Eat and drink your way through Las Vegas wine and food festivals

It used to be when you talked about Las Vegas and food in the same sentence you were talking about a cheap buffet. But these days Las Vegas is one of the culinary capitals of the U.S. We’ve got celebrity chefs, gourmet restaurants and the world’s top sommeliers. We also know how to party. And some really smart people decided to combine the two and throw a bunch of food and wine festivals.

Festivals are a great way to interact with chefs, try bites from a lot of different restaurants and eat dishes from restaurants that might not normally be in your price range. As a bonus, the food is usually accompanied by lots of potent cocktails.

Las Vegas has a lot of upcoming festivals where you can eat and drink your fill of everything from food truck fare to cuisine from the finest French restaurants.

Mark your calendars and start doing some extra workouts. Here are some of the festivals we’re looking forward to this season:

Champagne corks will be flying at UNLVino’s Bubble-Licious event


April 16 – 18, 2015

Start preparing your liver now for this three-day celebration of wine and spirits.

The 41st annual UNLVino will showcase an array of international beverages and raise millions of scholarship dollars for students of UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. That’s a winning combination.

Things kick off with Bubble-Licious at The Venetian Las Vegas’ Doge’s Palace Plaza on April 16 from 7 – 10 p.m. Pop open a variety of Champagnes and sparkling wines while enjoying small plates from The Venetian and Palazzo’s collection of restaurants, as well as James Beard Award-winning Chef Daniel Boulud, who will be honored with the Dom Pérignon Award of Excellence.

Trade your champagne flutes for sake cups on April 17 and head to Sake Fever at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa. The evening will feature a variety of sakes, Japanese spirits and cocktails, plus cuisine from some of the city’s top restaurants.

Topping it all off is the main event April 18. The Grand Tasting at Paris Las Vegas offers guests a taste of dozens of premium beverages as well as entertainment from Frankie Moreno and cuisine from UNLV’s culinary students and celebrated Vegas restaurants like DW Bistro, André’s, O Face Doughnuts, Fleur by Hubert Keller and more.

François Payard will be one of the chefs featured at Vegas Uncork’d

Vegas Uncork’d

April 23 – 26, 2015

If you like food, you need to be in Vegas for this festival. Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit is returning to Aria, Bellagio, Caesars Palace and MGM Grand for its ninth year of wining and dining with celebrity chefs.

Chefs featured at this year’s events include Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Gordon Ramsay, Julian Serrano, François Payard, Masa Takayama, Michael Mina, Guy Savoy, Emeril Lagasse and more.

Some of the events are already sold out but tickets still remain for amazing opportunities to eat gourmet food and chat up your favorite star chef. We recommend the Grand Tasting on April 24 at Caesars Palace. Enjoy a staggering variety of signature dishes prepared by more than 50 award-winning chefs with free-flowing wines and spirits from around the world.

Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour will feature top-scoring selections

Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour Las Vegas

May 2, 2015

More than 200 of the world’s finest wineries will be pouring their best bottles at this event at The Mirage. You’ll drink hard-to-find wines and Wine Spectator’s top-scoring selections and you can mingle with winemakers and the magazine’s editorial team. All of that plus a light buffet, and a souvenir Riedel wine glass? Sign us up. Tickets are $225 and benefit the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation.

Crowds get their fill at Foodie Fest

Great American Foodie Fest

April 30 – May 3, 2015

Food truck fans will be in food truck heaven at the annual Foodie Fest at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Picture yourself surrounded by more than 50 food trucks and vendors from across the country.

Participating trucks will include local favorites such as Fukuburger and Dragon Grille. Other trucks will include California-based Jogasaki Sushi Burrito, Tornado Potato, Frach’s Fried Ice Cream (yes, please) and “Great Food Truck Race” season five winner, The Middle Feast. Q UP Barbeque from Arizona and Lobster Lady from Maine will also be serving up tasty food.

If you can pull yourself out of your food coma, you can also enjoy carnival games, live entertainment and more.

