Foire aux Vins d’Alsace – wine festival
When house-sitting in Alsace, eastern France, we had an opportunity to participate the yearly Foire aux Vin’s wine festival in Colmar. The festival has been organized since 1948, so it really has a long history and traditions.
Without knowing much about the Foire beforehand, I guess we were expecting a wine festival where local producers have their own, small stalls for wine tasting and purchasing. So when arriving at the venue, Parc des Expositions et de Congrès de Colmar, we were quite surprised by the scale of this festival. Foire aux vins today is a full-grown concert festival and expo, with world-class artists and huge amount of exhibitors.
When entering the festival area, we walked past stalls selling everything from kitchen equipment to cars and from craft beer to full meals. At first we actually had some difficulties to find the wines, even though it should be the backbone of the whole fest. It turned out that there are only few wineries with their own stalls, but the winemakers have united into bigger groups instead. This means that you can taste similar wines from different producers in one stall, which is efficient, but lacks the charm of meeting the different producers and learning more about their products and methods.
On Monday afternoon the wine fair area was not too crowded, but towards the evening it started to get more busy. For big part of the visitors, the main reason to participate are the concerts, that are organized in the concert arena that is part of the venue. The performers this year included stars like Scorpions, Santana and Lenny Kravitz.
If you happen to be on a wine tour in Alsace at the time of this yearly festival, why not to pop by! The true beauty of the wine region of course lies in traveling around it, along the wine routes and past vineyards, visiting the local wineries. If you are not a French-speaker, it’s advisable to choose such wineries that advertise their tours and tastings in English (or in German).