Vintage Illinois 2021
September 18-19! Join us in Utica, Illinois for the state's largest wine festival.

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FAQs/TipsWineries

Here are some helpful tips to know about Vintage Illinois Wine Festival.

BUY YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE: Guests that purchase event tickets in advance will gain access to the event area one hour ahead of the scheduled starting time. Advance ticket holders also save money, as ticket prices increase by $10 if purchased at the gate on the day of the event.

BRING YOUR DRIVERS LICENSE OR STATE ID: All winetasting guests MUST be prepared to show photo identification to verify your legal age. No exceptions.

DESIGNATED DRIVER/NON-DRINKER GUESTS: We congratulate all guests that make a decision ahead of time to include a designated driver in their group. We also welcome non-drinkers. DD/ND guests will need to purchase an entry ticket (just $10 if done in advance), and will be required to wear a designated wristband to gain entry onto the event grounds at Carey Memorial Park.

WEATHER: This is an outdoor event located in a flat, grassy area at Carey Memorial Park in Utica. Guests should be prepared for all weather possibilities (remember, we are in Illinois, where we can experience all 4 seasons in a single day). Dress accordingly. Don’t forget your sunscreen, bug spray and anything else you might need to be comfortable for the day!  Vintage Illinois is a rain or shine event. However, in the case of unsafe conditions – lightning, tornado, earthquake, tsunamis, hurricanes, zombie apocalypse, etc., the event grounds will close until conditions are safe to re-open. *Please check our Facebook page for updates*

TICKET REFUNDS: All ticket sales are final, and we don’t offer exchanges or refunds. We’ve all learned a thing or two about risk since life as we knew it changed because of COVID-19. Event organizers, wineries and market vendors are all taking a risk, hoping for great weather and record-setting attendance. If you find yourself unable to attend we encourage you to sell or gift your ticket to another wine, music or food lover.

ENTRY PROCESS: Please line up in the correct place: we will have designated areas for advance ticket holders and those still needing to purchase a ticket to line up. The gate will open for advance ticket holders one hour ahead of the scheduled start time each day. All attendees MUST go through our security and check in process before gaining entry to the grounds, and this takes time. Please be considerate during the wait. Prepared attendees make the process go faster, so have your ID and tickets ready to view.

A NOTE ABOUT SECURITY: Outside alcohol is not allowed, so please leave your big, people-sized coolers at home. Smaller coolers and cooler bags that contain unopened water bottles and snacks are allowed.  Please use plastic storage containers and leave your chef knife set at home. Because the geographic footprint of this event is so large, we do encourage guests to bring a cart or wagon to help with movement of your personal items throughout the day. All items, including large purses, backpacks, wagons, etc… are subject to search. Weapons of any kind are not permitted.

FOOD AND BEVERAGES: Like we said above, outside alcoholic beverages are not allowed. You may bring food into the festival to enjoy; in fact, we encourage this. Snacks are always helpful when you’re enjoying #IllinoisWine. Hydration is also important. You may not bring in outside grills under any circumstance.  We will have food vendors, and our new location in Utica gives attendees access to local bars and restaurants as well. The entire Village is walkable. All coolers and bags are checked for outside alcohol by security prior to entering the festival grounds. All bottled water MUST be sealed.

TASTING: Properly banded attendees will receive a 1-ounce pour in exchange for each tasting ticket. Wineries will only pour into your event glass, so please don’t ask them to pour into anything different. Your event glass cannot be inside a wine sleeve at the time of your purchase. Tasting tickets may also be used to purchase a glass of wine from any of the wineries. Additional tasting tickets are available for purchase near the main entry and at our retail merchandise booth.

SEATING: The festival has a very limited number of seating options, so we encourage you to bring lawn chairs, blankets or something to sit on for the day. Other items, such as portable shelters (pop-up tents) and small tables are allowed. That said, your set-up MUST be considerate of other attendees. EVENT ORGANIZERS ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR PERSONAL ITEMS. No personal items may be left on the event property overnight (for those of you planning to attend the event on both Saturday and Sunday).

CHILDREN: While children are allowed into the festival area, this is an adult event, and no child or family activities are planned. Parents may wish to make alternative arrangements for their children’s care during the event. All children 5 and up need to purchase admission tickets.

PETS: Vintage Illinois is a service-dog friendly event. We love our cats, dogs and other critters as much as you do, but this event is for humans.  If you do bring your service-dog, make sure it is wearing an animal working harness, remains leashed, do not leave it unattended, and please, please, please use a potty bag.

SMOKING IS ALLOWED IN DESIGNATED AREAS ONLY

FAQs

Q1: Are dogs allowed at Vintage Illinois?

This is usually our top question. Vintage Illinois is a service-dog friendly event. We love our cats, dogs and other critters as much as you do, but this event is for humans. We are leaving our winery dogs at home, too! If you do bring your service-dog, make sure it is wearing an animal working harness, remains leashed, do not leave it unattended, and please, please, please use a potty bag.

Q2. Is Vintage Illinois a kid-friendly event?

While children are allowed into the event areas, we remind guests that this is an adult event, and no child or family activities are planned. Parents may wish to make alternative arrangements for their children’s care during the event. Non-drinking guests age 5 and older will need to purchase a Designated Driver/Non-Drinker entry ticket and will be required to wear a designated wristband to gain entry onto the event grounds at Carey memorial Park.

Q3. Will food be available?

Of course, and our new location and partnership with the Village of Utica opens up more possibilities for additional food vendors. All of the local restaurants are also within walking distance of the event.