General admission starts at $8 per day in advance. VIP tickets, which include a covered area, passed appetizers and desserts, a deluxe open bar, beer and wine tastings and chef demonstrations, start at $75.

Wine Fest, photo courtesy of Golden Nugget

Wine Fest

May 15 – 17, 2015

Raise a glass to three days of wine tastings, food, live entertainment and more at the seventh annual Wine Fest at Golden Nugget Las Vegas.

Oenophiles (aka wine geeks) can sip on the finest selections from California, Oregon and Washington and dine at receptions hosted by notable winemakers. The event will begin with a poolside wine and jazz reception on May 15, at the H20 Poolside Bar. Priced at $45 per person, the evening will include tastings and meet-and-greets with winemakers.

The Pacific Northwest Grand Tasting will be held on May 16, allowing guests to sample some of the finest wines from the region while enjoying appetizers, live music and a silent auction. Tickets start at $125 per person.

There’s nothing better on Sunday than a good brunch. Drink champagne and listen to live jazz from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 17. The brunch, priced at $75 per person, will feature classic favorites, made-to-order crêpes, a deluxe bloody Mary bar and sparkling wines.

Wine Fest will conclude with the “Wine Down with the Winemakers” reception from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday at The Hideout Pool. Priced at $30 per person, guests will relax at poolside cabanas while chatting with winemakers and sampling selections from various vineyards.

The Las Vegas Epicurean Affair at the Palazzo pool

The Las Vegas Epicurean Affair

May 21, 2015

One of Las Vegas’ favorite food and drink festivals returns to The Palazzo this spring. The swanky soirée, sponsored by the Nevada Restaurant Association, features bites from notable restaurants from around the city, along with a premier selection of libations.

Chef José Andrés will be the celebrity chef host of the event this year. VIP ticket holders will experience an exclusive meet and greet with him, as well as enjoy tastes from one of his newest Las Vegas restaurant, Bazaar Meat at SLS.

All guests will spend the evening poolside at The Palazzo indulging in the best cuisine and cocktails offered from establishments both on and off the Strip. Participants from previous years have included Bouchon, db Brasserie, Delmonico Steakhouse, LAVO, Mint Indian Bistro, Tao Asian Bistro, Texas de Brazil, Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio, N9NE Steakhouse, Ferraro’s and many more. Tickets start at $100. All proceeds go toward funding the Nevada Restaurant Association’s educational programs.

Las Vegas Wine & Food Festival will serve a wide variety of tastes from area restaurants

The Las Vegas Food & Wine Festival

Sept. 12, 2015

Las Vegas Wine & Food Festival, held at the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa, allows you to taste food from a wide variety of the city’s top restaurants.

Food will be served from Mastro’s Ocean Club, Aureole, Roy’s, The Capital Grille, Hearthstone, TAO, BLT Burger, Todd English P.U.B., LAVO, Cantina Laredo, Scarpetta, Zenshin Asian Restaurant, FireFly Tapas Kitchen, Yardbird, Monta Ramon,Bachi Burger, STK, NOVE Italiano, Lao Sze Chuan, and many more.

Beverage selections include everything from wine to tequila, beer and limoncello.

All the proceeds from the Las Vegas Wine & Food Festival will benefit educational scholarships.  Tickets start at $100.


It’s not that warm in Minnesota. I know this from spending half my life freezing in the northern part of the state. So 20 years ago, I decided to thaw out and traded in scarves and mittens for tank tops and flip-flops (Take that, polar vortex!). I swapped snow for 300 days of sun a year. I may not have been born here, but there are hotels that haven’t lasted in Vegas as long as I have. The Sands, Hacienda, Aladdin, Desert Inn and the Stardust too. I've been to my fair share of implosion parties. (Yeah, that’s a thing.) As a writer for, I've applauded hundreds of shows, explored every major hotel in town and raised a few glasses at most of the city's bars and clubs. Now I'm the resident foodie here. I write about all things dining — from $3.99 shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate to the finest sushi at Nobu, and everything in between.