The five must-attend music festivals for wine and beer lovers

There is no shortage of fabulous concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area, but there are a few that rise to the top when it comes to wine, beer and food selections to enjoy as you rock out.

BottleRock, Napa Valley.

NAPA, Ca., April 26, 2016 – Nothing seems to go together better than live music and adult beverages. They help take the edge off your week and help you settle in for a rockin’ evening of wine and hip wiggling to your favorite tunes.

There is no shortage of fabulous concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area. But there are a few that rise to the top when it comes to wine, beer and food selections to enjoy as you rock out.

BottleRock Napa Valley 2015. Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds gets intimate with the crowd. Image: Dan Miller
BottleRock Napa Valley 2015. Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds gets intimate with the crowd. Image: Greg Miller

BottleRock Napa Valley

May 27 – 29, 2016, Memorial Day Weekend

BottleRock keeps getting better year after year. The fourth installment of this festival touts a musical line-up to impress, featuring: Stevie Wonder, Florence + The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Buddy Guy, Lenny Kravitz, Death Cab For Cutie, Grouplove, Kaleo, Cold War Kids, Ziggy Marley, Ozomatli, Fantastic Negrito, the Lumineers and 70 other artists! When you put a music festival adjacent to downtown Napa, there are some pretty high expectations for the wine being served (as there should be).

Don’t miss your chance to try wines from these fabulous wineries: Miner Family, Schramsberg, Hall, Etude, St. Supéry Estate, Cliff Lede and Chappellet. As with the wine, there are equally high expectations for the food, and once again the festival does not disappoint. Look for tasty morsels from: Atlas Social, Redd, Goose & Gander, Tarla Grill, Angéle, La Taberna, Ca’Momi, Bouchon Bakery, Oenotri and La Toque. If you’re the type of person that really just likes a cold beer while at an outdoor festival, you’re in luck, as a few SF Bay Area breweries will be pouring their ales to whet your palate, including: Napa Smith Brewery, Lagunitas and Anchor Steam.

Single day general admission to full weekend VIP passes are available starting at $139, plus fees. Buy your tickets in advance, this event will sell out.

2013 Festival Gala at Meadowood featuring Arturo Sandoval
Festival Gala at Meadowood featuring Arturo Sandoval

Festival Napa Valley (formerly Festival del Sole)

July 15-24, throughout Napa Valley

Festival Napa Valley is a ten-day celebration of art, music, dance, theater, wellness, cuisine and, of course, wine. This eleventh annual festival is truly a celebration of life, as the wine country lifestyle meets the big city arts scene with exclusive engagements by preeminent classical, opera, jazz and dance artists.

Napa Valley is the ideal backdrop to this fine fete. Guests will be able to witness breathtaking musical performances, taste the finest cuisine at vintner luncheons and winemaker dinners, and rub elbows with Napa Valley winemaking elite. One thing is for sure: guests attending Festival Napa Valley are treated to a spectacular experience that will tease and arouse all the senses.

Sight: your eyes will be treated with visions of rolling vineyards, iconic Napa Valley wineries, and the clarity of the fine wines you will be drinking. Sound: your ears will rejoice, taking in all the sounds of Festival Napa Valley. Touch: feel the weight of the wine glass in your hand, the marvelous mouthfeel that the wines possess and the amazing texture of the food you are eating. Smell: inhale the intoxicating aromas of wine country, including, of course, the wine. But also take in the nuances of the expertly crafted juice that glistens in your glass. Taste: once you’ve inhaled the wine in your glass, note whether it tastes as you expected it to taste, or if there is an unexpected surprise in the mid-palate or finish of the wine.

Visit the festival website for the full schedule and to purchase tickets.

Outside Lands Wine Lands Tent. Image: Sherrie Perkovich
Outside Lands Wine Lands Tent. Image: Sherrie Perkovich

Outside Lands San Francisco

August 5 – 7, 2016, Golden Gate Park

Outside Lands literally is a music, wine and food Mecca. They have WineLands and BeerLands folks! Seriously, what could be better than visiting WineLands as you are making the trek from one stage to the next through often foggy and cold Golden Gate Park in August?

