Thursday, Surry Wineries presented checks to the recipients of the 2016 Vineyard Stomp, which are a series of 5K races hosted by various Surry County vineyards. Each vineyard that holds a race chooses a local non-profit organization to receive the proceeds.
Carolina Heritage hosted the small gathering for the presentation of funds. Owners Pat and Clyde Colwell presented a check to Stuart Taylor, founder of Watershed NOW. Watershed NOW is a non-profit which is not only concerned about the stewardship of water resources, but educating others to make better use of this natural asset and keep local waters clean. “The vineyards in the county understand the importance of clean water,” said Taylor. “We see them as allies and we look forward to deepening our partnership.”
Louis Jeroslow of Elkin Creek Vineyards presented a check to Joe Hicks and Dr. Bill Blackley, who were representing the Elkin Valley Trails Association. The EVTA strives to improve the quality of life for the community of Elkin by building and maintaining trails and green spaces that will encourage healthy living, educating and preserving history, and enticing visitors to the area. The trails will travel through several local vineyards connecting sections of the state Mountains-to-Sea Trail.
Elkin Creek also gave a portion of its proceeds to Watershed NOW, which is the first time one of the wineries chose to give its proceeds to two organizations. Jeroslow stated that partnering with Watershed NOW was a natural union based on its proximity to two creeks, one of which he can see from his kitchen window. “The two creeks converge at our wedding spot. They are such a presence in our life. They affect the vineyard. They are inextricably linked. When we have a weather event, we can see the effect,” explained Jeroslow, who spoke of how in previous years when it rained the creeks would clear up after a few days, though now it takes several.
Mount Airy Museum of Regional History Executive Director Matt Edwards, who has participated in several of the 5K runs, also received a check for the museum which was presented by Ken Gulaian of Round Peak Vineyards, which was the first location to hold the Vineyard Stomp in 2001.
Edwards explained the appeal of the Vineyard Stomp was the diversity offered. “Runners are looking for a nitch opportunity, a new location, a new experience with their run. (The Vineyard Stomp has) a combination of great scenery, the wine, the beauty. You’ve got a leisurely run to a very grueling trail depending on the location.”
Each year Surry Wineries participants choose vineyards from among their membership to host runs which are facilitated by the non-profit organization chosen to receive the pecuniary benefits for that particular event. Volunteers are posted through the designated trail to help runners maintain their route, distribute water and other services required for a successful experience. For the 2016 Vineyard Stomp, the races were held at Carolina Heritage, Elkin Creek, Grassy Creek and Round Peak vineyards.
Other members include Adagio, Roaring River and Stony Knoll vineyards as well as Brushy Mountain and Slightly Askew wineries. In addition to the Vineyard Stomp, these locations also participate in the Winter Wine Passport going on now through March 19, 2017. With the goal of turning potential competitors into complementary participants, Surry Wineries members work together to accentuate the unique qualities of each winery creating a comprehensive experience for wine drinkers in the Yadkin Valley. According to Pat Colwell, the wineries “have not only continued to host successful annual events together, but they have developed a strong relationship and work together to support each other.”
For more information about the Winter Wine Passport, participating vineyards and wineries and their events, go to www.surrywineries.com.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.