Arkansas is a state in South Central United States that is bordered by Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma.
The state has a diverse geography with mountainous regions made up of the Ouachita and Ozark mountains, and a densely forested area known as the Arkansas Timberlands.
Across Arkansas, there is a deep appreciation for wine which is an alcoholic beverage made from grapes. These wine lovers will flock to the numerous wine festivals across the state, enjoying the food, music, and festive environment.
We are going to look at some of the top wine festivals in Arkansas to help you plan your next trip.
List of the Top Wine Festivals in Arkansas
Deeper Look at the 4 Top Wine Festivals in Arkansas
1. Wiederkehr Wine Cellar’s Weinfest
- Location: 3324 Swiss Family Drive, Wiederkehr Village, Arkansas 72821
- Date: October 2023 at 10:00 – 22:00
- Tickets: Tickets for events range from free to $50
The first Wiederkehr Weinfest was in 1963 with the festival quickly becoming an annual attraction for tourists and locals to the area.
Weinfest looks to celebrate the history of the Swiss-German immigrants who settled in the region in the 1880s. They settled in Wiederkehr Village which is situated atop St. Mary’s Mountain.
This festival was established by Al Wiederkehr who is the grandson of the winery’s founder after a research trip across Europe. His research focused on enology which relates to the study of winemaking where he traveled to countries known for their wine production.
By having an annual wine festival, Wiederkehr could ensure his family’s heritage was preserved and appreciated year after year. At the time it was implemented, state law forbade alcoholic beverages from being advertised in dry counties.
This led to the wine festival gaining the name Weinfest which is the Swiss-German spelling of the words. Since its inception, the festival has continued to grow and improve. It now hosts a variety of activities including wine tastings, tours of the wine cellar, polka lessons, and so on.
The festival is held in the fall of each year and includes a performance of traditional English, German, and Swiss songs by the German Waterloo Band.
A Weinfest Queen is voted for each year with the winner representing Wiederkehr Winery at various competitions and presentations during her reign.
Unfortunately, the 2022 event has been postponed to 2023 however the winery is hopeful that the event will go forward. Preparations are currently underway to secure vendors and performers for the 57th Weinfest.
2. Art of Wine
- Location: 495 W. Dickson Street, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
- Date: Tends to be in July from 19:00 – 23:00
- Tickets: Tickets are initially available at $65 and increase to $75. $150 for Reserve Room Tasting
The Art of Wine Festival has just celebrated its 20th annual event. Each year, this festival occurs at Walton Arts Center to generate funds for the center’s arts education programming. The festival was launched in 2000 and has run annually almost every year.
Walton Arts Center is a nonprofit arts organization that has served the local region for almost 30 years. 195 thousand community members attend events hosted by the organization each year to experience a variety of performing arts.
Additionally, 35 thousand children and teachers from local schools take part in the organization’s education and outreach programs.
Art of Wine is hosted at the Walton Arts Center which is situated in Northwest Arkansas. The festival hosts several wine tastings including a special wine tasting in the Reserve Room, as well as various food stalls to complement your beverage.
Additional to the wine tasting and food, the event has live entertainment to add to the ambiance and festivity of the event.
Two of the main events that occur each year are the Winemaker’s Dinner and Uncorked. The Winemaker’s Dinner features a collaborative menu paired with award-winning wines.
Uncorked is an event where people can enjoy small portions of food and treats from local restaurants. There are often fairy lights strung over the event to create a magical feel to it, funded by numerous sponsors.
3. Wild Wines
- Location: 1 Zoo Drive, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205
- Date: Tends to be towards the end of April from 19:00 – 21:00 VIP Night at the Zoo, 19:00 – 22:00 Mane Event
- Tickets: Member + Reserve Wine Room: $80. Non-Member + reserve Wine Room: $85
Food from local restaurants is sold at this event, paired with hand-selected wines and liquors. There are often special appearances from the Zoo’s Ambassadors which make the event fun and unforgettable.
A silent auction allows visitors to bid on specific prizes including vet-specific equipment ($500 – $50 000), paintings (ranging from $140 – $300), a behind-the-scenes tour of the Zoo ($580), and an experience to be a zoo keeper for a day ($400).
There is a Friday Night VIP experience that features premier wine from local wineries and food from the ‘best’ local restaurants. In 2022, the musical entertainment was provided by The Rodney Black Collective which created a fun and unique experience for visitors.
On Saturday, the ‘Mane’ event is a party that the public has enjoyed for years. Over 200 wines are available from O’Looney’s to sip on while food from catering establishments and restaurants is available.
The feature during this event is the animal ambassadors who greet the guests, with the name of the event playing on this experience.
If you are not a wine drinker, there is a range of beers and other beverages available so that you can still enjoy the event. The event acts as a fundraiser for the Arkansas Zoological Foundation.
This foundation is a non-profit that works to grow and develop Little Rock Zoo which has just celebrated its 94th year of operations.
4. Arkansas Italian Food & Wine Festival
- Location: 1201 Leisure Pl, Little Rock, Arkansas 72204
- Date: Last weekend of April. Friday: 16:00 – 20:00. Saturday: 10:00 – 20:00. Sunday: 11:00 – 16:00.
- Tickets: Adults: $10 per day. Children 10 and Under: Free
This event focuses on pairing the best Italian Food with hand-selected wine to pair it with. There is live music available to create a warm and festive atmosphere that promises a real feel of Italian culture.
Another event hosted during the festival is a cooking competition where visitors can put their chef hats on and compete to make the best food for a panel of judges. A demonstration tent is set up where chefs can demonstrate how to make food like pasta, giving visitors a little insight into the process.
The types of demonstrations that tend to be shown are how to make Bruschetta, the clothing worn by Italian gentlemen, how to make cocktails, and Alfredo and Focaccia making.
Wine tasting occurs at an additional cost where visitors can learn more about the wines available and select which wines, they would like to take home at the end of the day.
A DJ is available at times to keep the mood boosted and provide entertainment, after which live entertainment takes place.
A grape stomp occurs where people can mash up grapes themselves, learning how wine was made initially and continues to be made today.
Mass is officiated on Sunday morning and is open to the public for free should they choose to go.