Second wine fest even more successful than first
KULPMONT - With the sun shining and the corks popping, the second annual Knights of Columbus Wine Fest was an even bigger success than the inaugural event a year ago.
Grand Knight David Shinskie said he originally expected the turnout to be a little lighter - for two reasons,
"We have the Penn State-Michigan game later today, and there is a wedding in the Lentini family, who are big wine fans," Shinskie said. "So we could be a little lighter than last year."
A few seconds after Shinskie made that joke, he was informed that at 2 p.m., the attendance mark had passed last year's as 1,500 people came onto the Holy Angels picnic grounds by then to sample the product of 12 different wineries.
"We are very thankful we have sunny and pleasant weather today and all these great people came out to support not only our organization, but also Holy Angels Church," Shinskie said.
For the admission price, attendees walked around with their complimentary wine glasses, tasting many of the wines that makers brought across the state for sampling. Some even paid a little extra to enter the grounds an hour earlier.
For Amy Masser, who was there representing Benigna's Creek Winery in Klingerstown, Saturday's festival was a chance to expand the winery's business.
"In addition to our store at the vineyard, we have retail outlets in the Schuylkill and Susquehanna Valley malls," Masser said. "By holding the sampling here, we get our name out there and develop brand recognition."
Handing out one-ounce samples, Masser expected to go through about three to 10 cases for tasting and selling at the festival. In all, the winery will be represented at 20 festivals this year, and Masser was happy to attend one so closeby.
"We travel to Pittsburgh for one festival, and that's a four-hour drive and an overnight stay," she said. "This is so much easier."
While many were sampling regular wine, one of the more popular stands at the festival was hosted by Spyglass Ridge Winery, which was the only one that was offering wine slushies.
"It's something we have offered for the past few years at the concerts we hold at the winery, and there are times when the line is 30 and 40 deep," said creator Keith Tamborelli.
After he and his wife Lou Ann purchased a slushie machine for the children, they began to experiment with the wine, finding the right flavors and techniques to make the concoction.
"Today we are using the peach wine and Spy Cat varieties, and we are just about sold out of them," Tamborelli said at 4 p.m.
The major sponsor of Saturday's event was Catino Vino, of Mount Carmel. Participating wineries included Bastress Mountain Winery, Buddy Boy Winery and Vineyards, Moon Dancer Vineyards, Benigna's Creek, Armstrong Valley Vineyards and Winery, Brookmere Winery, Seven Mountains, Starr Hill, Vineyards at Hershey, Sharle ridge Vineyards and Spyglass Ridge Winery.
Entertainment was provided by The Fobias and other local favorites. Several vendors were also there, selling items like wine glass holders, wine stoppers, cigars, cheeses and other items. There were also food vendors at the event, including Scicchitano Pizza and One Smart Cookie.