Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Local merchants pitch in to support home winemakers

KELSEYVILLE – More than 75 Lake County businesses have donated thousands of dollars worth of valuable items to be offered in raffles and a silent auction during next Saturday's annual Lake County Home Wine Makers Festival, according to Vicky Maley, chair of the Auction Committee of the sponsoring group.


"We have activity packages including golf and fishing, lake cruises, getaway accommodations, theater packages – even a week in a condo in Hawaii," she said. "There are also dozens of merchandise offerings including, of course, wine lots from virtually all of our top local wineries."


The event is sponsored by nonprofit Clear Lake Performing Arts in conjunction with the Kelseyville Business Association and the Lake County Winegrape Growers Association, with all proceeds going to help fund CLPA's music support programs, including the symphony, the youth orchestra, a regular concert series and student scholarships.


Festival donors at the Patron level are Sears, Sutter Lakeside Hospital and Westamerica Bank while a Donor Level sponsor is Dr. Paula R. Dhanda's Specialty Care and Surgery Center. More than 70 other merchants are participating sponsors.


The festival, now in its sixth year, is becoming an annual fourth-Saturday-in-June tradition in Kelseyville, where Main Street is roped off to permit the dozens of booths needed to accommodate the winemakers – both amateur and commercial – as well as numerous arts and crafts representatives.


A panel of judges, including well-known wine critic and author Craig Renaud, will judge the results of the home winemakers' best efforts, although the general public will select the popular "Peoples Choice" winner.


Music will be provided by the David Neft Duo, consisting of Middletown's musical icon David Neft, supported by percussionist Steve DuBois.


Amateurs submitting wines for judging must present them to the judge's station located at the Saw Shop Gallery Bistro no later than 10 a.m. There is no limit on the number of varietals any individual can enter and the fee is $5 per bottle. Reds, whites, blushes, blends and dessert wines are all welcome. Only those wine makers who agree to pour samples for the public are eligible.


Judging will be blind tasting with points awarded on a scale developed by Renaud. Other judges are Charley Hassom of Snows Lake Vineyard, Jack Vos of Rob Roy restaurant, Rodney Duncan of Duncan Vineyards, Stephanie Cruz-Green of Kelseyville's Focus on Wine shop, Valerie Ramirez of Wildhurst Winery, Eric Stine of Langtry Estates Winery and Record-Bee food columnist Ron Jones.


Tickets for the festival can be bought in advance at Catfish Books in the Willow Tree Plaza in Lakeport, or at the Arts Council's Main Street Gallery, also in Lakeport. In Clearlake tickets are available at Wild About Books on Olympic Avenue. Advance sale tickets are $15 while those purchased at the gate are $20, which includes a monogrammed wine glass.


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