For the first time in its 32-year history, the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival will include wineries from outside the state of Virginia, including premier brands such as Caymus, Catena, Zuccardi and Yalumba.
“In our efforts to keep the Wine Festival fresh and exciting, the committee decided to expand the offerings so attendees will have some new and different brands to taste,” said Andy Bruns, executive director of the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce, which will host the event Sept. 17-18 at Mariners Landing.
Bruns explained that representatives of Wagner Family of Wine, Winebow Fine Wine + Spirits, and Wine Sellers LTD will pour tastings in the tent hosted by Bottles & Bites, the gourmet wine shop at Mariners Landing.
“Of course, we’re also excited to welcome exceptional wineries and cideries from around the Commonwealth,” Bruns said. “Some are popular favorites such as Chateau Morrisette, while others may be unfamiliar like Blue Toad Hard Cider out of Nelson County.”
Organizers have also finalized the musical lineup for the weekend, as well as a variety of artisan vendors.
Saturday’s headline band will be The SteelDrivers, a Nashville-based bluegrass group that has been nominated for several Grammy Awards and won for Best Bluegrass Album in 2015. On Sunday, eight-piece soul band St. Paul & The Broken Bones will perform in the headliner spot.
Also slated for Saturday are The Suffers, a soul band from Houston that blends elements of classic American Soul and rock and roll to crowds that love to dance. Local favorites The Eric Wayne Band and Blueprint round out the lineup.
North Carolina-based brass funk band Empire Strikes Brass and Three Sheets to the Wind, a popular yacht rock band from Richmond, will open up for St. Paul and the Broken Bones on Sunday.
An assortment of vendors will be on site selling handmade jewelry, leather goods, clothing, accessories and gifts, Bruns said. A complete list may be found at smlwinefestival.com/vendors.
Tickets are on sale now at smlwinefestival.com and Bruns said he expects both days to sell out. General admission tickets are $65 and VIP tickets are $195. In addition, a limited number of boat slips may be rented for $95 per day.
“VIP ticket holders will have access to gourmet meals catered by The Landing Restaurant, complimentary beer from Parkway Brewing, a variety of wine and an indoor, air-conditioned space with private restrooms,” Bruns said. “There will also be an exclusive area for viewing the live music.”
The Wine Festival is the Chamber’s largest non-dues fundraiser with proceeds used to grow and develop programs to promote tourism and business in the lake region. To purchase tickets, log on to smlwinefestival.com.