When most people think about reasons to visit Texas, wine often isn’t near the top of the list. However, the Lone Star State is the fifth largest wine-producing state in the country. Within Texas, the Dallas suburb of Grapevine stands out as—you guessed it—one of the main wine destinations. In addition to an urban wine trail, Grapevine hosts a number of wine festivals, including GrapeFest.
The biggest wine festival in the Southwest, GrapeFest will hold its 33rd annual event on September 12-15, 2019. In addition to featuring a number of outstanding wines from Texas, the festival will offer wines from California’s North Coast and Spain’s La Rioja region.
One of the main events at GrapeFest is the People’s Choice Wine Tasting Classic, the biggest consumer-judged wine competition in the country. Taking place in the People’s Choice tent behind the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau building, the event features more than 100 wines from 39 Texas wineries. Attendees sample as many wines as they want during a 90-minute tasting session and vote for their favorites across 10 categories.
GrapeFest also features various wine pavilions, including the Grapevine Wine Pavilion (which focuses on wines produced in Grapevine), Premium Wine Pavilions (featuring wines from around the world), Champagne Terrace (offering sparkling wine and champagne), and the Liberty Park Plaza Wine Experience (where visitors can sample six 1-oz. tastes from guest wineries).
Another popular event at GrapeFest is the Grape Stomp. Teams of two individuals stomp as much juice as they can out of 18 pounds of grapes for two minutes. The top teams compete for the Purple Foot Award at the Grand Championship StompOff on the final day of the festival. After five consecutive championship victories for team Lam and Jorge Bermeo, it will be interesting to see if a team can break the streak and take home the Purple Foot Award in 2019.
Another competition at GrapeFest is the Steak and Wings Cookoff, an event sanctioned by the Steak Cookoff Association. The two-day competition includes plenty of prize money, including $1,000 for the winner in the steak category each day. The winner also goes on to compete in the SCA World Championship. The subsequent prizes are $500 for second place, $400 for third, $300 for fourth, and $200 for fifth.
In the wings category, the winner takes home $100, and the second and third place finishers receive $75 and $50, respectively. The Steak and Wings Cookoff benefits the Grapevine Shield Foundation, a nonprofit organization that assists the families of firefighters and police officers injured or killed in the line of duty.
Another fun competition at GrapeFest is the Champagne Cork Shoot-Off. Contestants open a champagne bottle, attempting to launch the cork as far as possible from the stand. Winners have shot the cork as far as 109 feet. Anyone can enter the Champagne Cork Shoot-Off free of charge, and the top three contestants take home prizes.
Finally, GrapeFest’s competitions include the Tennis Classic, which includes both adult and junior competitions. Adult players receive a weekend pass to GrapeFest, access to the Player’s Party that Saturday night, and a T-shirt, while junior players also receive a weekend pass to GrapeFest and a T-shirt, as well as admission to the Carnival of Tennis. The Tennis Classic also features men’s and women’s doubles competitions, with more than $4,000 in cash prizes at stake.
GrapeFest also offers plenty of local live music performed on three stages: the Grapevine Mills Main Stage, the Thryv Gazebo Stage, and the Palace Theatre Stage. Further, festivalgoers will find various street entertainers performing on Main Street.
A kid-friendly festival too, GrapeFest includes an area called Kids World as well as a carnival and midway. The festival also includes a marketplace where vendors sell a wide variety of items, including beef jerky, candles, and women’s clothing. In addition to these vendors, the festival brings together local artists who sell handmade artwork spanning a variety of mediums, from painting and woodwork to blown glass and metalwork. Bring your appetite, because the festival will include a diverse array of delicious food items for sale such as crepes, corndogs, mac and cheese balls, and wood-fired pizza.
Before planning your visit to GrapeFest, be sure to check the event website for more details on specific events and wineries that will be present. You can also check for updates on pre-festival events, including the wine pairing dinners held at various restaurants in the area. Last year’s wine pairing dinners took place at several exceptional venues in the area, including Dino’s Steak & Claw House, Chez Fabien, Boi Na Braza, and Mac’s on Main. This year’s wine pairing dinners and festival events will continue the tradition of excellence that GrapeFest has maintained over the last 33 years. To learn more, visit www.grapevinetexasusa.com/grapefest.