What makes a great festival? Three things: dialed-in vendors, amusing sponsors, and killer venues. Lucky for us, the Worcester Wine Festival has promised the trifecta.

By now, everyone has caught wind of the Grand Tasting set for Union Station on Sunday, October 8th, where over 400 desirable wines and a VIP lounge stocked with Voss Water will make for nothing short of premium hydration. Consider our tickets purchased and our calendars marked. But, everyone knows that the secret weapon for a worthy festival is a slew of extravagant parties to compliment the main event. Bring on the wine wizardry at its finest! Call them intimate, exclusive, or down right ritzy – we’ve got the scoop on the best parties for festival weekend.

Altea's pairing Croque Madame with an effervescent Cava pairing

Altea’s brunch pairing of a Croque Madame served with an effervescent Cava.

Six Worcester restaurants have already put their distributors to work in an attempt to attain elusive bottles for chefs to masterfully pair during the Worcester Wine Festival. On October 6th, The People’s Kitchen is set on Scarpetta and they’ve pledged to present a different locally baked bread with each saucy course. On October 7th, Lock 50 is taking it “From the Beginning” by highlighting some of winemaking’s original grapes, alongside five courses hailing from corresponding regions. Also on October 7th, just up the block at Bocado, guests will enjoy a Pig Roast with a coveted selection of Spanish wines. Mike Covino of Niche Hospitality Group explains, “Being part of this festival is important for the region and we are confident that our Bocado pig roast is going to elevate an imaginative dining experience for guests on the weekend of Worcester’s inaugural Wine Festival.”

If the private wine dinners, which run anywhere from $95-$150, aren’t in your budget, but you’d still like to be a festival insider – there are additional options. Lock 50’s Mimosa Brunch starts at 9 a.m. on October 7th and features an array of fresh fruit purees to start your morning for just $25 for four individual 187ml bottles of Prosecco and the ability to order from the menu to create your own pairing. Across town, Altea’s will kick off their own brunch, Bubbles & Brunch, on October 7th beginning at 11 a.m. Attendees will enjoy five paired courses with a French twist including spiced sugar beignets and crepes to remember. Owner, Oriola Koci shares, “We’ve been experimenting with bubbles in preparation for this exciting custom menu. The Worcester Wine Fesitval marks a whole new chapter for the potential of Altea’s bar program and we know the value, selection, and flavors will be memorable.”

Nothing gets us excited like an underground bartender battle. It just so happens that The Pint’s Godzilla Challenge falls on October 6th, the eve of the festival. Prime yourself for wine with a battle royale that pits Japan against New York, as Nikka Spirits take on Long Island Spirits in a test of elegance and technique.

Only a limited number of tickets are available for each of the private events on the festival’s website. Worcester’s top influencers will be there. Will you?

This article originally appeared on Worcester Wine Festival and is re-published with their permission.

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Jackie Cohen, Real Estate Agent & Accredited Staging Professional