Fun fact #1: Marlon Brando came from Nebraska.
Fun fact #2: When an expeditionary force first reached Nebraska, they deemed it uninhabitable. There were no hills, no mountain ranges, no trees, nothing but an endless expanse of prairie in every direction and an abundance of wind that took every form from stiff breezes to full-blown tornadoes.
As it turned out, those winds had been depositing loess all over the landscape for hundreds of centuries, making the dirt under all that grass some of the richest soil on the planet, capable of supporting any crop you care to name, including grapes.
Fun fact #3: Americans are drinking more wine than ever. Per capita consumption has risen 38% in twenty years.
The wine scene is diverse and offers up plenty of activities, we will look at the 4 best wine festivals in Nebraska you will want to check out.
The Top Wine Festivals in Nebraska
- Nebraska Balloon & Wine Festival
- 2022 TOAST Nebraska Spring Wine Festival
- TOAST Nebraska Fall Wine Festival
- SIP Nebraska Fall Wine Festival
- Friday & Saturday, August 19th – 20th, 2022
- Ta-Ha-Zouka Park, Elkhorn – (402) 346-8003
- General Admission (available at the entrance): $15
- Children 5 to 12: $8.00, Under 5 are Free – Children are welcome
- Open 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Friday, August 19th
- Open 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. Saturday, August 20th
The Nebraska Balloon & Wine Festival is a kid-friendly family festival with live music provided by local talent.
Seating is limited so you might want to bring along a couple of folding chairs. No pets are allowed (except for service animals); nor are coolers and food and drink brought in from outside.
The wine-tasting package costs $17 if you buy your ticket in advance or $21 at the gate. This includes the price of general admission ($15), five wine samplers, and a souvenir wine glass (while stocks last).
For an extra charge, you can join the food and wine tasting at one of the Food & Wine Experience Sessions. VIP sessions are held under the auspices of participating local and overseas vineyards and wineries at a different restaurant each night of the Festival.
Should you wish to experience first-hand just how fickle the weather really is, you can book a balloon ride by calling (402) 346-8003.
- Friday & Saturday, May 13th – 14th, 2022
- Stinson Park, 2285 S 67th St, Omaha, Nebraska
- Contact Alyssa Brodersen of the Nebraska Winery & Grape Growers Association
- Open 4-9 p.m. Friday, May 13th
- Open 1-9 p.m. Saturday, May 14th
- Tickets are $25
All attendees must be 21 or older, whether they’re drinking or not.
No children, pets, infants, or weapons. Smoking is not allowed on festival premises. Re-entry is limited to 15 minutes so you stash wine you’ve bought in your car.
Winner of 1st Place in the Best of Omaha 2021 & 2022 awards, this is the largest gathering of Nebraskan wineries in the state. This festival sells out every year so to avoid disappointment book well in advance.
The price of admission includes access to the artisan and food vendors, educational sessions, music, and dancing, a tasting glass, unlimited free tastings at all participating Nebraskan wineries, a wine tote, and free wine bingo playing cards.
Parking on the festival premises is free of charge.
- Saturday, November 12th, 2022 – 1pm-9pm
- Fonner Park, Grand Island
The twin of the TOAST Nebraska Spring Wine Festival. Details have yet to be announced so check its Facebook page for updates.
- Friday & Saturday, October 7th – 8th, 2022
- Haymarket Park Ballpark, 403 Line Drive Circle, Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
- Call: 402-882-2448
- Open Friday, October 7th – 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
- Open Saturday, October 8th – 1 p.m. -10 p.m.
- Designated drivers: $20 per day, $30 for a two-day ticket
- Tasting: $45 for Friday, $55 for Saturday, or $90 for a two-day ticket
- Limited Edition (a total of only 500 tickets is available for each of the days): $65 for Friday, $75 for Saturday, or $130 for the two days. Please Note: these are advance booking prices. Door prices are $10 more.
This is the 9th year in succession that Sip Nebraska has brought together local distillers and the public.
A Designated Driver ticket entitles the holder to free parking, all the bottled water you can drink, and access to lawn games, live music, dance lessons, food stalls, and arts and crafts stores.
Sports fans can watch the live Friday night Nebraska-Rutgers game on the 34-foot jumbotron.
Designated Driver non-alcohol ticket holders can’t buy or consume alcohol on the premises.
Tasting ticket holders enjoy all of the above privileges, plus a weekend of unlimited tastings of wines, beers, and spirits. They are also entitled to purchase bottles and cases of their favorites (just in time for winter).
Limited Edition ticket holders enjoy all of the above privileges, plus access to the limited edition tastings. They also get a free Sip Nebraska Wine Festival t-shirt.
This year, for the first time, in addition to the live music, Yer Mom’s Comedy Show will be performing at 5 p.m. on Saturday.
You would be well advised to avoid sampling too many beverages in quick succession. Pace yourself by limiting the number of samples you imbibe within an hour.
You can also take advantage of the excellent foods on sale to ensure you’re not drinking on an empty stomach.
Please note: Although the sample size is only half an ounce, this quickly adds up when you take into account the number of distillers.
Also: Wine tasting means moving back and forth between different stalls so you wind up spending a lot of time on your feet. Comfortable shoes are essential!