LI Wine Council kicks off 4th annual Winterfest

02/03/2011 2:49 PM |

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO

It’s that time of year when the East End heats up.

At least on weekends.

And to mark the beginning of the fourth annual Long Island Winterfest in the vineyards, event organizers held a press event Thursday in Riverhead to outline exactly what’s in store this winter for wine and music lovers.

The 2011 theme, Jazz on the Vine,  is the same as in years past, but there are some major changes for this year’s festival, which starts officially on Friday, Feb. 11, and runs every weekend through Sunday, March 20.

The biggest change comes in the form of a $10 ticket attendees will have to pay at participating wineries to help recoup some of the costs to put on the festival, said Steven Bate of the Long Island Wine Council.

The $10 ticket will be good for entrance and serve as a voucher for a free glass of wine.

The decision to charge for the event didn’t come easy, Mr. Bate said.

“We had a long discussion about it,” he said. “But, we thought, where  can you go out and get a great glass of wine for under $10 anymore? Here you get the wine and listen to live jazz performances. So we thought it was a good deal.”

Paying attendees will also have their ticket stubs entered into a weekly raffle, with winners receiving a free weekend at Hotel Indigo on West Main Street in Riverhead as well as a wine basket and other treats. Each $10 ticket will be split between the winery hosting the performance, “for the wine,” and the wine council, which plans to use the proceeds for Long Island Wine Country marketing and promotions, Mr. Bate said.

The yearly event, considered a boon not only to local wineries but other businesses such as restaurants, hotels, motels and B&B’s, is a collaboration of the wine council, East End Arts Council, Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau and the county Department of Economic Development and Workforce Housing. The county this year is contributing $40,000 for the event, money generated from hotel and motel taxes.

Thursday’s press event was held at Hotel Indigo, formerly the Best Western hotel.

“When we all come together to do this, it’s like an orchestra getting together to make music happen,” said county Legislature Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches), who attended the press conference. “So, let the music begin.”

The performance schedule features over 50 acts “brimming with high-profile talent from all over the world,” organizers said in a press release, including Bakithi Kumalo, Morris Goldberg and Alex Sipiagin. Some artists have performed with music legends like Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson and Charles Mingus.

“That’s our role in all this, making people interested in jazz,” said Pat Snyder, East End Arts Council director, “We bring together these acts that consist of over 200 musicians in all. That’s the arts part of the festival.”

As for the schedule of acts, Mr. Bate said that in previous years several shows were going on at once, which resulted in a sort of cannibalization of guests who made the trip to the East End.

“Some wineries did  better than others, “ he said, noting that this season, with just a few exceptions, there will be four acts each Saturday and four acts each Sunday, with only two going on at one time. With better planning and more marketing, he said he expected bigger crowds than in years past, despite the cover charges.

Of the history of Winterfest, he said it “has transformed the region.”

“We have been able to get people out  during a time of year that, frankly, businesses had given up on.”

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Comments

comments

17 Comment

  • More upisland idiots clogging our roads. They come here to catch a buzz & party, nothing more, nothing less. Don’t hand me that neo- sophisticated bull about the nuances of wine. Booze is booze. A drunk is a drunk. And wine is nothing more than an alcoholic beverage disguised as something more, which it’s not. Stay home and get your high on there…

  • Yeah it is egregious that wineries are trying to bring business out to the East End in the dead of winter. I’m sure all of the restaurant, B&B and local business owners are in an uproar. If you are that narrow minded to think that everyone visiting this area is coming out just to get drunk at a winery, I feel sorry for you. In this economic climate everyone on the East End should be thankful that there is even a reason to come out here in the middle of the winter. Thanks to the wineries we now have a tourism industry year round. Are you going to suggest we close the beaches come summer because there are a bunch of “upisland idiots” clogging our roads then?

  • I’ve met some of the most wonderful people attending these events over the past few years. Wine and music in a beautiful countryside with great people is a wonderful answer to the gray days of winter.
    Also thankful to see a local economy stimulated in these times – we should be grateful for that!

  • I could care less about tourism. This is my home, not to be trod upon. Closing the beaches to non-residents is a good idea. I’m not interested in lining the pockets of a few business people, the majority of the people that live here don’t own a business. Those that do, employee people within the service sector which is I’m sure you know low pay jobs. I’m not at all narrow minded, in fact I see more than those who are just trying to line their pockets and could care less about our environment and quality of life. What”s next, casino gambling? If there is a buck to be made, why not, right?

  • I could care less about tourism. This is my home, not to be trod upon. Closing the beaches to non-residents is a good idea. I’m not interested in lining the pockets of a few business people, the majority of the people that live here don’t own a business. Those that do, employee people within the service sector which is I’m sure you know low pay jobs. I’m not at all narrow minded, in fact I see more than those who are just trying to line their pockets and could care less about our environment and quality of life. What”s next, casino gambling? If there is a buck to be made, why not, right?

