Mark your calendars for these not-to-miss wine events.
Celebrating their 11th year, TEXSOM, the premier sommelier education conference, will be held August 8-10 at the Four Season Resort & Club in Las Colinas, Texas. Founded in 2005 by Master Sommelier Drew Hendricks and Master Sommelier James Tidwell, the conference attracts over 1000 participants each year, attending educational sessions that cover topics ranging from how to prevent wine fraud in restaurants to tasting wines from all over the world, this year including Greece, Portugal, New Zealand, Australia and much more. All led by some of the finest Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine and other industry leaders in the country. If you can’t make it out for one of the sessions during the day, make sure to attend the Grand Tasting on Monday evening, August 10. The lineup of wines is always impressive, and will be paired with light bites from the Four Seasons Las Colinas kitchen. Sessions are filling up fast, tickets and details available here.
Woodinville, Washington (right outside Seattle), is the home of Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. Each year the region’s iconic winery hosts some of the best musical acts in the country on their expansive lawn right by the winery. From Harry Connick, Jr. to Jackson Browne to Chris Isaak, the line up each year includes acts that will please any music lover. Bonus, you get to drink really good wine while listening to really good music. Most of the shows in August still have tickets available as well, the perfect time to escape the Dallas heat of summer. If you need a spot to stay, look no further than the Willows Lodge. Beautiful, comfortable, filled with rustic elegance, including fireplaces in most rooms, a requirement in the Northwest. And, no need to Uber, it sits right across the street from Chateau Ste. Michelle.
September 17-20 GrapeFest returns to historic downtown Grapevine. In its 29th year, the annual event features wines from throughout Texas, as well as offerings this year from Oregon and Argentina. GrapeFest is the largest wine festival in North Texas, but includes more than just wine. The multi-day event features a car show, live music and entertainment, a golf and tennis classic and a plethora of carnival food favorites. Tempranillo and turkey legs, or popcorn and chardonnay anyone? Tickets and details are available on their website.
If beer is more your speed, the 4th annual Untapped Festival will be held on November 7 at Fair Park. 400 craft beers will be featured, along with a dozen musical acts, including Flaming Lips, Elle King and Birds of Night. The day long festival starts at 2:30 on the 7th and will go well into the evening. Details and tickets on their website.
Willamette Valley is one of my favorite places to visit, both for the incredible Pinot Noir wines, but also for the laid back atmosphere, with an air of comfort mingling with picturesque vineyards and contemporary wineries. I also have always loved their dedications to helping one another, with an attitude of “if one succeeds we all succeed.” November 13th and 14th the Tuality Healthcare Foundation will host their annual ¡Salud! Auction helping provide access to healthcare for the seasonal vineyard workers of Oregon and their families. Starting with the barrel tastings of the signature ¡Salud! cuvée tastings and barrel auction, enjoying barrel samples of wines created specifically for the auction, poured by winery owners and winemakers, this year held on the 13th at Ponzi Vineyards. The Saturday night black tie dinner and auction gala will be held at the gorgeous Allison Inn and Spa, an ideal spot to stay for the weekend festivities. This is an incredible event, especially for lovers of great Willamette Valley wines. Details and tickets available via their website.