A report from the Hudson Valley Winefest

Just got back from the Hudson Valley Wine and Beer Festival and am reporting on my experience for those who are thinking about going tomorrow. The festival takes place each year on the Saturday and Sunday after Labor Day. It’s a low key event in the sort of charming (I think because it’s small) Duchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, NY. Tickets for the day are $25 with no alcohol, $40 with wine access and a glass, $45 with wine and beer access and TWO glasses.

The festival takes place in three exhibition buildings, an open area with food trucks, and two large tents for restaurant food sales and craft beer. The pavilions have a combination of wine tasting and a mishmash of snack vendors offering pretty small samples as well as a few non-food exhibitors. (You will definitely need to buy food, from the trucks or the restaurant vendors, to get through the wine tasting experience. There are some good choices, but at festival prices.)

Most of the wines are quite inexpensive, and there are lots of deals where you get a carry bag when you buy 2 or 3 bottles. If you buy a lot of wine there’s a valet service so you don’t have to carry it with you, though that service stops mid-afternoon so you need to drink and plan early.

Leaving aside the beer for a minute, whether this is a good value depends on your ability to drink a lot of tiny sips of inexpensive wine (and many people were doing their best to get their money’s worth). But a lot of people came in groups (hopefully including a designated driver for each) and were having a good amount of fun.

If this was a Yelp review, it would veer between 3 and 4 stars but settle on 4 for the beer tent. No reason not to pay the extra $5 for a 4 ounce tasting glass and five stubs that can be redeemed for good sized tastes (not sips) of some interesting beers. You can buy more coupons, but I didn’t because I had a long drive home to Saratoga.

If you’re in the area, or if you’re up for a drive on picturesque back roads, check it out.

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