Beginning April 28, the Budbreak Wine Festival will kick-off what organizers hope becomes an annual event. It will be the first wine festival in the state for the year and organizers hope to take it above and beyond the others that will come after it. The name of the festival was inspired by the flowers that bloom on the grapevines. The buds break off and that is what becomes the grapes.
“Knowing there are a lot of wine festivals, they’re all the same. This one has got to be better and more different so we’re making it a wine education event,” said Bob Meinecke with the Rotary Club.
The four-day event will include activities from tours and wine dinners to a fine art show. Beginning April 28, participants can choose to take a tour of Mayberry or of area wineries. On April 29, the tours will continue and that evening will feature a fine wine dinner as 21 and Main in Elkin pairs up with McRitchie Winery. April 30 will allow more time for touring to ensure people can take in the full experience of Surry County. That evening, the chef at Cross Creek Country Club will team up with Old North State Winery and Round Peak Vineyards for another fine wine dinner. Friday night also presents the option of a VIP dinner with the judges for the wine competition.
The actual festival will take place May 1 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Main Street in Mount Airy. Patrons will be able to view the art that was judged as part of the fine art show headed up by Matt Edwards, executive director of the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, and even take home a piece if they choose. There will be a live wine judging headed up by Pierre-Louis Teissedre, assistant dean of the College of Enology from the University of Bordeaux in France.
Saturday also will feature a number of food vendors who will prepare food to go with the wines including Cross Creek Country Club, 13 Bones, Elliott’s on Main and Aunt Bea’s catering. The organizers are selecting four bands to play on Saturday featuring a range of music from jazz and bluegrass to popular music from the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Organizers hope to bring in 25 of the top wineries in the area for the festival which is expected to draw between 3,000 and 5,000 people to the area.
“We want to be very selective about who we choose. We want the elite of the vineyards, the local food vendors that make food that goes with wine and a fine art show and sale. If you have an event that attracts a higher income family, they will spend more. If you make it a two- or three-day event, the community benefits from that. It’s economic impact,” said Meinecke. “We want to make this event special, unique and all-encompassing.”
Part of what they hope will make this event unique is the educational aspect the festival will take on. Instead of having people roaming the street drinking wine and eating food, they will be able to learn more about the process of making wine. There will be features on how to pair wines with different foods as well. The Surry Community College viticulture and enology program will have an area set up to talk about what it does.
Since May 1 is also the same date as the Kentucky Derby and organizers do not want people to have to rush home, they have also arranged for a viewing of the race beginning at 6 p.m. They have worked with Brannock and Hiatt to set up big screen televisions in their windows to show the race.
“Hopefully we’ll have ladies wearing crazy hats for the Derby,” said Meinecke.
Tickets for the festival on Saturday will be on sale at Lowes Foods across the region, at the participating wineries and at a number of Neighbors stores. Separate reservations must be made for the wine dinners, the VIP dinner and the various tours.
“The DBA had already started the process and hopefully the business community will embrace the whole notion,” said Meinecke. “It’s education, appreciation, fine art and music, and it’s all a backdrop for charities.”
The Rotary’s proceeds from the event will go towards the Eradicate Polio Campaign sponsored by the Rotary Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The campaign is designed to eradicate polio in the last four countries the disease still affects. The challenge for Rotary Clubs nationwide is to raise $200 million in three years. If that goal is reached, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will contribute $355 million to that cause.
The proceeds will also go towards helping local charitable organizations such as United Fund of Surry.
“We are already challenged with raising funds for charities. We’re wearing out people’s interest with the same thing all the time,” said Meinecke. “We thought what can we do that’s different that would involve the community, help the community and be a fun event. The DBA was thinking about the same kind of thing so we put our heads together.”
For more information about the festival and a list of participating wineries once it is finalized, visit www.budbreakfestival.com.
Contact Morgan Wall at email@example.com or 719-1929.