Organizers hope Wine in the Woods draws people and dollars in droves

May 14, 1993|By Patrick Hickerson | Patrick Hickerson,Contributing Writer

Howard County hopes this weekend's Wine in the Woods will siphon off a portion of the wine festival tourism market like a spout hammered into a wooden cask.

Organizers say the inaugural event could become an annual affair that will rival or even surpass the popular Maryland Wine Festival that drew 23,000 people last fall in Westminster.

The festival's sponsor, the county Department of Recreation and Parks, has budgeted about $100,000 for the two-day event.

Joanne Moroney, who is co-chairwoman for the festival, said at least 10,000 people are expected to attend. With a $10 admission fee, that would mean the county could break even.

"Long term, we hope it will grow and will be fun for people interested in buying crafts . . . and bring in economic benefits," Ms. Moroney said.

On paper, the event matches or surpasses the Maryland Wine Festival in the categories of wineries, entertainment, foods and crafts.

Like the Westminster festival, 10 Maryland wineries will participate: Basignani, Boordy, Woodhall, Elk Run, Berrywine, Ziem, Loew, Catoctin, Byrd and Fiore.

These wineries will offer 67 types of wine to sample, some with Maryland references in their labels such as Annapolis Sunset, Eye of the Oriole and The Blush of Bel Air.

For the $10 admission, adults 21 and older receive a punch card that entitles them to receive 10, one-ounce samples of wine. The county has purchased 10,000 glasses decorated with the festival logo and dated 1993 and another 7,000 undated glasses displaying the event's logo.

With all this casual consumption, festival organizers have added a $5 designated-driver admission, which provides the souvenir glass and four coupons for soft drinks.

In preparation for the event, Ms. Moroney had the enviable task of visiting a handful of wine festivals across the nation to drink in the productions.

"I've even gone to wine festivals in Germany, but that I had to pay for myself," she said.

Rob Deford, president of Boordy Vineyards in Baltimore County, is enthusiastic about this new festival that showcases Maryland wine.

"These festivals are where we can get the word out and sell wine, do missionary work," he said. "What is unique about this is that it's in the center of population. We've worked with Howard County for two years, and now we can see the fruit of our

work."

Mr. Deford said one trend in winemaking -- consumers moving toward fine wines as opposed to table wines -- favors the small wineries in Maryland.

Despite the recent boom in demand for red wines after reports on its benefits to health, he said that white wines are still preferred 2-to-1.

Either way, consumer choice will not make much of a difference to Maryland wineries, Mr. Deford said.

"It's almost neutral. The nice thing about Maryland is that we're able to make red and white. Farther north, it would be a problem."

Mr. Deford said Maryland's climate enables growers to produce reds, whites, roses and champagnes, making it a veritable France in miniature.

But festival-goers won't have to be imbibers to find activities. Unlike the Maryland Wine Festival, there is a greater emphasis on gourmet international cuisines: Indian, Chinese, French, Greek and American from 10 restaurants, seven caterers and vendors.

Eighty artisans are scheduled to display varied crafts from calligraphy to smithing, English smocking, batiks and table linens.

The entertainment includes jazz, blues, classical, country, reggae and folk groups, along with roving performers Mark Jaster, a mime, and troubadour John DuRant.

Food and wine demonstrations will take place, led by staff

members from Tersiguel's, Bombay Peacock Grill, the Elkridge Furnace Inn, the American Wine Society and the Chesapeake Bacchus Club.

"We're doing everything we can to make it a classy activity," Ms. Moroney said. "It's an adult activity. I think that makes it unique."

Wine in the Woods, sponsored by Howard County Recreation and Parks, will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday, rain or shine, at Symphony Woods in Columbia. Admission is $10 for adults 21 and older or $5 for a designated drivers, and $5 for those age 3 to 20. Children 2 and under will be admitted free.

RF The main parking lot is the one typically used for concerts at Mer

riweather Post Pavilion, with shuttle buses and a walkway leading to the festival. Tickets are available only at the festival. Information: 313-2762.

EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY

,

.. .. .. ENTERTAINMENT .. .. .. .. .. Saturday 11 a.m.: Rick Serfas and the Soul Providers, featuring Jesse Yawn, Chicago blues

12:30 p.m.: Rhumba Club, Latin jazz

2 p.m.: Prevailing Winds, classical, pop and jazz

3:30 p.m.: Ritmo Junction, jazz

/ .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Sunday 11 a.m.: The Satyr Hill Band, country and bluegrass

12:30 p.m.: Mama Jama, reggae, calypso and African rhythms

2 p.m.: Cross Country, folk

3:30 p.m.: Ken Navarro, jazz

B2 .. .. .. .. .. .. FOOD AND WINE DEMONSTRATIONS .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Saturday 11:30 a.m.: California Caesar salad, chilled poached salmon with fresh herb mayonnaise and strawberries

12:30 and 2 p.m.: Wine tasting education

2` .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Sunday Noon: California Caesar salad, chilled poached salmon with fresh herb mayonnaise and strawberries

1 p.m.: Amateur winemaking

2 p.m.: Vegetable samosa.

;/ 3 p.m.:Fruit cascade and vegetable crudites

5/8

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