Many area wine festivals in May

By Kitsey E. Burns kburns@civitasmedia.com

May 1, 2014

Wine festival season will kick off this spring with Mount Airy’s fifth annual Budbreak Festival on May 3 in downtown Mount Airy. This festival, hosted in the heart of Mayberry by the Mount Airy Rotary Club and Downtown Business Association, is what organizer Bob Meinecke called a “boutique experience.”

“The thing we’ve tried to do, more than anything, is to keep it small and interesting,” Meinecke said. “We want it to be about food, art, wine and great entertainment.”

The Budbreak Festival will feature 15 area wineries as well as food and art vendors. This year’s festival also will be featuring craft beer. Meinecke said there was a great interest in adding this unique twist to the festival.

Entertainment at the Budbreak Festival will include a performance by the Mediocre Bad Guys, with special guest Bobby Keys, saxophonist with the Rolling Stones. Eric and The Chilltones, featuring Mount Airy native and WFMY meteorologist and reporter Eric Chilton, also will perform.

A number of area events, including the inaugural Fiddle Crawl which will showcase 12 “larger-than-life” fiddle sculptures designed by local artists and other events hosted by the Surry Arts Council, will be great opportunities for visitors to experience Mount Airy, Meinecke said.

“We’re trying to encourage people to spend time in Mount Airy, at the shops, art exhibits and more and to add reasons for people to come to the area for several days to enjoy what makes Mount Airy and Mayberry wonderful.”

Tasting tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the event, general admission is $5. For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit www.budbreakfestival.com.

On May 17, plan to visit Surry County once again to enjoy more local wine at the 13th annual Yadkin Valley Wine Festival in Elkin. Around 30 wineries, all featuring Yadkin Valley wine, will be pouring at Elkin Park this year, said Misty Matthews, one of the festival organizers from the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“This festival is a great showcase for the wines of the Yadkin Valley,” Matthews said. “Our wines continue to get better and we have new wineries every year.”

Vendors showcasing jewelry, hats, local pottery, wood crafts and more also will be a part of the festival. Matthews said the group is looking to expand to feature additional local artists from Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties.

Festival goers will have their choice of snacks to enjoy. Food vendors at the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival will feature everything from cheese and hummus to traditional festival food of hot dogs and hamburgers in addition to salads, Jamaican jerk chicken, sweet strawberry wine BBQ chicken, crab cakes, grilled shrimp, ice cream and more.

Blues DeVille will kick off the days entertainment at noon, followed by music from 3 to 5 p.m. by Carolina Soul Band.

Matthews said this festival has become a yearly tradition for many, including a family from California who plans their annual vacation just so they can attend. Though last year’s festival had a rainy start, there were around 2,300 tasters. Typically the festival draws 3,000 to 3,500 wine tasting enthusiasts. The festival is also a boon to the local economy, driving traffic to area hotels, restaurants and shops.

Hotel shuttles are available from the accommodations in Elkin and Jonesville to take visitors to the festival for a fee of $5. Parking also is available at Elkin Park for $5. For large parties, corporate groups or bridal parties, the festival also is offering private tent space. Pricing varies and is customized by the group’s needs, tent reservations may be made by calling the chamber office.

Matthews said that making the festival convenient and fun is the goal. A wine check is available so visitors can enjoy the festival without having to carry around their purchases all day.

“We want people to stay and enjoy wine and listen to the music and spend the day in Elkin,” Matthews said.

She also said she hoped visitors would plan to stay the night and spend Sunday visiting the area wineries.

“It’s one thing to taste the wine but then to go to the winery gives you a different feel. They are all so unique and meant to be experienced.”

Tasting tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event. The veteran price is $20. For more details about the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival or to purchase tickets, visit www.yvwf.com or call the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce at 336-526-1111.

The month of May will be a busy one for area wineries and wine enthusiasts. Two additional wine festivals will take place in Forsyth County on May 24 and May 31.

The 14th annual North Carolina Wine Festival will be held at Tanglewood Park in Clemmons from noon to 6:30 p.m. on May 24. Visit www.ncwinefestival.com for details. In Downtown Winston-Salem, BB&T will host the ninth annual Salute! North Carolina Wine Celebration on May 31. For more information, visit www.salutencwine.com.

Kitsey E. Burns can be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.