The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

February 27, 2013

Festival attracts wine lovers near and far

By Justin Jones, Staff Writer

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 — Wine lovers walked away with bottles of old favorites and new blends from the Winter Wine Festival in Albemarle Saturday.

The event, which was hosted by Albemarle Downtown Development Corporation (ADDC), saw hundreds from across the county and beyond visit Market Station for the fourth annual event.

“It’s good advertising,” said Greg McCollister from Uwharrie Vineyards.

“That’s one of the main reasons we’re here. And also since we’re located here in Stanly County, we want to have a presence here and this (festival) is really good for us.”

Twelve local and regional vendors participated in the event. They were: Baker Buffalo Creek Vineyards, Dennis Vineyards, Fiddlers Vineyard, Little River Vineyards, Morgan Ridge Vineyards, Native Vines Winery, Owl’s Eye Winery, Stony Mountain Vineyards, Treehouse Vineyards, Uwharrie Vineyards, Weathervane Winery and Woodmill Winery.

While many came to stock up on some of their favorites, some of the vendors said they enjoy coming to the festival to be able to interact with buyers.

“It’s just a nice festival. It’s not nearly as crowded as some of them in the summer and it’s a nice time of year to do it,” said Frank Hannah from Owl’s Eye Vineyard and Winery.

“Just the people and the atmosphere,” said Ron Walker from Native Vines Winery.

“It’s a great place to be. Your true wine tasters and lovers will come out despite the weather.”

ADDC Executive Director Kathy Almond said ADDC continues to host the wine festival because of the strong presence wineries have in and around the county.

“Agriculture is important to Stanly County. It’s a great fit and this is a good time of year for them, too, because they’re not harvesting or bottling,” she said.

Almond said the Winter Wine Festival is a top fundraiser in the operating budget for ADDC properties such as Market Station. Local sponsors jumped on board to help make the event possible.

“Without the support of Bank of Stanly as well as Harris Teeter, we would not have been able to do this,” Almond said.

Friends Courtney Lail and Chasity Vinson made their way to the festival, each looking for a wine that would grab their attention.

“I came to find a different wine, taste them and see what’s different about them,” Lail said.

Both women said they enjoyed getting ideas and suggestions from the vendors.

By the end of the day, they seemed to have found some blends that were worth buying.

“I like blackberry, and I like the nectar. I just know I like sweet wine, It has to be sweet,” Vinson said.

While Vinson and Lail were shopping around for a sweet wine, Ted and Brenda Stiller were racking up bottles from three different vendors.

“The old favorites, or at least the majority,” Brenda Stiller said of what they were planning to buy.

Stiller described her wine selections as “something between dry and sweet.”

“One that’s a good taste but doesn’t leave an aftertaste in your mouth,” she said.

The Stillers spent time talking to many vendors, but left with purchases from Dennis Vineyards, Morgan Ridge Vineyards and Uwharrie, from which they purchased a red velvet blend.

“So far we’ve bought 11, but we haven’t left yet,” Stiller said.