As we have talked about before in this blog, wine tasting events are a great, inexpensive way for people to taste and learn about wines they may not have tried before. What could be better than going to a wine tasting where you were able to drink wine AND all the money you spent to taste was donated to charity? Not much, I say.
This past weekend daughter Elizabeth and I participated, once again, in the 11th Annual Chalet Charity Wine Tasting event which this year benefited the local Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County. The event was held in the afternoon of Saturday, July 13, 2013, at the County Road 17 location of the Chalet Party Shoppe.
For a fee of $25 a person, guests were treated to the wine, beer and spirit offerings from 16 different vendors as well as food options from two food vendors (Rulli’s and Lucchese’s). In addition to the tasting, there was also a silent auction which most vendors, and members of the local community, donated items to. All of the wine, liquor, beer and food for the event was donated by the vendors…thus all the money went toward the charity.
The top three wines of the event were the French Cabernet from Domaine de l’Anglade (from Elkhart-based Par La Mer Imports), the Contra Costa Zinfandel (from California’s Rosenblum Cellars) and the Glenwood Cellars Sauvignon Blanc (from Elkhart-based Tiedemann Wines).
Lucchese’s Italian Restaurant (on County Road 17 in Elkhart) served bruschetta and turkey wings; Rulli’s Italian Restaurant (on 17th Street in Elkhart) served two kinds of pasta.
Overall the event was modestly successful. The problem: Attendance was down this year over last year. And it was down last year over the previous year. There was very little publicity about the event and as a result there were only an estimated 60 people in attendance…over the course of the three-hour event. Three hours is a long time to stand around and NOT pour wine. At times it seemed there were more Chalet employees in our area than wine tasters. And the vendors were upset because of this. When you donate your time, and your wine (or other drinks or food), you want a good showing. You want to share what you have with others.
But hopefully Chalet/Belmont has learned from this experience and next year there will be more publicity and effort put into building attendance. It is a positive event for Chalet and Belmont Beverage. It is positive for the charity the group decides to help that year. Overall it’s a win-win situation…if you can get the people there.
Do you attend charity events like this in your area or did you attend the Charity event at the Chalet Party Shoppe this past weekend? Had you heard about it prior to reading this column? Share your thoughts on how the Chalet event and other events of this type might be better promoted.
Next week I am off to Napa to blend our 2011 Glenwood Cellars Cabernet. Stay tuned for lots of posts on Napa people, places and wines.