Notwithstanding that Delaware is a tiny Mid-Atlantic U.S. State located on a peninsula isolated by the Delaware River and Delaware Bay, the state has a vibrant wine industry. That is music to our ears and well worth exploring, but first, to find out where we are going, here is a bit of background.
On its Eastern shores, the beaches of Delaware are shadowed by sand dunes where they meet the Atlantic Ocean. Its bordering states are Pennsylvania to the North, New Jersey to the North East, and across the bay in the West, is Maryland.
As the second smallest state in the United States of America, Delaware is just short of 2500 square miles in area. By comparison, Texas is 269 thousand square miles (like ten times the size), and Alaska, the biggest state of all, comes in at a whopping 663 thousand square miles. Ok, I always thought Alaska was part of Canada!
The Capital city of Delaware State is Dover, renowned for its First State Heritage Park that encompasses 18th-century colonial landmarks such as the Georgian-style Old State House.
Though not the capital, the largest city is Wilmington which is well known for its vibrant riverfront featuring a waterside venue packed with boutique outlets, a river-front market, and excellent restaurants.
A Bit of History
A short examination of its history reveals that Delaware is considered the first state in the USA. Having declared its independence from Great Britain in 1776.
It then established its own Government separate from the state of Pennsylvania, thus becoming the first state in 1787. During the American civil war, 1861 to 1865, it was allied with the Union forces.
To Digress, On Famous People
The 46th President of the United States of America, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr, was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1943. In 1953, when he was ten years old, his family moved to Delaware. Joe Biden went on to study at the University of Delaware before earning his law degree.
Stephen Marley, the son of reggae legend Bob Marley, was raised in Kingston, Jamaica. But, in fact, he was born in Wilmington, Delaware. Like his dad, he excelled at music, and with his group, Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers went on to win six Grammy awards.
Enough of the background, now let us get into the juicy bits, the top wine festivals in Delaware where you will find the perfect pairings of food and wine:
The Top Wine Festivals in Delaware
- The Delaware Beer, Wine, & Spirits Festival
- Southern Delaware Wine, Food and Music Festival
- Delaware Wine and Beer Festival
- Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Food and Wine Festival
- The Delaware Wine and Ale Trail
- Harvest Ridge 2nd Annual Wine & Art Festival
- Wine and Dinosaurs Event
1. The Delaware Beer, Wine, & Spirits Festival
The Delaware Beer, Wine, & Spirits Festival celebrated its 12th year running on 27 August 2022.
The venue for this classic event is the Delaware Agriculture Museum and Village, 866 North Du Pont Highway, Dover, Delaware, USA.
Admission times: VIP tastings 4 to 5 pm, general admission 5 to 7,30 pm. Ticket prices vary, for example, VIP tickets cost from $50 to $75 and general admission tickets range from $30 to $60, the earlier you buy the less you pay.
Reputed as the only state-wide festival incorporating the wine industry the event features beer, wine, and spirit tastings where numerous wineries, brewers, and distillers present their wares so dozens of beer, wine, and cider choices will be available.
Some notables are Spirits produced by Dogfish Head and Painted stave, meaderies such as Brimming Horn and Liquid Alchemy, and many many wine productions including, Salted Wine, Harvest Ridge, Nassau Valley, and traditional Italian winemakers such as Pizzadilli.
There are also opportunities to meet the brewers, winemakers, and spirit makers along with special demonstrations, divine food trucks, popular live music, outdoor games, and special exhibits.
Do not be confused with the Delaware Beer and Wine Festival, which is an event held in Delaware town in the state of Ohio!
2. Southern Delaware Wine, Food and Music Festival
Also known as the Sodelfest, the Southern Delaware Wine, Food, and Music Festival celebrated its 7th annual festival on October 1, 2022. It would have been the 8th Annual celebration but the 2020 event was canceled due to Covid restrictions.
This classic, popular, and charitable event, takes place at the Hopkins Heartland events venue, 30249 Fisher Road, Lewes, DE. Admission times are usually 3 pm to 3.30 pm
General admission tickets start at $125 for early birds but move up to $150 as the day approaches and that covers all you can eat & drink. With some 25-plus restaurants, 75 odd wines, craft beers, and live bands, it has got to be the bargain of the year.
