Organizers excited for Shores of Erie International Wine Festival
Wine festival runs Thursday, Sept. 8 through Sunday, Sept. 11By Ron Giofu/The Amherstburg Echo
Posted 35 minutes ago
AMHERSTBURG — The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival has arrived for 2011.This year's festival runs Thursday, September 8 through Sunday, September 11 at Fort Malden National Historic Site with 11 wineries participating. There are also 29 other booths featuring mainly restaurants with other vendors also participating.
"We've got a lot of new stuff this year," said festival director Kelly O'Rourke.
One of the new things is additional shuttle service. In addition to the shuttle that will continue from the former General Chemical property, shuttles will also be run out to the Crown Ridge and Monopoly subdivisions as well as the Pointe West/Kingsbridge areas.
The shuttles are free but a donation of $1 or $2 is welcome with proceeds going to the House of Shalom youth centre.
"We're also unveiling something called 'Galleries at the Shores'," said O'Rourke.
The wine festival is working with the Gibson Gallery and is bringing in roughly eight groups with a wide variety of arts and crafts to be displayed. The Mudpuppy Gallery is one of the groups coming in, said O'Rourke."It will be a nice enhancement," she added.
The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival has also teamed with Transportation Options and the Cycling Tourism Expo. Free bicycle tours of the area will be provided with one being on Bob-Lo Island and the other being a culinary tour of the town. There will be valet bike parking Saturday and Sunday and bike rentals will also be available.
"They came to us and asked if they could promote cycling in southwestern Ontario," said O'Rourke "We thought it was a really good fit."
Registration is available online at http://www.soewinefestival.com/
Of course, what would the Shores of Erie International Wine Festival be without first-class entertainment?
"We're really excited about the entertainment this year," said O'Rourke.
Opening night features the return of the Sam Roberts Band, something which O'Rourke said is "by popular demand." The Sam Roberts Band was at the wine festival three years ago and returned after a number of people asked for their return.
Michou and Pat Robitaille open for the Sam Roberts Band with the latter having a special surprise guest, said O'Rourke.
Wine festival organizers are also excited for the Sunday performance of popular rocker Sarah Harmer. O'Rourke said Harmer may not have the name recognition in this area of Canada but Harmer is beloved in other parts of the country. O'Rourke said once she heard Harmer's music, she became a regular listener of Harmer on her iPod.
"I think people will embrace her. She fits Sunday quite nicely," said O'Rourke.
Friday night features April Wine, a band that people of all ages are showing an interest in, O'Rourke noted. Saturday night is sold out but those who have tickets will see the talents of jazz artists Kimmie Horne, "who is just awesome," said O'Rourke.
The vine pavilion will see some additions and enhancement this year with wine walking tours part of this year's festivals. The walks are free but the tastings along the route present a cost. Tours will also focus on winemaking techniques and what is different about each wine.
The tasting bar is expanded this year and there will also be guest speaker Konrad Ejbich Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Ejbich, a renowned wine correspondent and writer, is already drawing interest although seating is limited to 100 people. Pre-registration is available at http://www.soewinefestival.com/
A Reidel tasting seminar is Sunday at 3 p.m. with the discussion to centre on wine tasting and the impact a wine glass and the shape of the glass can have on wine.
"People are always in awe after that one," said O'Rourke. "They can't believe what a difference it makes."
People can also pre-arrange for a designated driver. O'Rourke said First Class Valet can be booked by calling ahead and arranging a time for people to be brought home safely from the festival. The person and their vehicle are arranged to be brought home in case someone is not in condition to drive after visiting the festival. Rides can be booked by phoning 519-250-7732 or 519-818-8887.
"It was very popular last year. Booking ahead is the key," said O'Rourke. "It's a great system. People used it like crazy last year."
The culinary pavilion returns again this year with people given the opportunity to taste food, but learn to make it themselves, she added.
Tickets are available for every day except Saturday and are $30 in advance and $35 at the gate for Thursday, $20 in advance and $25 at the gate for Friday and $15 in advance and $20 at the gate for Sunday. Tickets are available at ScotiaBank, CIBC, Windsor Family Credit Union branches in Windsor-Essex County as well as the wine festival office in the Gordon House, 268 Dalhousie St. Tickets can also be purchased through the wine festival's website.
Those seeking three-day passes should call or e-mail ahead for availability at 519-730-1001 or email@example.com as passes are limited. Three-day passes are only available at the wine festival office.
In addition to getting information on the festival on the website, O'Rourke also encourages people to "like" the festival on Facebook. She said there are "constant updates" about the festival.