Wine in Woods festival this weekend

May 13, 1994|By Rona Hirsch | Rona Hirsch,Contributing Writer

This weekend, the sophisticated can sample Chardonnay, chicken divan and boogie-woogie.

The Wine in the Woods festival, sponsored by the county Department of Recreation and Parks, is returning for its second year, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday, to Symphony Woods in Columbia.

Planners are expecting at least 15,000 visitors -- 5,000 more than last year.

"Last year, we got a lot of positive feedback, and we've been getting calls all year about the next one," said Joanne Moroney, Rec and Parks special events coordinator and festival co-chairwoman.

Operating on a budget of $80,000, organizers advertised in out-of-state publications, receiving calls from as far away as California.

"Wine festivals are growing all over the country," Ms. Moroney said. "They're becoming very popular because they're fun."

For the admission price of $13, guests will receive logo-imprinted glass stemware from which to taste 10 one-ounce samples of the finest wines of nine Maryland wineries -- Basignani, Boordy, Woodhall, Elk Run, Berrywine Plantations and Linganore Wine Cellars, Ziem, Lowe, Catoctin and Fiore.

Selections range from the familiar Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc, Sur Lie Reserve, to the more exotic Blush of Belair, Annapolis Sunset and Eye of the Oriole.

Nonimbibers will receive logo-imprinted plastic food trays and four coupons for nonalcoholic beverages, including soft drinks and grape juice.

"We absolutely want people to drink responsibly," said Barbara Lett, Rec and Parks program specialist and festival co-chairwoman. "So, if they prefer, we have a designated driver program for $13."

Gourmets in the woods will have the choice of purchasing vegetable samosa, mango lassis, chicken fajita salad, chocolate strudel, pizza, spinach-broccoli vegetable pies, "little fried potatoes" with sour cream dill sauce or the more familiar Philly cheese steak, Italian sausage and buffalo wings.

Festival-goers can also mingle around the chocolate espresso bar or drink nonalcoholic La Mousseux Sparkling Cider.

Six wine education seminars and "Demystifying Wines of the World" lectures will be led at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. tomorrow and at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday by M. R. Yogi Barrett of Maryland Friends of Wine; Bill Weaver, publisher of "Wine Finds and Wines of the Mid-Atlantic;" and Tom Rodriquez of La Provencale Cellar of Virginia.

Two food demonstrations will be conducted at noon Sunday by James High Catering/Mexicali of Baltimore and at 4 p.m. Sunday by "Only the Best" of Ellicott City.

Ken Navarro will perform jazz at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow; rhythm and blues artist Deanna Bogart will play boogie-woogie at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

Tomorrow's entertainment will also feature the folk group Cornucopia at 11:40 a.m., jazz by Ritmo Junction at 1:15 p.m. and blues by Rick Serfas and the Soul Providers at 2:50 p.m.

Roving performers include the flute and guitar duo of Marlee Lindon and Ben Sherman, the violin and accordion duo of Command Performance and magician Larry Baulkin.

On Sunday, Angie Miller will perform acoustic rock at 11:40 a.m.; Brock and the Rockets will perform jazz and doo-wop a cappella at 1:15 p.m.; and Mama Jamma will perform reggae, calypso and African rhythms at 2:50 p.m.

Sunday's roving performers include violinist Donna Willingham, classical guitarist Bruce Casteel and sleight-of-hand artist Craig Schneider.

Then there are the 82 crafts exhibits as diverse as painted furniture, polyform jewelry, hand-painted infant wear, grape motif jewelry, blacksmithing, Victorian dolls, paper vegetables, gourmet vinegars and bird houses.

The festival originated last year after Maryland wineries approached the county Department of Recreation and Parks. "They did the festival in Carroll County," Ms. Moroney said. "It was so successful, they wanted to go to other counties."

But lessons have been learned. Last year's designated driver fee was only $5, half the cost of general admission. "But we were really taken advantage of," Ms. Lett said. "They used the glass to get wine."

Also, because it rained heavily last year during the last part of the festival, planners have developed an evacuation plan in case of severe weather conditions.

"There were sudden thunderstorms, and we couldn't get people to leave. So this year, we're trying to prepare for anything," Ms. Moroney said.

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