Large crowd savors good weather and fare at Wine & Food Festival
Vinton – After a week of rain and dreary weather a crowd of approximately 850 people came out to enjoy the sunshine and festivities at The Vinton Wine & Food Festival on May 21st, presented by WSLS 10.
“I think people have been cooped up all week and are anxious to get out and enjoy the weather” said H.T. Page, owner of Brooks Mill Winery at Smith Mountain Lake, noting that the event was a lot busier this year than last year’s. “Last year we had around 400 people show up” said Angie Chewning Lewis, Executive Director of the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce, “All of wineries reported they sold two – three times more than last year!”
The annual event is held mainly on the lawn at the Vinton War Memorial and has grown considerably since their inaugural year last year. While last year inside was accessible with a VIP ticket only and there were no vendors, this year it was open to all with vendors set up throughout the main room. “We wanted to have it open to everyone and have it be like a marketplace inside” explained Lewis, noting that they had 28 different vendors inside. Items being sold inside ranged from handcrafted jewelry to mosaic tiled pieces from Mosaics by Kathy, to items from Tomboy Tools.
Outside a large tent was set up, under which people could taste samples from nine different local wineries and vineyards, along with treats from places such as Sweet Keisters and Baylee’s Best Chocolates. Among the most popular drinks of choice was Sangria, a mixed beverage made from red wine, fruits, and spices, with most of the wineries offering their version of the drink alongside their wine selections. Outside the tent a local brewery was on hand. Big Daddy Brewing Company served samples of their beers to the beer lovers among the crowd.
Wine and food seminars were also held on the lawn. Vinton native John Boyer, aka the Plaid Avenger, a wine geography professor at Virginia Tech showcased Virginia wins and shared his prospective with the crowd through a discussion that was both entertaining as well as informative. Food demonstrations were done by Brenda Johnson of Teaberry’s Restaurant and Chef Roberto Capuno of Virginia Western Community College Culinary School.
Funds raised from the popular event go directly to the Vinton Area Chamber of Commerce. For those who might’ve missed this year’s event go ahead and mark your calendars for next year, as the date has already been decided. The third annual Vinton Wine and Food Festival will be held on May 19, 2012 and will be an event you surely don’t want to miss!
-Story by Carrie Cox