$250 gets you into the VIP dinner and wine pairing event but this is limited to only 50 guests. Book now!
Spending time enjoying specialty food delights, sipping refreshing local wines and beverages as you listen to some of your favorite music performed by live bands adds up to a great day.
The SoDEL Fest is widely known for its auctions, unique culinary experiences, award-winning chefs, and glorious wines. So much more than just an amazingly indulgent day of wine, food & music, it is a celebration of, laughter, friendship, and togetherness.
The cherry on top is that the proceeds of this premier event go to support several non-profit organizations and charities helping to support the local community.
On that subject, the Southern Delaware Wine, Food & Music Festival has raised $170,000 for NGOs which goes a long way to help the needy in coastal Delaware!
3. Delaware Wine and Beer Festival
A popular Annual event held at the Delaware State Fairgrounds, 18500 South DuPont Highway Harrington, DE 19952
One of Delaware’s most exciting events of the year, the Delaware Wine and Beer Festival concentrates numerous vendor outlets, wineries, cideries, and meaderies in one all-encompassing venue.
Beer makers and wineries offer products at a discount, including bottles or cases of wines from the many top-quality wineries in the state.
The fun kicks off at noon and ends at 5 pm giving visitors a day packed with entertainment, gourmet foods, tasty treats, and most importantly wine and beer tasting events.
Of course, to really get the vibe going, live bands are a feature of this event. Previous events have presented musical artists such as Teaze, an 80, s tribute band, with hits from Metallica,
Van Halen, Def Leppard, AC/DC, Poison, and other popular rock songs are there to wow the audience.
Tickets are on sale ahead of the event for $35 but will be sold on the day for $40 at the door. Each ticket allows the visitor 10 tastings of beer, wine, and spirits. Of course, additional tickets are available for purchase inside the festival for the serious imbibers.
In true grit fashion, The Wine and Beer Festival will go ahead, rain, snow, or shine.
4. Bethany Beach Ocean Suites Food and Wine Festival
Located at 99 Hollywood St, Bethany Beach, Sussex County DE 19930, USA this renowned establishment offers a day of music, local wines, and savory foods at their unique festival. While you enjoy the sipping and tastings on offer there will be live music presented by local musicians, throughout the afternoon
Tickets are $45 in advance but $55 at the door so book early and save some wine money. Special discounted weekend stay packages at this hotel are on offer and they include tickets to the festival.
Bethany Beach Ocean Suites also host the best chefs, restaurants, and wine purveyors in the Sussex County competition, which supports local charities such as Beebe Healthcare.
5. The Delaware Wine and Ale Trail
The Delaware Wine and Ale Trail is a unique collection of a dozen or more wineries and breweries that will take you on a thirst-quenching flavorful journey from the riverfront in Wilmington to the sandy beaches on the Atlantic Ocean.
Visiting numerous venues you will be greeted by live music, brew pubs, wine tasting, and pristine beaches. All in all, a delightful and memorable day out.
6. Harvest Ridge 2nd Annual Wine & Art Festival
Harvest Ridge Winery is situated at 447 Westville Rd, Marydel, Delaware, and with its first festival in 2021 being a solid success this well-known Delaware winery celebrated its second festival on Saturday, September 24, 2022. Visitor times are 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM giving 6 hours of solid entertainment
Again, local vendors, a proliferation of food trucks, and selections of fine wines were there for your enjoyment. A definite for your visitor’s schedule and one where we look forward to the next event.
7. Wine and Dinosaurs Event
Traditionally held at the Wilmington Museum of Natural History, this popular event was canceled when Covid ripped through the world in 2020 and has yet to be revived.
The event was born in 2007 and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years in support of the Museum’s activities. Let’s hope this worthy event will become a Phoenix and arise soon.
Delaware may very well be a small state, but it boasts in excess of 15 wineries, cideries, and meaderies that produce quality wines, beers, and ciders that will satisfy the tastes of any enthusiast.