Kennett Summerfest will celebrate exceptional local wineries and distilleries, bringing together wine, spirits, cheese, art, and live music in a sophisticated festival atmosphere. Limited tickets are now available, including a few tickets to an exclusive food and wine connoisseur event that includes early admission to the festival.
The inaugural Summerfest on Sunday, June 12th, will give ticket holders the unique opportunity to taste wines from some of the best local and regional wineries, paired with cheeses from Talula’s Table as well as mixed drinks featuring spirits from local distilleries and Barefoot Botanicals mocktails for designated drivers. Live music by Bryan Tuk + The Big Brass Ones, wine-centric shopping, food trucks, and a curated pop-up al fresco gallery of local artists will all combine to create a Sunday afternoon to savor.
For those who are interested in an exceptional Summerfest experience, very limited tickets are also still available for an exclusive pre-Summerfest “Farm & Vine” three-course meal by award-winning Verbena BYOB chef Scott Morozin with wine pairings from Casa Carmen. Poet-philosophers and masters of their crafts, Chef Scott and Enrique Pallares (co-owner of Casa Carmen) will share their behind-the-scenes stories around the food and wine pairings they’ve brought together. This intimate “Farm & Vine” event will be held in the beautiful setting of Work2gether, beginning at 12:30pm and followed by early admission to Kennett Summerfest.
The regular Summerfest event will take place on the 100 block of South Broad Street from 3pm to 7pm. The Summerfest ticket price includes an inaugural Summerfest tasting glass and unlimited tastings of wines and cocktails and a cheese plate curated by Talula’s Table. A jazz trio will play until 5pm, and Tuk + The Big Brass Ones, with their fresh, fun sound and contemporary take on New Orleans-style jazz, will play from 5pm to 7pm. Led by Kennett Square’s own Bryan Tuk, this group features some of the region’s best young jazz musicians from all across Pennsylvania. Summerfest, which is a fundraising event for Kennett Collaborative, also coincides with the final day to enjoy the Kennett Blooms: Floral Flash installations throughout town.
A Timely Event for the Region
“People love our Kennett Brewfest and Winterfest events, and wine enthusiasts have been asking us for years to create a wine-centered event,” says Kennett Collaborative Executive Director Bo Wright. “With the local wine scene really coming into its own as long-tended vines come of age and local vitners producing some great wines that are winning awards and being widely recognized, we decided this was the right time to create this event. We’re also happy to be supporting and showcasing local artists, partnering with local businesses, and bringing hundreds of people here to see all that Kennett Square has to offer.”
Some may be surprised to learn that Pennsylvania ranks fourth nationally in grape cultivation. With its moderate climate and hilly topography, in addition to microclimates with good elevation, soil composition, and drainage, Pennsylvania is growing into a serious place for refined and elegant wines. Local Chester County wines have been receiving national accolades for years, and as the vines that local vintners have been patiently tending for decades mature, wine enthusiasts both here and further afield are enjoying the (fermented) fruits of their hard work and perseverance.
One Local Winery’s Story
Grace Winery Brand Manager Cory Ruggiero agrees that the time is ripe for an event like Summerfest. “The Brandywine Valley is taking off as a wine-growing region and producing some very good vintages,” he says. Every wine tells a story, and ticket holders will taste a unique combination of history and terroir in the French-inspired wines that Grace Winery will be bringing to Summerfest. “The style of our wines is dry to semi-dry, which you don’t really find a lot in Pennsylvania,” says Ruggiero. “This style also complements the farm-to-table cuisine we serve at the Inn.”
The farmhouse which is now the Inn at Grace Winery dates back to 1734 and was commandeered by British troops during the Revolutionary War. The officers slept in the house while the soldiers stayed in the barn which is now the tasting room. Today, a variety of grapes flourish in the limestone-rich soil which continues to yield up the occasional button or coin from this era. In the early 1990s, when owner Chris Le Vine inherited the property from his sister Gracie, he named the inn, and the winery he started with the first vines planted in 2008, in her honor. The distinction is important, says Ruggiero, because there’s another extraordinary Grace in the family tree as well—Le Vine’s aunt, Grace Kelly.
Grace Winery is an elegant venue for weddings and other events, and the Inn offers beautiful accommodation as well as three-course seasonally inspired farm-to-table dinners on the weekends. Ruggiero describes executive chef Dan Wood’s approach to cooking with the best local ingredients as classic, with a flair that celebrates his Southern roots. With the recent purchase of an adjoining property and a newly planted field of sauvignon blanc, Grace Winery continues to grow.
Grace Winery’s head winemaker Andrew Yingst calls their wines “a labor of love” and invites Kennett Summerfest-goers to taste the unique terroir of this storied earth in the heart of the Brandywine Valley. Grace Winery will be pouring a pinot gris and a chardonnay and rosé, as well as two reds—1734 and Dragonfly. “Dragonfly is a nice blend of syrah, which we import from an organic vineyard in California, and our own cabernet sauvignon. It’s our version of a pinot noir—sweet on the front with tannin and oak on the back,” says Ruggiero.
Grace Winery is the northernmost winery in a Brandywine Valley wine trail that includes Summerfest participants Stargazers Vineyard and Honey Lane Winery to the west and then south to Harvest Ridge Winery in Toughkenamon, Paradocx Vineyard in Landenberg, and Wayvine in Nottingham. Other confirmed wineries include Casa Carmen Wines, which got its start on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and will open its doors in West Grove later this year. Lancaster County’s Vox Vineti will also be bringing their beautiful, single vineyard Bordeaux blends to Summerfest and Dressler Estate will be bringing their dry, wine-like ciders for participants to sample. More wineries are being added all the time, so check the Summerfest website for a regularly updated list of confirmed participants. In addition, Kennett Square’s very own award-winning West Branch Distilling and Coatesville’s Spring House Spirits will be sampling a variety of mixed drinks created with their locally crafted spirits.
Ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase bottles of wines and spirits they enjoy, with Kennett Collaborative providing a wine check and Summerfest wine totes. Organizers urge Summerfest participants to make their reservations now at their favorite Kennett Square restaurant for lunch before, or dinner after, the event—and to leave time to walk through town to take in the beautiful Kennett Blooms: Floral Flash installations. Floral Flash will feature three different installations on State Street, one on South Broad Street, and another two on Birch Street, creating a great walkable “trail” for people to follow to take them all in.
Summerfest, a sister event to Kennett Brewfest and Winterfest, is a fundraiser for Kennett Collaborative, the nonprofit that helps make Kennett thrive through programs and events including Light Up the Square, Kennett Blooms, the KSQ Farmers Market, the How We Build Matters Speaker Series, the Holiday Village Market, and Third Thursdays on State Street.