Q4. Can I bring my own wine?

 Can you believe we STILL get asked this question?!? Unfortunately, the answer this year is the same as in the past: you can’t bring any alcoholic beverages with you onto the event grounds .It is illegal and we have to abide by Illinois State Law, which is complicated, 350 printed pages to be exact, and you can read all about it at: https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?”ActID=1404&ChapterID=26

Q5. Is there an event glass this year?

Yes, each wine taster will receive a complimentary 9 oz acrylic travel tumbler at check-in. Our eco-friendly stemless glasses are made from a crystal-clear blend of liquid polymer that’s BPA-free, shatterproof and super-sustainable, making for drinkware that’s all party and no foul!

Q6. Could we bring a picnic basket with food and wine?

Well, let us put it to you this way….you may bring the picnic basket of course. But we do ask you to consider leaving a little room in there for food items you will buy at the event. Our event vendors and local businesses are planning to serve you, and are ALL working VERY hard to help make this a first-class event. We prohibit any outside beverages (with the exception of unopened water bottles) from entering the festival site. Picnic baskets, coolers and bags are subject to search. Please support the festival vendors and local business community as much as possible.

Q7. Can I bring my cooler?

Please leave your big, people-sized coolers at home. Smaller coolers and cooler bags that contain unopened water bottles and snacks are allowed. Please use plastic containers and leave the chef knife sets at home. Because the geographic footprint of this event is so large, we do encourage guests to bring a cart or wagon to help with movement of your personal items throughout the day. A cooler on wheels would be great, just remember to leave some room for items you purchase at Vintage Illinois! All items, including large purses, backpacks, wagons, etc… are subject to search. Also – just a reminder here – weapons of any kind are not permitted.

Q8. Is there a designated driver or non-wine taster ticket?

We congratulate all guests that make a decision ahead of time to include a designated driver in their group. We also welcome non-drinkers. DD/ND guests will need to purchase an entry ticket (just $10 if done in advance), and will be required to wear a designated wristband to gain entry onto the event grounds at Carey Memorial Park.

Q9. Do I need a ticket to sit on the grass and enjoy the music?

Yes, you will need a ticket to come on to the grounds of the festival. Everyone needs to pay their fair share. If you don’t plan on sampling wine you will need to purchase the designated driver/non-drinker ticket. See info in question above.

Q10. There are a lot of wineries. Can I get more tasting tickets?

Absolutely! We welcome your purchase of additional tasting tickets at the check-in tent or the Illinois Wine retail booth.

Q11. Can I bring an umbrella or tent for shade?

The festival has a very limited number of seating options, so we encourage you to bring lawn chairs, blankets or something to sit on for the day. Other items, such as portable shelters (pop-up tents) and small tables are allowed. That said, your set-up MUST be considerate of other attendees. EVENT ORGANIZERS ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR PERSONAL ITEMS. No personal items may be left on the event property overnight (for those of you planning to attend the event on both Saturday and Sunday).

Q12. Is this a rain or shine event?

This is an outdoor event located in a flat, grassy area at Carey Memorial Park in Utica. Guests should be prepared for all weather possibilities (remember, we are in Illinois, where we can experience all 4 seasons in a single day). Dress accordingly. Don’t forget your sunscreen, bug spray and anything else you might need to be comfortable for the day!  Vintage Illinois is a rain or shine event. However, in the case of unsafe conditions – lightning, tornado, earthquake, tsunamis, hurricanes, zombie apocalypse, etc., the event grounds will close until conditions are safe to re-open. *Please check our Facebook page for updates*

Q12. I can no longer attend the fest, can I get a refund?

All ticket sales are final, and we don’t offer exchanges or refunds. We’ve all learned a thing or two about risk since life as we knew it changed because of COVID-19. Event organizers, wineries and market vendors are all taking a risk, hoping for great weather and record-setting attendance. If you find yourself unable to attend we encourage you to sell or gift your ticket to another wine, music or food lover..

Q13. Will the wineries and other vendors accept credit cards?

Most wineries and vendors are equipped to accept credit cards, but remember cash is king! Big events like this can drain mobile device resources and slow down the sales process, so please bring your cash just in case. If you get to Vintage and need more cash you will find several ATM machines around the downtown area. 

Q14. Why are there drink tickets?

Because there are laws, we are licensed and have to stay in compliance to keep it that way. It’s complicated, 350 printed pages to be exact. Each drink ticket can be exchanged for a 1 oz sample.

Q15. I’d like to bring a large umbrella for shade. Is that OK?

We provided some info related to this question in Q11 above. If you must have your own private shade we encourage you to find a spot along the outside of the lawn area as well for your personal sun umbrella. Anyone blocking another guest’s view will be asked to relocate to another spot.

Q16. Will there be enough space for all the attendees with the location in Utica?

When we were at Matthiessen State Park we had about 2.5 acres of event space. In the Village we have over 3.5 acres to work with and parking will be so much easier. We are also working on off-site parking and shuttle options, so please follow us on Facebook for updates.

Q17. What about masks?

We will be following IL COVID guidelines for Vintage IL. As of today, Illinois advises that individuals “consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings.” If you are going to be riding the public shuttles from the parking areas, you will be required to wear a mask while on the bus.

Q18. Where do we park? 

Scroll to the middle of our Directions page for a map of the parking areas.

Q19. Where are each of the wineries located? What about the restrooms? Where is the festival entrance located?

Scroll to the bottom of our Directions page for a complete map of the festival grounds.