Today – August 9, 2014 – was a BLAST! The Albion Merchants Association hosted their first Wine Walk. They called the event “Sip and Stroll Through History”……love the name – it perfectly described the event and the feel of the day! I’ve participated in wine walks before and usually enjoy them, but I loved the way Albion did it up — it just seemed more casual and fun than others I’ve been to. I am already looking forward to next year and years that follow and hope it grows into a larger event with even more fun stuff to do and more shops participating! It was a great day and there was a really nice turnout! Bravo to the Albion Merchants Association – good job!!!
So, the event started out at the Hoag Library where participants registered and received a stamp on their hand and their complimentary wine glass – a lovely glass with an image of the courthouse etched on it with Albion, NY written under the image. I understand they plan to use a different image of a historic building around town each year – it will be fun to collect them all! I love the glass!
While the main event ran from 3:00-7:00, VIP ticket holders (which I was one, of course) could begin at 2:00 and were treated to appetizers served up by The Crooked Door at the Hoag Library before they headed out for wine tastings and other treats. Pictured below is owner Sue Holmes watching her chef prepare one of several appetizers available for the VIP guests. They offered up meatballs, their amazing warm spinach and artichoke dip, and bruschetta. Everything was delicious!
Guests were given a map showing what shops featured wine tastings and where other activities were taking place throughout the downtown area. First stop was the Pullman Universalist Church. Now, I have never gone to church specifically for the purpose of drinking wine and I certainly never purchased wine inside a church before, but today I can say “there’s a first time for everything”! I not only headed in with the intent to taste the wine they had to offer, I actually tasted four different wines and walked out with two bottles of wine I purchased to take home with me!
The Pullman church also had the distinction of being the “most entertaining” stop of the day. Right from the get-go, it was interesting, to say the least! The greeter outside was dressed in a toga and was offering himself up for selfies with him! I opted to just take one of him and leave myself out of it! hahaha But, he was cute and friendly and definitely made you want to stop and check it out!
Downtown Albion is packed with wonderful, historic buildings and the theme of the event was focused on that history. Each stop had a write up that told the history of the specific building you were in – all provided by our amazing County Historian, Bill Lattin. The Pullman church also had a couple other displays that fit into the history theme – one of stained glass fragments and one of different images of Christ.
The winery featured at the Pullman church is one of my favorite local wineries – The Winery at Marjim Manor, located on Route 18 almost to Olcott Beach! It also was the second reason why I thought this stop was the most entertaining of the day. Dave Licata was the pourer representing Marjim Manor and he was a HOOT! He gave an overview of the winery and described each of the four wines he brought with him to share……along with several funny quips and entertaining bits of local trivia. He had a long line waiting for their turn to taste the wines and hear his clever banter! When one lady said, “you probably can’t sell us a whole bottle, can you?”, he replied with, “watch me!” HA! Of course, his job was to make the wines appealing enough to entice some to purchase bottles……and I was one of several who did just that! I bought a bottle of my favorite Marjim Manor wine – “100 Windows”, a light white wine, and a new one I tried today and fell in love with – “Katapalooza” – a red wine made from plums, cherries, and cranberries – it didn’t sound like one I’d like, but it was REALLY good!!!
The stop that got my vote for “most original” was Krantz Furniture! When I got my map at the library, I opened it right up to read what was in store for me when I ventured out on the stroll. I immediately smiled when I read that Krantz Furniture had “Becker Brewing beer tasting” instead of a wine offering – I thought “Go, Linda!”! Becker Farms is a brewery and winery located in Gasport. Krantz Furniture owner, Linda Smith, not only had beer instead of wine, she had pizza and wings as her refreshments and had the most festive exterior decoration to attract participants – a long hot pink boa across the front of the store and a large bottle with a tag that read “Drink Me” (like Alice In Wonderland)! I’ll add that Linda and I went to school together, but that in no way influenced my choosing her as the most original stop of the day — she won that distinction honestly! 🙂 And the beer was a nice alternative — and VERY good!!! I only tried the Watermelon Wheat beer – there were two others to choose from – but, in hindsight, I do wish I had tried the others.
