tis the season.

Last Saturday was the second in a series of magical events known as wine festivals.

It's a simple concept, really: showcase local wines & give people a chance to discover their new favorite bottle. For a (typically) $30 ticket, you get a little commemorative wine glass, emblazoned with the festival and the year. Upon arrival at the festival, you wander from winery to winery, sampling their fare. The wineries are set up in tents, with 3-4 wineries per tent. Each winery brings 6 or so wines for free samples, and one "premium" wine that you can purchase a sample of for $1.

Our routine is straight-forward: visit each winery in turn and sample all of their wines, in whatever order they recommend. They almost always recommend dry to sweet, which is just fine with me.

The day started with a pancake breakfast at the international house of pancakes before hopping an Uber to the festival grounds.

Saturday's festival, Great Grapes, was a smaller festival so there were less wineries and tents present. Interspersed with the winery tents are vendors selling locally-made arts and crafts. Most of these are wine-themed, too. For those feeling extra fancy, there are also a few cigar vendors. As the day went on, cigars grew more and more prevalent amongst the guests.

Segregated off in their own little corner were some food trucks for those times when you need a break from the wine and just really need a little food. We went for some delicious wraps towards the end of the day.

After a few hours of wandering about, we popped into the VIP tent. These are another common feature of wine festivals. The tents provide guests willing to purchase a higher priced ticket access to food, water, and premium wine samples. To be honest, this VIP was a little disappointing but was still fun to check out.

Wine festivals are unique, wondrous events. There's a method to mastering them. Stick to cross-body or backpack style bags, instead of normal handbags. They stay out of the way, making sampling nice & easy. Spend the $10 on a little necklace wine holder (you can see ours below) so you don't have to worry about dropping or breaking your glass. Arrange for an uber or cab so that no one has to miss out on the wine-based fun.

But let's be honest, there isn't much to master about wandering around & sampling delicious wine. Throw in some sunshine and some good friends and you've got a recipe for a perfect Saturday.

The wine isn't even my favorite thing about these festivals. My favorite thing has to be the people that attend them. I don't know what it is about these events, but they attract the friendliest people out there. At every festival, we've made new friends while waiting in lines. People often buy bottles of wine and drink them on the grounds of the festival, especially since you're allowed to picnic there. On Saturday the couple behind us shared their wine with us as we laughed and talked.

After a long day of wine and new friends, we headed back to my place for a movie before grabbing dinner and ice cream, followed by some Frasier on Netflix.

There really isn't a better way to spend a sunny Saturday than a wine festival so go check one out near you!

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