Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Missouri WineFest 2013

This Saturday we attended the 27th Annual Missouri WineFest at Westport Plaza. This is a charity event to benefit and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. We have been to this event twice before, once by ourselves and once with a group of friends. It always takes place right around Valentine’s Day, so it’s a nice place to take a date before dinner. General admission (includes wine sampling, a commemorative wine glass and live entertainment) was $20 in advance or $25 at the door, and the event runs from Noon to 5pm.

Wine was sampled and sold by the bottle from Artesian Springs Winery, Chandler Hill Vineyards, Fahrmeier Family Vineyards, Papas Fruit of the Vine, Serenity Valley Winery, St. James Winery, Stone Hill Winery, Vance Vineyards& Winery, Wenwood Farm Winery, Westphalia Vineyards. Food was sold and/or sampled by Paul Mineo’s Trattoria, Drunken Fish, Great Harvest Bread Co. and FamilyNuts. Live music provided by Super Jam Acoustic Duo. As an added bonus, complimentary carriage rides started in the front of the Plaza from 4 - 7pm (first come first serve, no reservations). A silent auction was featured with all proceeds going to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

This was our third year attending, and I don’t think we were alone in thinking that the event had some flaws. First off, we arrived at Noon to a winding, confused line of guests waiting to get checked in. There were no workers helping to corral people or help make the line move faster. It took us nearly 15 minutes just to get checked in while standing in a freezing lobby, crammed full of people. This event has gained much popularity over the years, and the amount of attendee reflects that. However, I personally believe this event was oversold for the size of the venue. I would suggest raising the price next year or finding a larger space that can hold more people. Also, when the high is 35 degrees and parking is a decent walk from the venue, I would expect a coat check. I have no problem paying for it and expect it at such events. Basically, we waited to get into the event, shuffled through the masses waiting to get tastes all while wearing our winter coats. This is a great event for such a great cause, but some of the logistic just fell through the cracks. I’m really hoping they expand the event next year to bigger space and bring in more wineries

(Clayton Cox, owner of Papa's Vineyard.)

Those that were there provided some delicious samples of the variety they carried. Notables included Serenity Valley Winery’s “Spring Blossoms” (A slightly sweet Green Apple Riesling, a light fruity, crisp wine; great for casual sipping especially on a hot day.) and Papa’s Vineyard’s “Family Tree” (A semi-dry white with huge flavor and a touch of citrus.) Both were new and notables for sure for us. Wines were for sale for great prices. Many people brought their picnic baskets, claimed their tables, and enjoyed the bottles they bought on-site. We were envious of these prepare WineFest tailgaters. It will be interesting to see how this event will evolve and grow as the demand for Missouri Wine continues to gain popularity.

(Serenity Valley Winery's Sampling List)

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