it ends. It’s always smart to bring along a designated driver to wine festivals just in case! Invite your friend or family member who would love to hang out with you but might not enjoy wine as much, so they’ll still have a great day without feeling like they’re missing out. Or go with someone who likes wine but split the tastings in half so one of you will be ready to drive home when you’re done.
Everyone who drinks knows that if you eat while you’re drinking, you don’t get intoxicated nearly as much or as quickly. Some wine festivals will also have snack tables where you can buy a bit of food to eat as you walk. You can also use the festival as an excuse to eat more carbs, since they help absorb alcohol more than low carb snacks. Cheese and crackers, anyone?
You may not end up having as much time as you’d like to explore the entire festival, so you if you have to have a shorter visit, try to plan out your drinks ahead of time. Look online to see what wines will be offered and make a list of everything you’d like to try. When you get there, you’ll know exactly which booths to visit and which ones you can skip to save time.
Pretzel necklaces are more popular for beer festivals but they’re still just as handy at wine festivals too. You can make your own pretzel necklace and wear it while you walk so you don’t have to hold onto a snack bag or spend extra money while you’re there. Just make sure it’s allowed, so double check the rules on the event’s website or social media so your snack doesn’t get confiscated at the gate.
If you’re looking for something to do this summer, attending a wine festival or two might be exactly what you need. You’ll be able to try new wines and ask questions in a judgement free zone. No judgement or class fees included! Bring along a friend or two to have a great time, just make sure that when you leave at least one of you is sober so you can all get home safely.
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Porch.com, Tripping.com and more!