At WineLands, you preload a card with $$ to spend either on tasting portions or full glasses of the wines being featured. You can even load up the card online before you get there to save time and get to drinking wine faster. Get there early as last year they ran out of their cool branded WineLands GoVino plastic glasses. If you have yours from last year, bring it. It will save you a buck or two.

Northern California is full of amazing wineries to choose from. Wine Lands allows you to do a walk-about tasting while never setting foot outside of Golden Gate Park. A few highlight wineries from last year include: AP Vin, Banshee, Bluxome Street, Claypool Cellars, Ridge, Red Car, Robert Sinskey, Sake One, Scharffenburger, and Wind Gap.

Being that this is an SF-born festival, it only seems right to drink SF Bay area beers at Outside Lands. So if craft brews are your thing, take a break from the bands and do a bit of beer tasting with these brewmeisters: 21st Amendment, Bear Republic, Drakes Brewing, Firestone Walker, Magnolia Brewery, Napa Smith, Stone Brewing and Half Moon Bay.

Tickets always sell out for this three-day musical journey. Buy them in advance.

Robert Mondavi Summer Concert Series.
Robert Mondavi Summer Concert Series.

Robert Mondavi Winery Summer Music Series, Napa Valley

Summer Months, 2016, Napa Valley

For the past few decades, the good folks at Robert Mondavi winery have been putting on a Summer Concert Series on the hallowed grounds of their winery. You will pinch yourself to be certain you are not dreaming as you set foot onto the lush green grass with vineyards as the backdrop to the sweet musical sounds of big named artists.

The Robert Mondavi talent line up will be released in April. But recent past artists have included Huey Lewis and the News, The Wallflowers, Lyle Lovett, Melissa Etheridge, ZZ Ward and Bruce Hornsby. If you dig into the archives from the 1970s and 1980s, you’ll find names such as Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson and Dave Brubeck on the list. And the name you’ll find most frequently on the the list is The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. That iconic fixture in the New Orleans jazz firmament has been performing hear nearly every year since 1971.

As the sun sets, pink, orange and purple will begin to emerge in the chilling summer night. You will curl your lips around a chilled glass of Mondavi’s favorite summer wine, Fumé Blanc, and all will be right in the world.

Get tickets in advance. And sign up for their mailing list now to be notified of the musical lineup this year. The line up will be announced in April.

Rodney Strong Vineyards Concert Series.
Rodney Strong Vineyards Concert Series.

Rodney Strong Summer Music Series, Sonoma County

Summer Months, 2016, Healdsburg

Rodney Strong Winery has been showcasing their summer concert series for 25 years now. Their stunning winery is a perfect backdrop to taking in some of the best acts of all time. Located just south of the town of Healdsburg, Rodney Strong is nestled in the sweeping vineyards of Russian River Valley. Guests are invited to pack a picnic, blankets or low chairs to sit on and curl up with a nice bottle of Rodney Strong wine. If you prefer to have a dedicated area and seat for the show, they also offer VIP seating with a bounty of RS wines to choose from as well. Past performers include: Al Green, Kenny Loggins, and George Benson.

Sign up for their mailing list to get information on the music lineup being announced in April.

Stern Grove Festival. SF Ballet. Image: Scott Wall
Stern Grove Festival. SF Ballet. Image: Scott Wall

BONUS: Stern Grove Festival, San Francisco

June 19 through August 21, 2016

This is a bonus festival because guests get to bring their own wine/beer/food to the shows. Stern Grove is a free music and performing arts show that has been going on in SF since 1938. In the belly of rustic and scenic Stern Grove Park in the Sunset District of San Francisco lies one of the best natural concert venues around. The shows are free to the public (donations are greatly appreciated to keep the free music flowing), and guests can bring wine, food, beer… whatever floats your fancy to imbibe and munch on while you’re there. So the quality of the wine/beer/food is really up to you. Recent past artists include: Ozomatli, Marcia Ball, SF Ballet and SF Symphony, The Zombies, The Funky Meters, Aaron Neville, and Ok Go!

Go and support a real SF legacy — the arts — and have a great time. VIP tickets are available in the form of reserving picnic tables in advance. See their website for the full 2016 schedule and line up for this year. The line up will be announced May 1.


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