As the list of Arizona wineries continues to grow every year, the Sedona Winefest is the ideal setting for them to show off what they have.
On Saturday, September 25, and Sunday, September 26, oenophiliacs can imbibe in 29 local wines at Posse Grounds Park.
“The thing about the Sedona Winefest is that you don’t have to be a member of the organization to do the event, so we encourage new wineries to join,” says Paula Woolsey, vice president of Sedona Winefest.
This 12th year sees eight new brands to the lineup. Six of them recently graduated from the Southwest Wine Center wine program and subsequently created their own wineries.
Wineries include Da Vines Vineyard, Burning Tree Cellars, Su Vino Winery, Carlson Creek and The Oddity Wine Collective. Tickets to the Sedona Winefest include six wine tastings from the array of wineries.
In addition, the winefest includes attractions such as the Plein Air Artist Demonstration, during which local artists paint the Sedona landscape from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Sunday, the Phoenix band the Sugar Thieves will perform at 1:30 p.m.
“They are a great band, and this will be the first time that they have played at the Sedona Winefest,” Woolsey says.
Outside of the musical entertainment, a plethora of vendors will be in attendance.
“We’ve got the same cohort of vendors, with a couple new ones this year,” Woolsey says.
Participating vendors include Starbites Coffee Café, Virgin Cheese, Poof Itza Gift, Henna By Bri, Sedona Divine, Cutco Events , Maribel’s Custom Cakes and Merkin Vineyards Gelato Truck, not to mention Peace Love and Smoked Cheese, The Funky Pita, Oak Creek Apple Company, Jennifer Defoe, Carol’s Delectables, Eagle Eye Barrels, Malta Joe’s Baked Goods and AZ Uncorked.
A Sedona Winefest staple is the raffle, but this year, it’s not happening.
“We’re going to be doing a wine pull instead of a raffle this year, which will be better in terms of social distancing and all of the precautions,” Woolsey says. “For $20, you get your wine pull and people get to come up, the wines are put in paper bags so you can’t see the wine, and (you grab a bottle).
“The wines are from all of the wineries there as well as wines that were dug deep out of people’s wine cellars. It’s guaranteed to make a good purchase because all of the bottles are worth at least $20, so nobody is going to get burned out.”
The money goes to the Verde Valley Wine Consortium, which supports the Verde Valley wineries.
The majority of the events will be held outside of a 14,000-square-foot tent so guests can maintain social distancing.
“We just want people to stay home if they are sick and use their good sense with coming to a big event like this during this sort of sketchy pandemic time. That’s really important,” Woolsey says.
Prior to the festival, Sound Bites Grill is hosting a kickoff party with a raffle and wine tastings. It will feature three Arizona wineries’ tasting tables, gourmet food stations, entertainment by Mother Road Trio and a photo booth. Proceeds for this event go to the Verde Valley Wine Consortium.
Tickets include a commemorative Verde Valley Wine Consortium glass and one raffle ticket entry. Featured raffle prizes are a bottle of wine from each winery, a two-night stay at a local resort, free wine tasting at Art of Wine for two, and Jeep or helicopter tour.
“What makes (Sedona Winefest) different is that we get people from all over the country and outside of it because Sedona is a pretty darn big deal,” Woolsey says.
“We have a really good audience who wants to learn about Arizona wines, and it makes this a fabulous platform for wineries. Rarely are you going to get 29 of them in the same place.”
Sedona Winefest Kickoff Party
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, September 24
Where: Sound Bites Grill, 101 N. State Route 89A, Sedona
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, September 25, and Sunday, September 26
Where: Posse Grounds Park, 525 Posse Ground Road, Sedona
Cost: $35 in advance, $40 at the door