Most wine-and-food events in Texas—the Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival in April, the Fredericksburg Food & Wine Fest in October, and the San Antonio New World Wine & Food Festival in November, for example—keep their focus, as you might expect, on the wine and the food, and how to pair them to pleasing effect.

But at Grapevine’s colossal GrapeFest event, held September 17-20 this year, you’ll find much to enjoy outside the box (or bottle). Along with wine-tasting events, food-and-wine presentations, and cooking demonstrations, GrapeFest also features a carnival and midway, live entertainment on five stages, a petting zoo, and performances by the Grapevine Opry. And for budding oenophiles who want to get their feet wet, so to speak, the festival’s GrapeStomp pits teams of stampers against stampers in an energetic battle of barefooted juice extraction.

Another thing that sets GrapeFest apart: The fest focuses on Texas wine. “We’ve been participating in GrapeFest for about five years now,” says winemaker Jeff Sneed, owner of Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards in Pittsburg. “We think that enjoying wine should be an unpretentious endeavor, so that’s where our philosophy meshes with that of Grape Fest. For the People’s Choice awards, for example, you get 20,000 people coming in to taste wines by 40 different Texas wineries. It can be a madhouse, but it’s so much fun.”

Call 800/457-6338; www.grapevinetexasusa .com/grapefest.

From the September 2009 issue
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