Craft Winefest toasts local, state wineries (with video)

Inaugural event offers drinks, food, music, activities to benefit charity

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter



The Craft Winefest of Vancouver

What: Wine festival with 20 local and regional wineries, all from Washington and mostly from Clark County. For ages 21 and over. Pets welcome.

Where: Esther Short Park, Sixth and Esther streets in downtown Vancouver.

When: 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 21; noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 22 and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, June 23.

Cost: $18 at the gate covers three-day admission and includes a wine-tasting glass. Taste tickets are $1 each and sold separately. A share of the profits go to Greater Clark County Rotary Foundation.

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Aniche Cellars, Columbia Gorge,

Basel Cellars Estate Winery, Walla Walla,

Bateaux Cellars, Toledo,

Burnt Bridge Cellars, Vancouver,

Cellar 55, Vancouver, http://cellar55.o...

Confluence Vineyards and Winery, Ridgefield,

English Estate Winery, Vancouver,

Evergreen Wine Cellar, Vancouver,

Five Star Cellars, Walla Walla,

Gordon Estate, Columbia Valley,

Heisen House Vineyards, Battle Ground,

Klickitat Canyon Winery, Columbia Gorge,

Market Vineyards, Richland,

Mill Lane Winery, Tenino,

Moulton Falls Winery, Yacolt,

Olequa Cellars, Battle Ground,

Purple Star Wines, Richland,

Rusty Grape Vineyard, Battle Ground,

Seventh Son Cellars, Ridgefield,

Sozo Friends Winery, Seahurst,

The Clark County craft winery scene has grown up so much in the past few years that it seems like you can't swing a grape vine without hitting one of them.

Until this year, though, the dozen or so wineries haven't had a place to showcase their locally made products.

They can't participate in the Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival, held every August, because organizers of that event say their space is limited.

But this weekend, Clark County's wineries will get an event of their own in the (hopefully shining) sun at the Craft Winefest of Vancouver at Esther Short Park.

The inaugural festival features about 20 winemakers from Washington state, with at least nine from the county. Cody Gray, co-organizer of the Vancouver Brewfest, decided to put the event together with his friend Lucas Hoyle, after local wineries talked to him about the need for their own showcase, he said.

"When I was organizing the brewfest, I met Pam (Robertson) from Evergreen Wine Cellar and I found out that there was no event for the local craft wineries in Southwest Washington," Gray said. "So we decided to do this to help get the word out."

The event will benefit the Greater Clark County Rotary Foundation.

Besides wine, it will have a small beer tent with local brewers, multiple musical acts and food from Clark County vendors. There will also be a cellphone scavenger hunt for prizes and five iPhone and Android charging stations placed throughout the park.

"There's revolving stage entertainment, and there will be no jazz," said Erin Griffin, a spokeswoman for the event. "It's a wide range of music, though, with rock, country and other styles."

Each tasting stand will be manned by the actual winemakers, also, so visitors will get a chance to ask questions and talk to an expert about the individual wine styles. And they can buy bottles to take home from the festival.

"Our goal is to create awareness of craft wine in Southwest Washington and raise money for charity," Gray said. "We want it to be fun and hip."

A wine education tent will host several 20-minute seminars about vintages, tasting and other aspects over the three-day festival. And local art, woodworking and metalworking vendors will have their own booths at the event.

"This festival really is all about community," Griffin said.

Folks that want special treatment can buy VIP tickets for $55 to $75 and are limited to 75 people per day. That gets you access to a private tent with professional servers that will sample bottles from all the festival's wineries. It also includes cheese and appetizer trays and a $10 voucher for the festivals' food vendors.

Tickets for the main festival are $18 at the gate, which includes a tasting glass and covers all three days if you keep your wristband. Tasting tickets are $1 each and sold separately.

Gray said he hopes the kickoff event will be a big success -- and will help out local businesses and a local charity to boot.

"Every Clark County winery that wants to come has a spot in this event," Gray said. "We really hope it's a win-win for everybody."

Sue Vorenberg: 360-735-4457;;