All smiles at indoor wine and craft festival

Anthony Gonzalez Staff Reporter

December 16, 2013

Despite a Saturday washing by Mother Nature, the inside of the Fairfield Inn and Suites featured a showcase of area craft vendors and top wineries and saw steady crowds thoughout the day.

The festivities were part of the 2013 Winter Wine and Craft Festival.

“The festival started as a small concept six years ago,” said Matt Delano, sales director for the hotel. “The venue is growing. We couldn’t have asked for a better turnout despite the weather.”

Thirteen craft vendors made their way to the festivities, according to the hotel.

Jeff Wilson was seen blowing glass jewelry and art.

“He’s in the zone and is great at what he does, ” said Greg VonCannon. “I occasionally look back at him and watch him work. I like how the fire touches his creation. He’s focused right now on his project.”

Green Mesa Farms provided assorted jams and butter. The Boonville company specializes in jelly, salsa, syrup, and other products. The company provided samples of the jam.

Pojo Enterprises were on hand offering “What Do I Know?” clothing.

Brenda Walker’s presentation of The Gift Box was the most creative item of the festivity, according to shoppers.

“The glass is heavy. We buy the glass and then we drill a hole inside of it so we can place the lighting. Right now I have a bunch of Christmas lights in the glass box,” said Walker. The Yadkinville-based company ribbon-wraps each box. The box illuminates when plugged into a wall outlet and can be shipped.

“Hey, check out the face painter over there,” said Delano. “Kids love that stuff.”

Jordan Scruggs of Virginia took his seat. He glanced at a series of templates offered by face painting designers. The 8-year-old sat patiently, unfazed by the interest in him through photographs.

“I like face painting. I’m here with my family. This hotel is pretty cool,” said Scruggs.

Face painter Christiane Wyatt of Dobson positioned herself in front of Scruggs and went to work on the art.

Back in the craft room, Barbara Newman of Barbara’s Cakes and Catering was giddy. She indicated that her cakes had moved quickly in the early stages of the craft festival.

Barbara’s associate, Becky Wood, said that Newman is celebrating 19-year journey in business at her Jonesville location.

“You’re not going to walk out of here without trying some cake, right,” said Wood.

Samples of a chocolate peanut butter cake balls were provided.

After customers passed through an age verification process, those older than 21 were permitted to enter the meeting room of the hotel lobby that housed seven wineries.

The optional wine tasting cost $5 per person. Pours were unlimited.

Participating wineries were Carolina Heritage Vineyard, Elkin Creek Vineyard, Raffaldini Vineyard, Shadow Springs Vineyard, Slightly Askew Winery, Stony Knoll Vineyard, Weathervane Winery, Windsor Run Cellars, and newcomer Jones Von Drehle Vineyard.

Glogg was one of the wines served by Pat Colwell of Carolina Heritage.

“I grew up in Wisconsin. This is what they served,” said Colwell.

According to Colwell, the mulled type of wine is a beverage usually made with red wine along with various spices. It is served hot or warm. It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas and Halloween.

On the opposite side of the tasting room was the newcomer to the hotel wine festival, Jones Von Drehle Vineyard.

“It feels great being here,” said Diana Jones, co-owner of the winery. “It’s nice to have a chance to meet new people and talk with them about our developing vineyard.”

Jones Von Drehle Vineyard was featured in the fall edition of On The Vine through a cover story titled “Thurmond’s Best Kept Secret.”

“That feature really presented our message. We are a family-based company. We’re happy to be here,” said Chuck White.

During the wine tour, four bottles were selected and packaged. However, one winery was missed. An observant Jamey Johnson of Shadow Springs Vineyard insisted on trying a sample of her fermented Hillbilly Holiday bottle. The wine is honey apple flavored incorporating neutral brandy and added spices.

“I recommend you serve it in a shot glass,” said Johnson of the vineyard located in Hamptonville. She poured generously.


Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 835-1513 or agonzalez@civitasmedia.com