Hob Nob Pinot Noir from France. Villa Pozzi Pinot Grigio from Sicily. Honora Winery Chardonnay from Vermont. The Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival returns to Mount Snow Sept. 20-22 featuring tasting seminars with wines from Vermont and around the world.
The annual festival, first held in 2008, is a major event for Vermont. Organizers expect more than 2,000 attendees over the weekend to sample cheese, wine, soups and local products. The event gives small, Vermont wineries access to new customers and provides the region with a flagship festival to kick off foliage season.
Many Vermonters will tell you this festival is about much more than wine. It’s about community and resilience. The event has surged in popularity with attendance from locals and out-of-state visitors who enjoy wine and want to support the Mount Snow region, which was hit exceptionally hard by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
After the August 28, 2011 storm flooded downtown Wilmington, which destroyed buildings and washed out roads, festival organizers were forced to cancel the event. Thankfully, the wine festival returned in 2012 stronger than ever.
“In 2011 so many things were taken from us, including this festival,” said Adam Grinold, executive director of the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce. “That we were able to rebuild it last year with record attendance is a testament to the tenacity of our local businesses.”
Steve Cook, deputy commissioner of Vermont Tourism (and my former boss), is a big fan of the Mount Snow region. He attends the wine festival every year and visits the area frequently to assist with tourism-related initiatives and to simply enjoy the outdoors.
“The people who live in this region of Vermont work extremely hard to support their fellow neighbors,” he said. “There is a tremendous sense of community and an ability to rise above each challenge, including some of the biggest challenges the area has ever faced.”
The scenic beauty of Mount Snow and the wonderful people who call this valley home are what make the region worth visiting. This weekend, with the gorgeous backdrop of the Green Mountains, wine lovers will experience one of Vermont’s best fall events in a community brimming with spirit and pride.
**If You Go: The Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival kicks off Friday 5-8 p.m. with a Wine Stroll (admission $8) and Vermont Soup Tasting Contest in downtown Wilmington. Wine tastings will be at the Mount Snow Resort base area on Route 100 in West Dover on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $12 or $20 for a two-day pass.