From our family to yours, we thank you for supporting the American maker movement. Use code THANKYOU at checkout for 10% off. From our family to yours, we thank you for supporting the American maker movement. Use code THANKYOU at checkout for 10% off.

Magazine

SPONSORED | Sampling Local Flavor at the Adirondack Wine Festival

SPONSORED | Sampling Local Flavor at the Adirondack Wine Festival

Photo: Adirondack Wine Festival

Wine festivals are like snowflakes, each one is unique. And while they have the potential to achieve transcendent beauty in the right setting, a stellar line-up and experienced organizers, it can just as easily turn into a grey, boring blot you can’t get away from fast enough.

Thankfully, the 2019 Adirondack Wine & Food Festival, held Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30, was the former. 

“Can you beat this weather and setting?” a festival attendee named Debbie asked me rhetorically as we waited in a quick-moving line to try a sample from one of the 120+ New York-based wineries, breweries, distilleries, artisan food vendors, and craftspeople who trucked their wares into Charles R. Wood Park in Lake George, nestled in the southern tip of the 6 million-acre Adirondack State Park. 

The mercurial weather gods smiled down on the festival Saturday; a washout was expected, but in its place, were bluebird skies and warm sunshine. Sunday’s weather was more of a mixed bag, but on both days, festival attendees eagerly mobbed the delighted vendors, who managed to stop and chat with everyone and answer questions, while still keeping the lines moving.

 

The 2.5-acre Charles R. Wood park is in the middle of Lake George, a town that draws visitors year-round to the shores of its crystalline water set against the mountains that encircle the town in every direction like a warm bear hug. During the summer, the park hosts major events almost every weekend, but the Wine Festival, now in its fifth year running, has become one of the most eagerly anticipated events by locals, and visitors who come from afar, specifically for the event.

Lake George is a classic old-fashioned resort town, bristling with miniature golf courses, bowling alleys, resort-style hotels, B&Bs, antique stores, and restaurants that run the gamut from delightfully retro (who doesn’t occasionally crave a lobster pot with a side of spare ribs?) to exceedingly sophisticated (Iberico pork belly with basil vinaigrette, then the poulet rouge with micro squash and honey gastrique, please). 

The festival itself mirrored the spirit of Lake George, featuring a delightful confection of serious, esoteric offerings and others who came to crank up the volume and get the party started.

“We’ve seen the festival grow and evolve, and we love being a part of it,” said Matt, of Springbrook Hollow Farm Distillery, which makes a range of small-batch craft spirits with as many locally sourced ingredients as possible, from Two Sisters Orangecello to the award-winning Adirondack High Rye Bourbon.

Springbrook — like the Wine Festival — has something for everyone. Lindsay, who was also pouring samples, recommended their Apple Moonshine (made from New York State Apple Cider and cinnamon) and Maple Moonshine (made from Adirondack Gold Maple Farm) as a mix-in for adult milkshakes (“just add it to a blender with your favorite ice cream”), while the Adirondack Blended Straight Bourbon Whiskey is for serious craft spirits consumers. 

Some of the best sips I tried were ones I was already familiar with as a lover of New York craft everything — Rare Form, Adirondack Winery, Helderberg Meadworks, and Warwick Valley Winery were a few of the standouts. But the bits were incredible too, from perennial favorites like Capital Q Smokehouse, the Chuck Wagon, and Nettle Meadow Cheese Farm.

Photo: Adirondack Wine Festival 

In addition to the drinks and snacks, attendees were able to take in culinary and cocktail demonstrations, including a competition between William Cornelius and Colin Miner, of Chef William Creations and Park 26, respectively. There were also wine and chocolate pairing classes with Barkeater Chocolates and Adirondack Winery, and wine glass candle-making seminars with Wax n’ Wix

The makers of non-consumables, including Mike Wild of YB Wild Pottery, also had stunning wares for attendees to check out. YB Wild, a line of handcrafted, decorative, functional pottery, is made by Mike and his wife Yvonne. The line features pieces from Saggar and Raku-fired works to food and drink safe mugs, plates, and platters. 

Their line of food-safe items were my favorite, as they feature more than 30 New York state lakes (one per item). 

“This is my first year here, but it has been a fantastic experience,” Mike said. “I love the spirit here, and it’s great to see how excited people are to support New York-made products.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. If you missed out, fret not. Just start planning ahead for next year. 

PLANNING AHEAD FOR NEXT YEAR 

General admission tickets (which include a souvenir tasting glass, a festival bag and program, samples from drinks and food vendors, and product drop-off and pick-up service) are $38. They are valid for one day only.

Photo: Adirondack Wine Festival

VIP weekend pass tickets (which include everything the GA tickets do, plus one-hour early entry, a 6-bottle tote bag, a designated check-in area, a wine glass koozie/necklace holder, a red ADK ornament, a bottle of water, a food truck voucher, and  a local coupon book with $300 worth of savings) cost $75. A one-day VIP pass costs $55. 

Designated driver and underage tickets are $15. 

Children 15 and under are free.

A portion of all ticket sales benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters.

--

See also: SPONSORED | Taste the Best of New York at Adirondack Wine & Food Festival