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Syracuse Wine Festival

What do you need to know about the Syracuse Wine Festival, other than, of course, the dates, times, and location?

That it is truly a “festival,” and all that that implies.

It’s wine, spirits, food, music, and most of all – fun. It’s a celebration. A time to get together with friends and family and enjoy the bounty of our state, its farms, wineries, distilleries, specialty items, and foods.

There’s no need to explain the “why” of a festival, the fun, anticipation and memories say it all. But I was curious about the “how” – as in, how did this festival get started?

I spoke with Tim and Jenny Cianciola about the genesis of the Festival, and it seems that they’ve been in the business of putting on events, festivals, and juried expos through their Vermont-based Craftproducers organization for quite a while. Tim was also working on a yearly balloon fest at the Saratoga County Fair, and there became acquainted with a man looking for a partner to produce New York wine festivals. When his partner decided to dedicate himself to another business, Tim and Jenny folded Empire State Wine Events into Craftproducers, and one of the benefits to us here, in Syracuse and Central New York, is the Syracuse Wine Festival.

Back to that idea of “festival,” it’s worth noting that while wine is certainly the focus, and you’ll be enjoying unlimited samples of wines and spirits from across the state (and purchasing take-home bottles which will be conveniently stored for you in the holding area til you’re ready to head home), you’re also going to experience a whole world of other fun activities that pair well with your favorite New York State wines, spirits, and cider. And an array of specialty food and novelty items will be available for you to try – confectionaries, beauty items, sauces, soaps, candles, jerkies, cheeses, and so much more.

Music is a given – and while dedicated DJ Tom Soccocio, Jr. spins your favorites, you can step onto the dance floor or into the photo booth – complete with a suite of fun and funny props – to record your good times with friends. You’ll go home with a printed photo strip, and you can text or email your images to let your out of town friends know what they’re missing!

Maybe you enjoy getting creative while you sip? This year the “Artzy Nana,” Diana Myers, will be offering a free guided 20 minute Paint ‘n Sip lesson to get your artistic juices flowing.

Or perhaps you had a long week (and maybe we’re still shoveling snow as April draws near)? Well fear not, the festival has booked Hand in Health chair massages – just $1 a minute for anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Queue up quickly, as I will bet this venue will be popular! You just sit down in a specially-designed chair and relax.

For some, relaxing means game time – and once again, you’re in for a treat with games like chess, checkers, or Connect 4 to entertain you and your friends.

And three fabulous food trucks will be on-site, conveniently parked just outside the venue, so you can purchase a snack or a meal – or you can order indoors if you’d prefer. Either way, if you’re hungry, the Festival has you covered. Serving up delicious foods this year are Ji-Woo’s Korean Seoul Food (https://www.facebook.com/JiwoosKoreanFood), PB&J’s Lunch Box (https://www.facebook.com/pbandjslunchbox), and Callé Tropical (https://www.facebook.com/calletropical).

Along with your ticket, you’ll get a wine glass with a memorable insignia that you take home after the event, along with any bottled purchases that you’ve made to enjoy later.

Jenny invited us to look over the many photos of past Festivals, “to get a feel for the vibe of the event. It’s hard to put into words, but when you see the pictures, you’ll get a sense of the movement, energy, and fun of it all.”  She added that they’re back to “full force, and more” following the limitations of the past couple of years, with “all booth space sold out!” 

And that means a great time for all of us!

Sat Apr 8 2023 at 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm

CNY Regional Market, 2100 Park St, Syracuse, NY

Building F

Session 1: 1:00pm – 4:00pm ($25)

Session 2: 6:00pm – 9:00pm ($30)

VIP: 5:00 – 9:00 ($35)



Nancy Roberts