City Buzz: Raise a glass at Leeds’ new wine festival

Cocktails in the City, Leeds.
Cocktails in the City, Leeds.
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THE dust has barely settled from the sold-out Cocktails in the City event last week but plans are already in the pipeline for another booze-fuelled festival.

The recent cocktail showcase by some of Leeds’ best bars was a clear hit with punters at Leeds Town Hall, who flocked in their hundreds to be at the event.

Sipping on concoctions from 20 bars, visitors enjoyed cocktails in the clock tower, prohibition drinks in the courtroom, secret bars in the Victorian cells, a street food market in the crypt and a games room.

But now that the martini glasses and muddlers have been packed away, it’s time for another drinks festival to move in.

And this time, it’s of the wine variety.

The first ever Grapeful event will come to Leeds Town Hall next month and is dedicated to the making of – and drinking of – wine.

The two-day event starts on Saturday, May 23 and runs for 10 whole hours each day – from 12pm to 10pm– so take it steady if you’re planning on getting there early.

For £25 a ticket, visitors can sample 100 wines from around the world, take part in masterclasses, meet winemakers and representatives and soak up some live music.

Food from local producers will also be available, with cheese from Leeds-based George and Joseph Cheesemongers and charcuterie from popular city centre venue The Reliance.

With your ticket you also get a commemorative glass and guide, so we’re pretty much sold.

The whole event is run by the people behind the Leeds International Beer Festival, so it seems we’ll all be in good hands.

If wine’s not your thing though, have you heard about the Leeds Gin Festival?

Returning to the town hall on Saturday, July 18, it’s expected to attract hundreds of people who will be able to sample around 100 different types of gin.

And if you didn’t get your hands on a ticket for the Cocktails in the City event, there’s always Leeds Loves Cocktails.

The week-long festival returns from June 1 to 7 and is set to be bigger and better than ever this year.

With 40 bars already signed up, there will be a whole host of events at various venues across the city, from tastings to masterclasses and more.

The exact details are still to be confirmed and are being kept under wraps for now but we’ll get the information to you as soon as we have it.

You may have noticed that we’ve focussed purely on the alcohol-based festivals in this article.

But in the past City Buzz has been quick to champion other local events such as the upcoming Leeds Indie Food Festival and the Live at Leeds music festival.

The sheer number of quality festivals in Leeds is fantastic and speaks volumes for what is an undeniably thriving city.

But it’s interesting to note just how many festivals we have that are dedicated solely to drink.

Whilst Leeds is already known for its buzzing music scene and eclectic dining scene, it’s impressive to think we could also be putting ourselves on the map within the drinks world as well.