BY SAMANTHA HAMME
Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Merlot, and Bordeaux—to many, these terms sound like a foreign language, but at the 13th annual Autumn Wine Festival, they are all part of the native tongue.
The festival, which featured sixteen local wineries this year, brought in a crowd of about 3,500 people between Oct. 17 and 18.
The Autumn Wine Festival has been held in Pemberton Park in Salisbury, Maryland for the past thirteen years and is supplied by anywhere from fifteen to twenty wineries annually. A ticket into the festival earns you unlimited wine samplings and a 6 oz. sampling glass, along with live music, food and the opportunity to buy local wine by the glass and by the bottle.
“We really enjoy this event,” said Dick Seibert of Knob Hall Winery. “Because we are located three hours away, [the Autumn Wine Festival] is a good way to introduce our wines to a new market that’s not close by.”
Local Rob Simmons was one of those introduced to a new palate of wines, after a study abroad trip allotted him an affair with South American wines, but only South American wines; the Autumn Wine Festival allowed Simmons to take his first real sip of domestic wine.
“I enjoyed myself but would like to see a ‘make your own wine’ station next year,” Simmons said, “where you can smash out your own grapes and everything, that would be really fun.”
In their thirteenth year participating as a vendor, Basignani Winery, who has been bottling wine since 1986, has become a staple at the festival.
“This is festival season for us,” said Marisa Basignani of Basignani Winery, “this is further away so it’s nice to travel, the kids always have off school so we get to take a beach weekend… although I’ll admit the weather isn’t very ‘beachy’ this week.”
Dylan Taillie of Denton, Maryland came on free tickets, but stayed for the local wine and the relaxed atmosphere.
“The wine festival really seems to bring the community together,” he said. “It gets the creative, friendship, grape juices flowing. It’s awesome because this helps to create revenue in the community during the off-season.”
Taillie, the self-proclaimed beer-drinker had only two final words in suggestion for the Autumn Wine Festival; “Bigger glasses.”