Raise Your Glasses to the First Annual Valparaiso Wine Festival

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: June 16, 2013

Did you drive by Central Park Plaza on Saturday afternoon and see what looked like a big party happening on the grounds? There was band was playing, white tents dotted the area, you could smell something delicious as you made your trek down Lincolnway. What was that?

That, dear readers, was the Valparaiso Wine Festival. This was its maiden voyage. It was created and orchestrated by Valparaiso Community Festivals and Events (VCFE). VCFE is a non-profit organization that helps to keep the downtown area alive and well with the awesome events that they provide throughout the year. They are responsible for events such as (but not limited to) Valpo Brewfest, Outdoor Movies, Holly Days and Summer Rhapsody Music Festival –all very popular events.

“This is very similar to the layout and format of Brewfest. Our guests for unlimited wine samples and a commemorative glass.”Tina St. Aubin, Executive Director for VCFE, said. “We are sold out. We capped it tickets at 750. It was a good number for our first year and we’ll grow slowly each year. We have board member and volunteers out helping us today and we are extremely please with the response. With a new event you never know how it will turn out so we’re really thankful.”

There were nine different distributors that took part in the event and there were about 120 different wines that guests could try. Freak Johnson played live music to the delight of the patrons and there was a raffle for 12 bottles of wine. Freebees that were handed out to all who came as well. All this for only $35 per ticket. Nice.

There were VIP passes available for purchase before the fest for $50. Those who bought those got in an hour early, access to a special VIP tent, exclusive wine tastings and food pairings. Designated Driver passes were available as well for a lower fee. See? You can be smart and safe and still have fun.

There was also food available for purchase from Billy Jacks and Sweet Lou That’s Who.

"We started planning this in January. It has been incredibly well-received."Kristin Morrisson, who runs operations for VCFE said. "We sold out of tickets quicker than we ever thought and people seem to be enjoying themselves. So that makes us very happy. I always have fun at our events and we have fun doing it. It's fun to see people really having a good time and knowing that you had a part in making that happen."

Everyone who attended the fest had a great time. The weather was perfect, the location was perfect, and the wine was perfect. Could it be any better? Why, yes. The net proceeds generated from the wine fest were donated to local charities. I’ll tell you what, Northwest Indiana is chalk full of giving people, businesses and organizations.

We look forward to next year! Think about it: like wine, it will only get better as the years go by.

Click here to see more photos from the event!

Distributors included: Republic National Distributing Company, Southern Wine and Spirits, Glazer Distributing, Carroll Wine and Spirits, Crossroads Vintners, Indiana Beverage, Monarch Beverage, Trail Inn Liquors and Triangle Liquors.

Partners for the Valparaiso Wine Festival: First Source Bank, Greigers, Innovative Successful Environments, Muller Acura of Merrillville, St. Mary Medical Center, Town and Country and Strack & Van Til.

This event was proudly brought to you by VCFE and Triangle/Trail Inn Liquors.