I didn’t get a photo, by my “best taste” of the day went to the offering at Fischer’s News Stand! They had samples from Lake Effect Artisan Ice Cream from Lyndonville. I actually passed it up thinking I could go back to it later – wasn’t sure how a taste of ice cream would go with the wine and beer tastings! 🙂 But, I was told that Gary had wine freeze pops, instead of actual ice cream! Now, that intrigued me! So, I headed over there……and was so glad I did! It was amazing!!! It was creamy, like ice cream, fruity – likely a mixture of berries because I couldn’t really pick out a specific berry – and a hint of alcohol taste all in a sleeve like those freezer pops you get in the store come in! OMG – it was good!!!
Schwenk Winery – located in Kent – was in the Hazy Jade Gift Shop. They had a Reisling that I really liked – I usually don’t care much for Reisling (I don’t mind it, but it isn’t a wine I typically choose), but I tasted two today that were really quite good and Schwenk’s was one of them! I’m not sure, but I think the other one was from Leonard Oakes Winery located on Ridge Road near Medina. Leonard Oakes wines were at several stops – very good wines.
The winery that was represented today that I hadn’t heard of before was Victorianbourg located in Wilson, NY – just west of Olcott Beach. They were set up in the Uptown Browsery and Xpress Fitness. I tried two of their wines – Pechette and Chocolate Obsession! Pechette is a white wine with a distinct peach flavor and a slight effervescence to it! Delicious – I bought a bottle! Chocolate Obsession was amazing, too – it was like taking a big bite of a chocolate covered strawberry! I considered purchasing a bottle, but it was a little too sweet and dessert-y for my taste – a little was incredible, but I wasn’t sure about having a glass or two to finish off an evening – might be a little much, but I really enjoyed the tasting!
Looking at the map, again just now, I notice that I missed stopping at Arnold’s Auto Parts and Dance Reflections, so I’m not sure what wines they had there! Hhhmmm – that’s disappointing! Oh well, I’ll try harder next year to not miss any! 🙂
The other activities and features I enjoyed today included:
I saw the newest of the downtown benches (see my other post about the benches) – painted by Kim Martillotta Muscarella, it is located in front of her son’s shop – Knight’s Pride – and the Pratt Opera House.
I popped in for some photo fun at the Come On Get Snappy Photobooth – I put on a tiara, a pink feather boa, some funky glasses, and grabbed a giant flower and got silly:
My favorite two of the four photos are the first and the last ones:
In summary — here are the wines I purchased, today! This isn’t a slight in any way to the other wonderful wines I tasted — I just couldn’t buy them all (well, that’s what I told myself, anyway)!
Katapalooza from Marjim Manor – a red wine made from plums, cherries, and cranberries – YUM!
One Hundred Windows from Marjim Manor – a light white wine – one I have enjoyed in the past!
Pechette from Victorianbourg Winery – a peachy effervescent wine that was a wonderful surprise!
One thing I love about local wineries are their labels — I am usually really intrigued by the labels they design to distinguish their wines and their wineries!
Katapalooza (far right) has cats on it! 🙂
One Hundred Windows (center) has a photo of the Marjim Manor mansion with, you guessed it, 100 windows!
And, my favorite label of today’s purchases – Pechette has a lovely impressionist painting on it!
And the back label has the following description of the wine on it – makes it sound even better than it actually tastes:
“This delightfully soft, sweet white wine explodes on your tongue with the flavor of natural peach essence. This wine makes a perfect cocktail or a refresher on a warm afternoon – serve it well chilled or over ice.”
Other shops that participated either with tastings in their locations or as additional activities that I didn’t specifically mention above were: Morrison Realty, Downtown Browsery, Digital Ink Arts, Vintage Apple Garden Farm Market Stand, and Vendetti Farm Market Stand. I don’t think I missed mentioning anyone! Thank you to ALL who participated – it was a GREAT event!!!
And, finally……the “highlight of the day” for me…….the Kit Lyman book signing at Bindings Bookstore! Kit Lyman is an Albion HS graduate who recently published her first novel – Satan’s Garden – click here to read an interview I did with her for the Albion HS Alumni Foundation Blog. I read the book and it is AMAZING!!! I was excited to meet her in person and have her sign my copy of the book. I highly recommend this book — it is a really good read! It was an honor to meet her and I look forward to her next book!
For more photos and commentary of today’s downtown event, check out Tom Rivers’ article on The Orleans Hub!