Reminder: The first-ever Nine Lakes Wine Festival is today (Saturday, May 20) at the Melton Lake Park peninsula in Oak Ridge.
The festival focuses on the wine trails of the eastern half of Tennessee and their award-winning wines, a press release said. It bears the name “Nine Lakes” from the nine lakes made by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the Knoxville area.
“The beauty of our waterfront Melton Lake Park is perfect for a wine festival,” said Marc DeRose, president of Explore Oak Ridge, the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau, which is one of the sponsoring partners for the event.
Nine Lakes Wine Festival is featuring 20 wineries that participate in five different wine trails. They will be grouped by trail, for a seamless tasting experience, the press release said.
“We are highlighting wine trails because they set quality and professional standards for their members,” explained James R. Riddle, president of the Appalachian Region Wine Producers Association, one of the sponsors of the festival.
“When we set high standards and support one another in wine tourism, then the whole Tennessee wine industry benefits,” Riddle said. “We want to show off the hard work our talented winemakers are doing in the state, and expose more people to award-winning Tennessee wines.”
The festival has two events. The first, a Winemakers Dinner, was from 6-10 p.m. Friday, May 19. It featured only gold- and silver- award winning wines paired with a gourmet dinner at Calhoun’s Event Center, as well as live entertainment and a chance to meet Tennessee winemakers.
The Grand Tasting, from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 20, will feature a taste of 100 Tennessee wines from 20 wineries, plus live music and food, at the beautiful waterfront setting of Melton Lake Park Peninsula, the press release said.
“Melton Lake is one of the most beautiful of the nine lakes in this area,” DeRose said. “As many people know, its glassy waters are perfect for world-class rowing events. In fact, we invite the public to watch the Dogwood Masters Classic Regatta in the morning of May 20, and then enjoy Nine Lakes Wine Festival in the afternoon. We hope everyone enjoys our waterfront and the stunning beauty it offers.”
In addition to tasting wines, festival goers will have the opportunity to enjoy a series of cooking demonstrations and wine seminars throughout the day. A VIP experience is also available, with exclusive seating and early access.
As many as 12 Tennessee charities will benefit from the festival, in an exciting “Barrels of Fun Charity Race.”
The five trails featured are in the eastern half of the state: Great Valley Wine Trail, Rocky Top Wine Trail, Upper Cumberland Wine Trail, and two new ones, Foothills Wine & Cider Trail, and the Appalachian High Country Wine Trail.
Free parking and a free shuttle will be available. For more information, see www.NineLakesWineFestival.com.