You’ve probably seen “grape-stomping” in movies. You’ve smirked at the medieval concept of taking off your shoes, jumping into a wooden vessel, and marching around in knee-deep pulp. Most of us have never considered staining our legs maroon to squeeze out some grape juice, especially when that juice will take years to ferment into wine. But admit it: You kind of want to try it now, don’t you?
Pulverizing fruit is just one of the events at WINEterfest, a mid-winter celebration of the oenophilic arts. Appropriately, the two-day festival is hosted by Newport Vineyards, the largest grower of wine grapes in New England. Visitors arrive from across the region to taste the winery’s selection, snack on hors d’oeuvres, and hear live music by The TeleDynes and The Little Compton Band. Kick off the weekend with the Speakeasy Soirée, a cocktail party homage to the Roaring Twenties, where flapper costumes are encouraged. During the festival, you can also swing by the “Ice Wine Bar,” where you can try Newport’s famous Vidal dessert wine, made from naturally frosted grapes, honey, and apricot. (Trust us on
WINEterfest has been a cold-weather panacea for 23 years, but this one offers a special addition: Beer aficionados can sip the Scotch Ale and Imperial Stout of Taproot Brewing Co., the vintner’s six-month-old gastropub. Speakeasy Soirée takes place February 15; WINEterfest continues February 16 & 17.