Recap: 2015 National Harbor Food & Wine Festival

By: Candice Coleman

As someone who loves to sit in the sun, and drink, and be on the water, my time spent Sunday at the National Harbor Food and Wine Festival was nothing short of amazing. Located at the National Harbor in Prince George’s County on the Potomac River, the views across the water into Virginia are picturesque and if you’re lucky, you will see some planes landing at Reagan National Airport.

Once I was able to locate the exact area of the Wine and Food Festival, I got my glass and my wrist bands and was ready to go! I was immediately overwhelmed by all the booths housing a plethora of spirits and wines as well as the food trucks.

My first stop was to try Clifford Bay’s Sauvignon Blanc. This amazingly fresh and light fruity wine was just what I needed. I knew as soon as I took a whiff it was going to taste great. The grapefruit and passion fruit flavors definitely came through.

I soon made my way over to Skinnygirl cocktails and tasted the grapefruit margarita which was to die for, and right on time for Cinco de Mayo! While it wasn’t wine and I am not a fan of grapefruit, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

Another surprising highlight for me was trying Winecream. Wine and ice cream mashed together on an 80 degree day? It doesn’t get any better than that. Winecream is produced by Crossroad Co., a small business based out of Baltimore, MD. They produce a delicious, boozy frozen dessert made from Crossroad Co. house-made fruity wines and a premium ice cream base. I tried their pineapple winecream and immediately fell in love. Each scoop has the equivalent to 1 glass of wine!

I also had the opportunity to try amazing chocolates, cheeses, fruit preserves, macaroni and cheese with black truffles (amazing) and even an eggplant taco which was surprisingly amazing!


VIP Pier

The VIP area was a separate designated area housed on a pier. It was beautiful and allowed seating options (while minimal) for you to rest and enjoy your samples, both food and wine with views of the water. The gourmet food samples were absolutely divine, not to mention, the wine samples were more ample than the general admission area!

Because this was a secluded area, it was more calm, and not many lines so the tables were easier to approach to try your samples.


Signage and Directions

I am from the Maryland area, and didn’t anticipate any trouble finding the festival. I also expected very large foolproof signs upon entering the National Harbor, but to my surprise there weren’t any. After asking around, getting the wrong directions, and walking from the opposite end of the harbor, I finally found the festival.


The advertising for the event noted that you would be able to bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit and relax. That would have been perfect; however, with the main portion of the event taking place in an empty parking lot, it didn’t leave much room for laying anywhere to relax and enjoy your sips and bites. The grassy area was very limited, and far removed from the action. If you wanted somewhere to sit, it was in the VIP area (also limited) or leave to sit somewhere else and come back.


I had an amazing time at the festival, which was topped off by the great weather. I tried new wines as well as ate some things that I would have never imagined I’d try. While the $40 General Admission fee doesn’t seem that bad, the $55 VIP admission is definitely worth the extra $15.