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A stompin’ good time

by Wren Wertin

Eat a bit of food, drink a little wine, stomp a couple grapes – it’s a party.

The Humane Society and Beaver Liquors are gearing up for their fourth annual Harvest Fest at the Eagle-Vail Pavilion Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. The $40 ticket includes all the wine and food you can take, plus a turn in the grape-stomping vat.

“We started it because we wanted to celebrate the harvest of wine,” said David Courtney, owner of Beaver Liquors. “We did some research and realized we couldn’t do it by ourselves because of liquor laws. So we needed to pick a charity. A lot of people have dogs and cats around here, so the Humane Society seemed natural.”

According to Char Quinn of the Humane Society, Harvest Fest is the “most fun event of the year.” Food will be donated by Vista, The French Press, Avon Bakery and Deli, Ti Amo, Mountain Flour, Tom’s Turkey Farm and Cucina Rustica. They’ll even be serving some wine made from previous Harvest Fests, such as the 2002 Catnip Chardonnay, 2001 Big Dog Blend (cab and merlot) and 2001 Mutt Meritage. For those wanting to skip the wines, there will also be a cash bar.

Patrick Chirichillo is the winemaker, who buys the grapes from California and makes his wine at 4-Eagle Ranch, under the label Churchill Wine Cellars. The vino he produces for the Humane Society has its own label, Paws and Claws Winery.

“So the coolest thing about it, what everybody talks about, is the grapes,” said Courtney. “We bring these grapes to the party, in these huge vats. And then people get into the vat and stomp on them. We have a feet-cleaning station outside – we do it at the end of the night after people have had a couple drinks. The next morning, we take it back to the winery, so it’s part of the batch. Everybody is part of it.”

“I think I have the most fun at this event,” said Quinn. “Even though it’s a lot of work getting ready for it on Beaver Liquor’s part and my part, it’s really a lot of fun. Especially stomping the grapes. People sure line up to do it.”

Dave Laub and his quartet will be providing jazzy music for the evening of Bacchanalian pursuits.

Businesses throughout the county chip in items for the silent auction, including a ski pass, and there will be a raffle for a trip to wine country in Oregon. The trip includes air fare, a rental car, accommodations at a vineyard and a big night out. Folks have to be present to win the trip.

All auction and raffle items raise money for the Humane Society’s many programs, including the spay/neuter program and bite-prevention education.

Tickets are on sale at Beaver Liquors, and it’s always a sold-out event.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at wrenw@vaildaily.com or phone at 949-0555, ext. 618.

Grapes of carafe

what: Humane Society Harvest Fest

when: Sept. 27, 6 p.m.

where Eagle-Vail Pavillion, Eagle-Vail

More info: Humane Society at 328-7387 or Beaver Liquors at 949-5040


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