Did you know you can find one of the best wine festivals in the Midwest right in your backyard? For the past 15 years, Winefest has been celebrating the wine and culinary industry with their festival that has now expanded to a weeklong event in June, as well as events such as Wine Flights and dinners year round. If you’re looking for something to do in Des Moines this summer, make sure to check it out!
This year, Winefest’s signature event starts on June 3 and goes through June 10. Each day of the weeklong event features a unique tasting experience. There are several opportunities to get involved, whether you’re 21 or not quite yet! Of course, attending the events is sure to be a good time, but volunteers also get to get in on the action, meeting world-class sommeliers and getting a free t-shirt never hurts! Although some of the events come at a high price tag, there are some that cost as little as $15 or are even free. Plus, volunteers receive a free ticket to an event!
Natasha Sayles, the Executive Director, has been organizing Winefest for the past 3 years.
“We are anticipating record breaking crowds this year as we celebrate the 15th anniversary of Winefest. What started off as just a couple day event has turned into an organization that people participate in year-round, so it has been amazing to watch I grow.” Natasha says that about 4,000 people attended the events throughout the week.
“For college students, I would recommend the Iowa Lawn Party at Jasper Winery. Tickets for this event are only $15 for unlimited sampling from 2-5 pm. Plus, it is a unique event because all of the food, beer and wine vendors are from Iowa. Besides the free Community Tasting, this is the most laid back event as well. I encourage people to bring a lawn chair, enjoy the samples, live music and summer weather,” Natasha said.
The events take place at a variety of metro locations, so attending also gives guests the opportunity to play tourist in their own city. Several of the events are held at Capital Square and Cowles Commons, in the heart of downtown Des Moines, while others are spread throughout the city. Winefest has yet to reveal the location of Toasting Tuesday, the Wednesday Dinner and some of the Prima Dinners, so be sure to stay tuned!
The Des Moines Wine Festvial Foundation is a nonprofit organization that benefits BRAVO Greater Des Moines, a charity fund, which supports local art and culture. Additionally, Winefest has created three scholarship funds that are awarded to aspiring culinary students or sommoliers.
Don’t you want the kick-off to your summer to taste good? Make sure you don’t miss out on one of the best wine festivals in the Midwest, and buy your tickets when they go on sale April 17, 2017!