Squish grapes, raise funds and be merry | VailDaily.com

Squish grapes, raise funds and be merry

Cassie Pence

Bret Hartman / Vail Daily file photoSupporters of the Eagle Valley Humane Society gather for the annual Harvest Party in 2003 at the Eagle-Vail Pavilion. This year the party takes place on Saturday and will benefit not only the humane society but an effort to benefit the animals on the Gulf Coast.

EAGLE-VAIL – No one could ever forget the classic scene when Lucy and Ethel cinch up their skirts and step into the grape-stomping vat during the “I Love Lucy” episode “Lucy’s Italian Movie.” Guests feeling a little “Lucy” can feel the sensation of grapes smoosh between their toes at the sixth annual Eagle Valley Humane Society’s Harvest Party Saturday in Eagle-Vail. The stomped fruit will be made into wine the next day at 4 Eagle Ranch. Each year, guests sample the wine they stomp the year before. The Harvest Party is a food and wine gala to benefit the Eagle Valley Humane Society. Local restaurants prepare a dish or two and Beaver Liquors’ owner David Courtney spends weeks pairing wines to complement the flavors. The dinner is a grazing concept. Party-goers stroll from table to table nibbling on different tastes, and no one leaves hungry. One of the highlights last year was Gourmet Cowboy’s chocolate fountain. Guests dipped fruits and breads under cascading Belgium chocolate to satisfy their sweet tooth.

“Every year we get the restaurants to prepare a different menu, and we pick different wines,” Courtney said.Courtney said the highlights this year are Mountain Flour’s tiny desserts and Toscanini’s lobster and Yukon potato lasagna. The bakery is also creating an edible dog-house cake made from chocolate gingerbread.”We’ve paired the lasagna with Italian wine Zenato, Lugana, which is the name of the grape,” Courtney said. “It’s big, rich and fat like chardonnay, but a little bit crisper, so perfect for the lobster.”Boulder-based Willis, with local saxophone player Dave Laub, will play jazz for the evening, and the wine ring toss returns. It was a favorite game among revelers last year, and it earned a lot of money for the animals of the Humane Society, Char Quinn of the humane society said.

Proceeds from the $40 tickets, wine toss and silent auctions go toward the humane society, and this year with Hurricane Katrina on everyone’s mind, some of the proceeds will go toward an animal rescue effort the humane society is heading up. Quinn has been fielding dozens of phone calls daily from people who are concerned about the animal welfare in New Orleans.”There are thousands and thousands of homeless animals there, and they are rescuing more each day,” Quinn said. “We are looking into the best option of where we can help. If we can get some of the animals out here, we’d adopt them in no time.”For more information on the Harvest Party or to purchase tickets, call Beaver Liquors at 949-5040. To learn more about the Eagle Valley Humane Society, log on to http://www.adoptafriend.org.

Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado