The celebratory charms of Switzerland, which include stone tossing and grape stomping, can be found in Wiederkehr Village this weekend at the 50th annual WeinFest at Wiederkehr Wine Cellars. The day long Oct. 12 event is fun for the whole family.
WeinFest commemorates the rich heritage, culture, and harvest of Wiederkehr Wine Cellars, one of the oldest and largest wineries in mid-America. It is located on the southern slopes of the Ozark Mountains atop St. Mary’s Mountain, where the Wiederkehr family carries on a tradition of winemaking begun in 1880 when Johann Andreas Wiederkehr and his family emigrated from Switzerland to America. Vineyards surround the winery, which is designed in the Swiss alpine style overlooking the Arkansas River valley.
Activities for WeinFest include free wine tasting tours and tram rides through the vineyards. There will also be a car club and motorcycle show, arts and crafts, kids carnival, trail rides, and carriage rides. Cultural fun includes music and dancing in the Weingarten, Stein Stemmen 9stone toss), Baum Stossen (log toss), barrel rolling race, waiter and waitress tray race, and the ever-popular grape stomping contests.
A beer garden and concession stands featuring international foods serve your food and drink needs along with Weinkeller Restaurant. The original hand-dug wine cellar, now the site of the Weinkeller Restaurant featuring Swiss and European cuisine, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Also on the grounds, The Vintage 1880 Wine Shoppe sells wine, gourmet items, and wine-related gifts from corkscrews and wine stoppers to wine glasses and T-shirts. Wiederkehr also accommodates groups in its banquet hall and travelers in its RV park.
Wiederkehr serves an array of award-winning wines, from classic French varieties and dessert wines to sparkling wines and alcohol-free wines.
Wiederkehr Village is five miles south of Interstate 40, exit 41, on Ark. 186. Wiederkehr’s new store, located on I-40 at exit 41 is the Swiss Family Bistro, Gift Shop, & Liquor Store. The bistro serves Swiss specialties and American favorites cooked to order. It houses what Wiederkehr calls the “Wines of the World Tasting Room,” where visitors can taste wines from across the globe as well as Arkansas wines. The gift shop offers wine accessories and gifts, and the liquor store sells wine, beer and liquor. The bistro, gift shop, and liquor store are open seven days a week, and have free wireless internet access.
For more information on Wiederkehr Wine Cellars or Weinfest, visit www.wiederkehrwines.com or phone 800-622-WINE.