The Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival, on September 21 through 23, is picking up where it left off two years ago. The festival was not held in last fall as a result of the damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene.
On Friday night, September 21, the festival preview tasting of Vermont wines and cheeses ties in with the village stroll, featuring live entertainment and the Great Vermont Soup Tasting Contest in the center of Wilmington.
On Saturday and Sunday, September 22 and 23, the festival events, many more wine tastings, exhibitors, and all-day live entertainment, shift to Mount Snow, where a huge tented area is tucked in beside the landmark clock tower building, nestled under the ridgelines of the Green Mountain National Forest. At night, wine festival dinners take place in two of Dover’s most popular restaurants, Dover Forge Restaurant and The Matterhorn Inn, and Haystack Golf Club is hosting an elegant evening of festival wine and cheese pairings.
“Our festival is totally under tents at Mount Snow resort and people have the pleasure of being able to go from tasting excellent local wines and regional cuisines to enjoying the Vermont fall foliage right here,” says Cheryl LaFlamme, one of the event coordinators. In her role as president of the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce, she’s been working elbow-to-elbow with Adam Grinold, the chamber’s executive director to build the reputation of the festival, which began five years ago.
The Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival has earned a coveted designation as one of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s Top Ten Fall Events and is listed as a US Top 100 Event by the American Bus Association. Grinold says, “The recognition and accolades that the Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival has already received is exciting. Being listed as a ‘Top Ten Fall Event’ by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce brings so much attention to the fact that the festival is a significant draw for out-of-state visitors as well as a quality, community-organized event with a longstanding commitment to continue it for years to come. The national recognition as a ‘US Top 100’ event is important because it’s something that will attract American and Canadian motorcoach tour operators to the Mount Snow Valley.”
Steve Cook, deputy commissioner of Vermont tourism and marketing, says, “I’ve been to many wine festivals throughout New England and the northeast region, and I can tell you that the setting at Mount Snow is unlike any others I’ve seen. Wine tasting events are usually held in beautiful locations, but at Mount Snow, there’s not only the festival, but easy access to outdoor recreation, historic sites, the arts, and beautiful Vermont villages right in the same place.”
There will be 17 Vermont wineries, in addition to several other spirits producers and at least one brewer. There will also be many of Vermont’s well-known specialty food producers, as well as fine artisans and artists.
“I am at the Wine and Harvest Festival every year,” says Mary Hegarty Nowlan, editor of Vermont Life magazine, the sponsoring partner for the festival. “It’s not just because of my work, but because it’s very much a personal interest of mine to learn as much as I can about the wines and foods that are produced in the state. Vermont is famous for that.”
On Friday evening, September 21, the wine tastings are $7 per person. The Village Stroll on Friday evening, which features the mouth-watering Vermont Soup Contest, is free.
On Saturday and Sunday, September 22 and 23, at Mount Snow resort, admission is $12 per person, or $20 for a two-day pass. The tickets include the official festival wine glass and a specified number of tastings. Most of the festival events require no advance purchase of tickets or reservations; however, the wine pairings dinner and wine and cheese party require reservations.
Participating Vermont wineries, distillers, and brewers include Boyden Valley Winery, Cambridge; Caledonia Spirits and Winery, Hardwick; Champlain Orchards, Shoreham; East Shore Vineyard, Grand Isle; Grand View Winery, East Calais; Honora Winery and Vineyard, Jacksonville; Lincoln Peak Vineyard and Winery, New Haven; Neshobe River Winery, Brandon; North Branch Vineyards, Montpelier; Putney Mountain Winery, Putney; Shelburne Vineyard, Shelburne; Snow Farm Vineyard, South Hero; Dunc’s Mill Distillers, Hardwick; Eden Ice Cider Company, West Charleston; Saxton’s River Distillery, Saxton’s River; Vermont Spirits Distilling Company, Hartford; and Long Trail Brewing Company, Bridgewater Corners.
For full Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival details call (802) 464-8092, email info@VisitVermont.com, or visit www.TheVermontFestival.com.