Oak Ridge, Tennessee – The first-ever Nine Lakes Wine Festival will be held May 19-20, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and is focused on quality, highlighting the wine trails and award-winning wines of Tennessee.
The outdoor Grand Tasting at the festival is Saturday, May 20, 1 to 6 p.m., and features 100 Tennessee wines and ciders from 20 wineries, with live music and food, at the beautiful waterfront setting of Melton Lake Park peninsula in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Tickets for the Grand Tasting May 20, as well as a Winemakers Dinner May 19, are on sale now at the festival’s website.
The festival is just 30 minutes from downtown Knoxville, and bears the name “Nine Lakes” from the nine TVA-made lakes in the greater Knoxville region.
“The beauty of our waterfront Melton Lake Park is perfect for a wine festival,” said Marc DeRose, president of Explore Oak Ridge, the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau.
“Melton Lake is one of the most beautiful of the nine lakes in this area. As many people know, its glassy waters are perfect for world-class rowing events. In fact, we invite the public to watch the Dogwood Master’s Classic Regatta in the morning of May 20, and then enjoy Nine Lakes Wine Festival in the afternoon. We hope everyone enjoys our waterfront and the stunning beauty it offers.”
Nine Lakes Wine Festival will feature only wineries that participate in a wine trail. They will be grouped by trail, for a seamless tasting experience.
“We are highlighting wine trails because they set quality and professional standards for their members,” explained James R. Riddle, president of the Appalachian Region Wine Producers Association, one of the sponsors of the festival.
“When we set high standards and support one another in wine tourism, then the whole Tennessee wine industry benefits,” said Riddle. “We want to show off the hard work our talented winemakers are doing in the state, and expose more people to award-winning Tennessee wines.”
The Winemakers Dinner on Friday, May 19 features gold- and silver-award winning wines, paired with a gourmet dinner, at Calhoun’s Event Center, Oak Ridge.
“Nine Lakes Wine Festival is an opportunity for the public to taste award-winning Tennessee wines,” said Riddle. “Very often we find that people have never tried a Tennessee wine. When they do, they are often amazed at how that wine compares with the best they’ve ever had.”
Five wine trails will be represented at the festival: Great Valley Wine Trail, Rocky Top Wine Trail, Upper Cumberland Wine Trail, the new Foothills Wine & Cider Trail, and the new Appalachian High Country Wine Trail.
“We are excited that craft cider, a new industry in Tennessee, is going to be featured by two wineries at the festival,” said Riddle. “Hard apple cider has a rich Appalachian history and Nine Lakes Wine Festival is glad to be part of the return of this Tennessee tradition.”
Plenty of free parking is available at the festival. For more information, please visit the festival website.