10 Best Food and Wine Festivals in the USA
Food and wine have so much more significance than just nourishment. They are a window to culture, quality time, and entertainment. They allow us to share unique tastes and experiences with those closest to us, and bond us to those we don’t know. Food and wine have been paired together for as long as we can remember, creating complementary and lasting tastes and memories that open us up to wanting to try new things.
One of the best ways to experience new tastes and dishes is by visiting a food and wine festival where you can walk around and see what local and visiting vendors have to offer your tastebuds. Chefs, winemakers, creators, and foodies travel all over the world to experience food and wine festivals and see what local cuisine has to give us. Festivals last anywhere from days to months, and each one provides us with a unique outlook to that location’s culture as well as visiting cultures.
In the United States, there are hundreds of food and wine festivals every year attracting attendees from all over the world. While some welcome tastes from around the globe, others emphasize the significance of local cooking and winemaking. Here are 10 of the best food and wine festivals in the United States!
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival
The claim that Disney World is the “Happiest Place on Earth” can be true for your tastebuds too! Epcot, one of Disney’s four theme parks within Walt Disney World is home to the annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Hosted by Corkcircle, this festival draws one of the biggest foodie crowds in the world. Taking place from July 15 to Nov. 20, 2021, the International Food and Wine Festival introduces food and adult beverages from 6 continents. You need an Epcot park ticket to enter the festival where you can take a tour around Epcot’s world showcase, visiting “countries” and booths to try new things such as Mongolian Beef Bau Bun from the China pavilion or Red Sangria with Cabernet Sauvignon from Italy!
San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival
This week-long festival on the San Diego Bay is one of the most talked about food festivals in the United States. It includes chefs, artisans, winemakers, and talent from all around the country. The festival is taking place from Nov. 7 - 14, 2021. There are wine tastings for nearly 200 wineries, breweries, and spirit booths, and plenty of local restaurants to check out.
New Orleans Wine and Food Experience
New Orleans is known as the heart of southern style cooking, but it has also been the host city of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience for over 30 years. The festival usually takes place in the spring, but was held in June this year. Hundreds of restaurants and wineries come together every year to share their local and diverse flavor options. Many of the proceeds of the event go towards non-profit organizations as well. To date, the festival has donated over 1.5 million dollars to local organizations such as culinary schools, food banks, and more. Visitors will enjoy a getaway of great foods and perform a good deed while doing it!
Charleston Wine & Food Festival
The Charleston Wine + Food organization calls themselves “a catalyst for connections that inspire curiosity through thoughtful storytelling and meaningful experiences with a sense of place.” Bringing together the theme of storytelling through food, the Charleston Food + Wine nonprofit organization holds it’s annual festival every year to do just that. Held the first weekend each March, the festival hosts chefs, winemakers, and foodies from all over the world to bring together a unified identity of Charleston, and of people in general. The festival introduces visitors to the diversity of Charleston’s food culture and prioritizes the theme of giving back to others.
New York City Wine & Food Festival
The big apple has more than just apples to offer. The New York City Wine & Food Festival hosted by The Food Network takes place Oct. 14 - 17, 2021. Just four days long and over 50,000 attendees, it is definitely an event you don’t want to miss. In the city where dreams come true, chefs and wine experts from all over the world make their way here to show the world what they have to offer. Come for private dining experiences, wine tastings, live entertainment, and more. It is one of the biggest food celebrations America has to offer. Proceeds from the event go to God’s Love We Deliver and Food Bank For New York City to help fight against food poverty and food insecurity.
Food & Wine Classic in Aspen
Even if skiing isn’t your thing, the Aspen Food & Wine Classic is reason enough to come visit this mountainous town. The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen takes place right along the Rocky Mountains, proving a gorgeous backdrop for tasting amazing food and wine. The festival is fairly exclusive, with highly targetted guests, chefs, and winemakers on the list for this year’s 38th annual festival in September. While this year’s festival is unfortunately sold out, keep your eye out for next year’s festival in June 2022.
