Bits 'n' Pieces: 'Grape-ful' wine lovers give back

By Stover E. Harger III, Columbian staff writer



If you go

Upcoming Grape-ful Women gatherings:

6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 19, Confluence Vineyard & Winery, 19111 N.W. 67th Ave., Ridgefield.

3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 20, Burnt Bridge Cellars, 1500 Broadway

The Grape-ful Women aspire to do more than tip back glasses of cabernet sauvignon or pinot blanc.

But, of course, they love that, too.

What began as casual gatherings of local wine enthusiasts evolved in May 2012. That's when -- after hours of talking, laughing and some empty wine bottles -- the group moved in a fresh direction: helping push for positive changes in the community, while continuing to embrace everything vino. These women are still "grape-ful" after all.

On Sunday, Grape-ful Women will host their most elaborate charity event yet, a "Music Fest" from 1 to 7 p.m. at Three Brothers Vineyard and Winery, 2411 N.E. 244th St., Ridgefield. Portland's Hard Rain is headlining and other musicians set to perform include Pleyback from Battle Ground and the Sun City Players from Vancouver. The 21-and-older concert costs $12.

The money raised at the show will go to the Snowman Foundation, created in 1999 by Northwest pianist Michael Allen Harrison to support music education in local schools.

"We were so impressed with what they do," said Grape-ful Women Vice President Charlotte Bruce of Vancouver.

Between 20 and 35 wine buffs typically attend each Grape-ful Women meeting, but the group only has about seven core members. La Center's Randi Bass is the president and Portland's Lynda Lathrop is their resident wine expert, or sommelier.

"She studies it a lot, she loves it," Bruce said. "She is somebody that can really help with knowledge of wine."

While the group is centered around women from "all walks of life," men are invited to take part.

Grape-ful Women is also planning a November toy drive at Mill Creek Pub in Battle Ground to benefit Vancouver's Family Solutions. The goal is to hold a few fundraisers a year along with regular monthly meet-ups at regional wineries.

"It's not a large group, but we're hoping to build it a little bit," Bruce said. "More and more people are learning about (Grape-ful Women). We feel really pleased with that."

Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email