If you’ve been to a local winery recently, you may have noticed posters or advertisements for local wine festivals, wine tasting or trail events.  With so many wineries in the area though, how can you, the consumer, learn more about these events and determine where to go? This week we will discuss the difference between some of these events.

First, let’s discuss some of the events that you may hear about so you are “in the know”. Now that the weather is improving, it is time for the wine festival season to begin. These festivals are the best way to try wines from many wineries and not be intimidated by going into a winery. Ohio’s biggest wine festival – Vintage Ohio – is the first weekend in August and allows you to try wines from 30 different wineries across the state. If that is too much wine for you, be on the lookout for wine festivals during the Akron Farmers’ Markets and a great wine festival called Summer Solstice at Sarah’s Vineyard in Cuyahoga Falls.

If you want to visit a series of wineries in a general area, I recommend asking if they have any trail events going on. If you participate in one of the many organized wine trail events, you get to visit anywhere from 4 – 24 wineries in an area, sample wines and usually are treated to a small appetizer or dessert to enjoy with your tasting. My favorite part about the trail events is they are usually a drive-yourself-tour meaning that you set your schedule as to when you get to each winery instead of having to stick to a chauffer’s schedule.

Another great event is to participate in a wine tasting. While most wineries offer wine tastings during their normal operating hours, many wineries and most wine bars will offer special wine tasting events. These events typically require reservations and are a little more formal than just visiting a winery on a whim. In my experiences of attending a wine tasting the winemaker has guided us through a series of tastings of newly released wines while they talk about the process or the characteristics of the wine. Wine tastings are a great opportunity to be able to talk to the winemaker on a personal level and learn a lot more about a particular wine.

With so many events and opportunities to visit local wineries coming up this summer, I will try to pass along the big events to you in my articles. Also, next week, I will give you some great resources to use to find out about all of the events so you don’t miss anything.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Street, Garrettsville. For more information on some of these events or wine lists from the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com or call 330.527.4118.