Austin Food & Wine Festival
Austin is the country’s #1 hotspot for live music. However, it is also home to some amazing food and drinks. The Austin Food + Wine Festival will be celebrating its 10th year this coming November 5 - 7. The weekend is filled with award-winning chefs and culinary experts from all around Central Texas who are eager to give you a taste of their hard work. Whether you’re sipping on wine or enjoying a hot bite off the fire pit, this festival definitely embodies the heart of Central Texas.
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival
Aloha, and welcome to the best food and wine that these Polynesian islands have to offer. This festival is set up across multiple of the islands and takes place over three consecutive weekends in October. There are over 150 world-renowned chefs and award-winning winemakers who attend, making it a must-visit during your next tropical getaway.
Taste of Chicago
When I hear Chicago, I think of deep dish pizza and hotdogs. The Taste of Chicago city-wide event from July 7-11 is free to attend and shows all the other diverse cuisine that Chicago restaurants have to offer. While you can still get some deep dish pizza, you can also try a smorgasbord of other amazing dishes like tacos, barbeque, gumbo, and more. A lot of options are to-go so don’t forget to grab some napkins and bring your food with you to enjoy one of the free live concerts the city puts on during the festival as well!
Nantucket Wine & Food Festival
The Nantucket Wine & Food Festival has become one of the most prestigious festivals in the country. Featuring the best wine and food on the island and over 3000 attendees, the festival marks the beginning of the summer season for residents and tourists. The 24th annual festival took place May 19-23 and has donated over a million dollars to Nantucket charities over the years. The festival aims to keep the roots of the small and boutique island in mind as they welcome a growing number of vendors, winemarkers, restaurants, and guests to enjoy all the great cuisine Nantucket has to offer.
Here are a few other unique food and wine festivals that didn't quite make the top 10, but still are worth the trip to see!
LA Food Fest
Only one day long, LA Food Fest was created as a celebration of LA street food and small businesses, and continues to thrive as a day to bring together people from all over with great taste buds. LA Food Fest was one of the first culinary festivals to subsidize participation costs for vendors so that more emerging and small businesses could get involved and share their craft. The festival also aims to be the first zero food waste event, and gets closer to reaching that goal every year. If you’re looking for a trendy festival to bring out your inner foodie, this is the place to go. Don’t forget to snap a photo for Instagram while you’re there!
Seed Food & Wine Week
Seed Food & Wine Week claims, “we are not just a festival, we are a movement.” Hosted in Miami, Florida, this festival is exclusively plant-based.This means all food and drink served is totally and completely vegan friendly! The festival is the biggest plant-based food, wine, and wellness experience in the country, and was named one of the top 3 food festivals in the country by USA TODAY despite its niche of vegan friendly food and drink. Seed Food & Wine also features athletes, entertainment, and visionaries who are actively making a difference and living more sustainable lives.
Pacific Wine and Food Classic
The Pacific Wine and Food Classic is an invite-only experience that will leave your mouth watering. Featuring the best food, wine, beer, and cocktails enjoyed on the Orange County, California waterfront, the event will be on any foodie’s bucket list. The event takes place Oct. 23 - 24, 2021 and is only available to VIP guests. In the following years, tickets may be available to the public again!
Taste of Vail
Another town known for skiing, Taste of Vail shows the public what else the town has to offer. The event features over 30 of the best local chefs and representatives from over 50 wineries around the country. The festival will take place Sept. 16-18, 2021 and feature food and wine tastings, seminars, pop-ups, and more. It also features the annual American Lamb Cook-off!
Key West Food & Wine Festival
The Conch Republic, now known as Key West in the Florida Keys is the southernmost point in the United States, and a hotspot for amazing food and alcoholic drinks. The Key West Food & Wine Festival is a “paradise for serious foodies,” according to Forbes.com. The event is hosted throughout the island at various locations and popular restaurants, and features over 20 unique events like waterfront dining and tastings. This festival, happening Jan. 26 - 30, 2022, is sure to make island life a little more delicious.
Now that your stomach is growling, book a trip to one of America’s best food and wine festivals. Your inner foodie will thank you!
Life is all about balance, and that applies to food too! Here at the Foodie Channel, whether it’s food or drink, we always encourage you to eat and drink in balance and moderation.