25th Annual Harvest Festival is Oct. 4 & 5

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Steven David and Allison Archambauld stomp grapes at the Harvest Festival.

The sweet feeling of grapes squishing between your toes; wind in your hair, and straw poking your rear end on a haywagon ride through the vineyards; great food lovingly made with the best local ingredients; an inspired cooking demonstration by Chef Paul Mach.; intimate tasting seminars winemaking team Jon Hunt and Brian Barry; a carved pumpkin contest — it all takes place this weekend at the 25th Anniversary Harvest Festival Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 4-5. Admission and parking are free.

Hunt Country’s Harvest Festival began 25 years ago to bring the Branchport and Keuka Lake community together at a beautiful time of the year and raise money for the local volunteer fire department and churches. While staying true to that mission, the event now draws 2,000 people from Western and Central New York, Northern and Central Pennsylvania, and more distant areas. Chef Mach, Chef Mike Ditchfield, and culinary arts students from Penn College’s School of Hospitality have been central to the event’s success each year.

They will offer a menu made with local ingredients, including organic vegetables from Jonathan and Caroline Boutard Hunt’s Italy Hill Produce, and grass-fed meats.

Several wines will be launched, including a brand new dry Vidal Blanc, made from the same grapes as Hunt Country’s renowned Vidal Blanc Ice Wine. Hunt Country will be offering free standard wine tastings, as well as specialty wine tastings with chocolates or cheeses, and tours of their wine-making facilities and new geothermal heating and cooling system.

Family activities will add to the fun: Bring your own carved pumpkin to enter in the contest for a $100 gift card; grape-stomping, hay-wagon tours of the vineyards, and a 25-year collection of photo memories.

Be there

What: Harvest Festival

When: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Oct. 4; 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Oct. 5

Where: Hunt Country Vineyards, 4021 Italy Hill Rd., Branchport

Details: www.huntwines.com