Cincy Winefest cancels this weekend’s grand tastings, other large events due to Coronavirus

Some limited-seating dinners and events will go on as planned, including winery dinners

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

***UPDATE (March 11, 2020)***

The 2020 Cincinnati International Wine Festival has canceled its grand tastings, education sessions and collectors tasting room events that had been scheduled for this Friday and Saturday, March 13-14, due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 threat organizers announced today, Wednesday March 11.

The public events were to be held at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

A handful of limited-seating events that are part of the festival will continue as planned, including the Winery Dinner Series set to be held at 14 restaurants across the city on Thursday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m., and the Charity Auction & Luncheon, set for Saturday, March 14 at the Hilton Netherland Plaza.

Festival leadership is taking the proper steps to mitigate risk at the smaller-scale dinners and luncheon to ensure they will be safe and sanitary for all attendees, according to a Cincinnati International Wine Festival release.

“With that in mind, we ask, for the benefit of fellow attendees, that if any of our guests are experiencing flu-like symptoms, to please stay home from these small, limited seating events,” festival organizers said.

This is the 30th annual Cincinnati International Wine Festival. The festival benefits 35 Cincinnati-area and Northern Kentucky non-profit organizations, and it has donated more than $6 million to local charities since its inception.

***ORIGINAL STORY (Feb. 25, 2020)***

Wine enthusiasts have plenty of opportunity this spring and summer to enjoy world-class wines and tasting experiences without leaving the state.

The largest-scale wine event is the Cincinnati International Wine Festival, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary with some new features to honor its international roots. The event, which benefits 35 Cincinnati-area and Northern Kentucky non-profit organizations, will be held March 12-14, mostly in downtown Cincinnati. The festival has donated more than $6 million to local charities since its inception.

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The weekend-long celebration consists of grand tastings of more than 700 wines from more than 200 wineries, as well as gourmet dining, education sessions, a new “collectors tasting room,” a charity auction and luncheon, silent auction and other events. Last year’s events drew more than 5,000 people.

The festival kicks off with winery dinners the evening of March 12, where guests will dine on special five-course menus and wine pairings at more than a dozen of Cincinnati’s restaurants.

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The festival continues March 13-14 at the Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St. in downtown Cincinnati, with a variety of wine-tasting and education sessions.

Three separate large-scale grand tastings will be held Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening at the convention center. Advance tickets to the grand tastings range from $70 to $85.

“Whether you’re a seasoned wine expert or an intrigued beginner, there truly is something for everyone at the wine festival,” Cincinnati International Wine Festival Executive Director Kelly Weissmann said in a release. “From an intimate dinner date, to a night out with friends, I guarantee you will have a fun and memorable weekend, all for a great cause.”

To view the full schedule of events for the Cincinnati International Wine Festival, and to buy tickets, go to

For those with a sweet tooth and are up for a road trip, the 17th Annual Grand River Valley Ice Wine Festival is happening across three consecutive Saturdays in March: March 7, 14 and 21, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Saturday at wineries located in Ashtabula and Lake counties in northeast Ohio, northeast of Cleveland.

Participating wineries include: Debonné Vineyards, Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, Grand River Cellars Winery and Restaurant, Laurello Vineyards, St. Joseph Vineyards, CASK 307 and South River Vineyard.

Attendees can sample each winery’s ice wine and a complimentary appetizer. The cost is $7 at each winery. For more information, call 440-466-3485.

Closer to home, on March 21, the first-ever Darke County Spring Wine Festival will be held in Greenville to benefit the Darke County Humane Society. The festival will be held in two separate sessions, afternoon and evening, inside the “Paws Bingo Hall,” the Darke County Humane Society's fundraising center at 848 Martin St. in Greenville. The afternoon session runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the evening session from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with VIP tickets available to gain entrance one hour earlier.

Two other wine festivals are coming to the region later in the spring. The 3rd Annual Vintage Ohio South events, hosted by the Ohio Wine Producers Association, will be held from noon to 6 p.m. May 2 at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Springfield. And the Dayton History Fleurs de Fete is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. May 17 at Carillon Park in Dayton.

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