DOBSON — Temperatures in the 40s left little “spring” in a “fling” at Shelton Vineyards Saturday.
However, the cold weather didn’t keep hundreds, or possibly thousands, from turning out at Shelton’s third-annual Spring Fling.
The event kicked off Saturday at 10 a.m. and lasted into the evening hours. Visitors enjoyed free tours and tastings throughout the entirety of the fling. Additionally, live music and vendors were on site throughout the morning hours.
Sommer McHone, events coordinator at Shelton, said the fling is meant as a kick-off event for the annual wine season. That season will last through October or November, and the vineyard has dozens of other events scheduled throughout that period of time.
“We are operating in full-force throughout those months,” remarked McHone.
McHone said while the weather — especially the cold breeze — put a damper on the occasion, it was still a great event. Visitors to the winery may come from far and wide, though most live locally or regionally.
McHone added the event usually attracts between 2,000 and 3,000 visitors.
Vendors travelled from much further to attend the event, according to McHone. On the lawn more than 40 artisans and craft-makers were selling their goods. Those folks travelled from within the county and from as far away as Ohio.
From about 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. a live band also performed, said McHone.
While a few brave wine drinkers peppered the lawn and parking lot, the weather had pushed most activity inside by afternoon.
In the tasting room, visitors lined the counters for a taste of the local product. Different stations were set up for red wines, white wines and the sweet wines for which the area is so famous.
Guests also lined up for free tours. Normally, visitors pay $6 per person for a tour and tasting.
On the tour, guides gave a history of the winery and an overview of its operations beginning with the story of local brothers Charlie and Ed Shelton purchasing the property on which the vineyard now sits in 1994 and ending with an explanation regarding how the wine makes it into a Shelton bottle.
Other activities such as reserve tastings were also offered Saturday, and Charlie Shelton wandered the tasting room handing out fish food to small children, who braved the cold to feed the huge catfish which call a pond at the vineyard home.
While McHone said weather certainly played a role in altering the atmosphere at the festivities, she said the event was still a great way to kick off another season of vineyard activities.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.