I’ve been to Wiederkehr many times to eat, to try wines, and to tour the cellars. But I’ve yet to make it there during the annual Weinfest. Celebrating 46 years, the festival will take place this weekend on Saturday, Sept. 26. Once again, I have a conflict and can’t be there. But I wanted to share the information so others don’t miss it.
Weinfest begins early with tours of the historic cellars at 8:30 a.m. Other activities throughout the day include the ever-popular grape stomp; the Stein Stemmen
(throwing large rocks similar to a shot-put); Baum Stossen (log toss
); Wine Barrel Rolling Contest; Alpine Horn Blowing Contest, and more. You can enter the games or just watch.
The tasting room is always a popular place where visitors may sample award-winning Wiederkehr wines at no charge.
There is plenty of food, of course –
sausage, knackwurst, bratwurst, and hot apple strudel, just to mention a few.
Buy tickets in advance or the day of the festival for the Festival Dinner in the Weingarten.
Show bands provide continuous entertainment throughout the day, and free polka lessons are available. A free, open tram takes festival-goers on a tour of the vineyards, and horse-drawn carriage rides go by the vineyards and round the 34-acre Alpine Lake. Vendors sell arts and crafts. St. Mary’s Church opens for visitors to tour.
Built entirely by immigrants who volunteered their labor, the historic church is decorated with murals for which the area’s
early residents posed as models.
Along with these special events are the appealing characteristics of Weiderkehr’s that keep visitors coming back all year long. On the National Register of Historic Places, the Weinkeller Restaurant serves Old World cuisine and is located in the winery’s original hand-dug cellar. It was voted
“Most Romantic” and “Best Ethnic” restaurant numerous times in the Arkansas Times’ People’s Choice Awards.
The Wiederkehr family is celebrating 129 years of history in the Arkansas River Valley.
Wiederkehr Village is located at exit 41 off Interstate 40. Follow the signs to the grounds of Wiederkehr Wine Cellars. Visit www.wiederkehrwines.com or call 1-800-622-WINE for festival details.
Admission to the grounds is free.
Festival-goers can also c
heck out Wiederkehr’s new Wine Country Tourist Center at exit 41 on I-40, which houses Wiederkehr Village Wine and Spirits, and the Swiss Family Bistro. The latter offers family-style meals, a gift shop, and wine tasting room. All are open seven days a week.