PLATTSBURGH - The wine will flow freely once again as the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum hosts its second annual Champlain Valley Winter Wine Festival.
The three-day event will return to the city Friday, Jan. 28, through Sunday, Jan. 30, showcasing the region's unique specialty wine, food and restaurants.
Ashlea Keene, director of fundraising and membership for the museum, said the festival will kick off again this year with a wine dinner at Olive Ridley's, 37 Court St., from 7 to 9 p.m. next Friday night, signifying the culmination of several months of planning.
"We talked to the wineries and restaurants involved last year to get some suggestions and ideas to make the event even better," Keene said, "and we've been working with them and new vendors since July. We have a lot of the same local wineries from last year but we've brought some new ones on this year as well."
"It should be a fun weekend of festivities," she added.
The festival will continue with a grand tasting and silent auction in the City Hall Rotunda from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, which will give people the opportunity to meet with food and wine experts while sampling their products, said Keene. Live entertainment and big-ticket auction items such as round-trip airfare for two to Orlando, courtesy of Allegiant Air, are expected to help draw a crowd as well, she said.
"We have paintings from several local artists. We have some hand-painted wine glasses. We have a lot of stuff from all sorts of local businesses," Keene said.
That same evening, wine dinners will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at both Irises Caf and Wine Bar, 20 City Hall Place, and Michele's Fine Dining, 5131 U.S. Ave. The following day, a Sunday brunch will be held at The Smoked Pepper, 13 City Hall Place, from 12 to 3 p.m.
"It's been a huge build-up over the last few weeks and it's really come together," Keene said of the festival. "It's exciting seeing it take hold and hearing buzz in the community about it happening again this year. I'm very excited."
Marty Fortin, co-owner of Amazing Grace Vineyard and Winery, Chazy, said she's also looking forward to the festival, which helps promote her business and others like it in the area.
"I think that our area is ripe for the picking regarding events like this," said Fortin. "We don't really have a lot going on in our area in the winter and I think this is a nice change of pace. I thought last year's was extremely well-attended for its first year."
"It's good exposure for new businesses," she added.
Proceeds from this year's festival will again benefit the development of the museum's Kids Station, an ongoing project to establish a hands-on museum for kids. Grand tasting tickets are $25 per person, wine dinner tickets are $75 per person and wine brunch tickets are $35 per person.
In addition to Amazing Grace Vineyard and Winery, local businesses participating in the grand tasting include Hid-In-Pines Vineyard, Stonehouse Vineyard, Vesco Ridge Vineyard, Candy Man Homemade Adirondack Chocolates, and Rambach's Bakery. Bully Hill Vineyards from Hammondsport, Swedish Hill Winery from Romulus, Cabot Cheese from Chateaugay, and McCadam Cheese from Cabot, Vt., will also be on hand.
For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Transportation Museum at 566-7575 or visit www.cvwinefestival.com.