Medina draws crowd with Wine About Winter

Posted 1 February 2014 at 12:00 am

750 sample wine from 26 locations in downtown

Photos by Sue Cook – John R. Smith pours Chocolate Obsession for a curious taster. 

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

MEDINA – Wine About Winter started out perfectly picturesque this afternoon as the snow fluttered down Main Street in Medina. The weather didn’t dampen the spirits of anyone attending the event, either.

The wine-tasting event was a sell-out with 750 people going door to door at the 26 participating Medina businesses to sample wines from Orleans County and the Niagara region.

This group of women came out to experience the day together.

Della’s Chocolates was a popular spot and drew in consistent business. Owner Susan Fuller commented, “We’re having some newcomers and some repeat customers. It’s about fifty-fifty.”

Featured in Della’s was the Victorianbourg Wine Estate from Wilson, serving samples of a chocolate wine called Chocolate Obsession. John R. Smith, sales and event manager, said that the Medina Business Association paired him with Della’s and it couldn’t be a better day for both of them.

“The two liquor stores in Medina carry our wines,” he said. “They’re a pleasure to work with. This event is giving us good reception.”

Jerod Thurber, right, gave samples of Leonard Oakes’ Traminette, a dry wine. The winery wanted to offer a different flavor compared to the many sweet, semi-sweet, and semi-dry wines brought by other wineries.

Jerod Thurber of Leonard Oakes Estate Winery in Medina also holds a place on the Medina Business Association. He said that even though the event is a great reminder for locals about Leonard Oakes, it is much more beneficial to Medina merchants.

“It’s a way of spotlighting businesses,” he said.

Wine About Winter brings people back to downtown Medina who may not have been there in a while.

“It’s like a family reunion,” Thurber said.

Paul Schwenk, owner of Schwenk Wine Cellars in Kent, loves the attention that it provides for the area, even outside of Medina.

“There are a lot of people who don’t know where Albion is,” he said. “There’s also a lot of people who don’t know where Kent is.”

RG Lama Studios was in the basement of the Bent’s Opera House taking pictures of groups that wanted to capture the fun from the day using props such as giant sunglasses, blow-up guitars, and crazy hats.

“We are getting a mix of people who don’t know us, and this is a great way to spread word about our services,” Renee Lama said.

It was smiles all around for this group of happy wine samplers.

The businesses had to obtain a one-day liquor license for the event to allow a winery into their store. All of the wines are available for purchase at Main Liquor. Dianne Burns, store manager, said this is the busiest festival Main Liquor participates in each year.

“People look forward to it each year,” she said. “It gives you a chance to see what each store has to offer.”

Rock Paper Salon owner Yvonne Flores made a similar remark.

“This is an opportunity for anyone who would like to come in to who would feel awkward without making a hair appointment, or just aren’t comfortable walking into unfamiliar shops,” she said.

The Medina Business Association sold t-shirts to also commemorate the event.

Sebastian Bonk, employee of Just What The Doctor Ordered, said it was a great day for people discovering the shop, which has a small unassuming entrance, but inside is a large store with many upscale items to offer, including chic hats and beautiful furniture.

“This helps to spark business,” Bonk said. “It gets the energy up. It’s a great flow of people who give that great energy.”

The snowy start didn’t stop a large line from waiting in the cold for their event glasses.