  • Let them eat astroturf.

    Oh how the mighty have fallen.

  • The residents and students who benefitted from the power plant $$$ have long since moved on. The current residents and children have been shortchanged for 20 years by a “frozen” State Aid Formula. Hardly just. The conditions of the buildiings and grounds in SWR school district, as a result of a history of neglect over those years, would make the Indian cry (in that classic commercial about pollution). Mr. Costas is entirely correct concerning the districts continued inability to do premises maintenance and eventually replacement (what should be done) because it is directly impacted by a perpetual shortage of our fair share of aid.
    A bit disturbing that “SWRWTF” takes pleasure in this. Your crass monker speaks volumes about your lack of character. I don’t place much weight in your opinion.

  • Actually, Regina Seltzer did hold elected office as a Brookhaven Town council member back in the 70s.

  • I am not paying for the upgrades. No Way. How about we force retired some Admistation Positions and then we could afford upgrades.

  • I guess you can place the blame wherever you like but, the truth of the matter is that there was more than ample time since the LIPA funds dried up to avoid the iceberg… yet the band played on.

    With all due respect, if SWR is circling the drain (as it appears to be) its problem may be staring at itself in the mirror each morning.

    I couldnt blame anyone for wanting to bail.

  • The band hasn’t played here in years! Could probably think of some twist on the lyrics of “the day the music died” with a little thought- but just too tired today.

    There has been absolutely no way to avoid the iceberg, with voters rejecting the budget and bond proposals so often. The only way to maintain any semblence of the educational & co-curricular opportunites offered to our neighbors was to entirely neglect facilities. State imposed mandates, the taylor Law & Triborough Amendment insure rising costs year after year. Then we can thank our “friend ” Former Senator Foley for his great foresight in passing the MTA Tax….the list of financial pitfalls gifted to us by our esteemed electoral officials goes on & on.

  • Thats Miller Place with the fields dude.

  • You cannot forget to thank Senator LaValle for building that MTA mess that is still failing.

  • I have been a full time resident of Wading River for 12 years, and a seasonal resident for over 40 years along with my family. Wading River needs this. I know I am drowning in taxes and perhaps these new establishments will help alleviate some of that or least help in not raising them much higher. If they are tastefully done, they will only enhance this town. It will also create jobs in this economy where people have been out of work. Over development? Please, give me a break.

  • I have been a full time resident of Wading River for 12 years, and a seasonal resident for over 40 years along with my family. Wading River needs this. I know I am drowning in taxes and perhaps these new establishments will help alleviate some of that or least help in not raising them much higher. If they are tastefully done, they will only enhance this town. It will also create jobs in this economy where people have been out of work. Over development? Please, give me a break.

  • So the opponents of this development would rather look at the abandoned ice cream, chicken and ribs building? We do need this. We need to increase the property tax base, provide local job opportunities, and provide people with a place to go. The traffic will always be here as the people go through WR on their way to the east end. The developers could provide impact fees that may be able to be used to add a lane on 25A that would accommodate the congestion. Let’s make WR a destination with some useful attractions. We also need to respect American property holders’ rights. As long as everything is done by the book, within the rules, then the community will get the best outcome. That’s what the rules exist for. Save Wading River does NOT speak for all of us, and the local politicians should hear from the silent majority. This area along 25A is already commercial, and there are limited residences within view of this area. The NIMBY-ISM has to stop, or we will not progress as a community.

  • As far as the tax generated by such businesses and the potential to offset our steadily increasing property taxes, there is no solid basis for this belief. Think of what happened when the Shoreham Nuclear Reactor was considered important, since it helped nearby landowners through property tax incentives or subsidies. Now what happened? Those incentives/subsidies have long evaporated, leaving remaining property owners liable for substantial tax bills that have more than doubled their original assessments, and considering recent major tax increases, nearly tripled. Now, consider the current economy and what is foreseen for the next several years. For argument sake, let’s say that all proposed projects are realized. What is the likelihood for near 100% business tenancy in all units? What is the likelihood (that) two years from now, businesses had survived the slow economy and those businesses continue to remain viable then? Leases and rental agreements will demand high monthly “rent payments” for these fledgling businesses. Sadly, I foresee a great deal of vacant units and liken their reality to near-vacant strip malls. If there is a demand for so much business, why do we today see so many vacant buildings?

    Another worry: What happens when we see the greater traffic burden? Think of Route 25A/ Sound Avenue during the early autumn months, but much, much worse and year round. Is it time to widen the roads now before things get bad? For those who wonder aloud about new business bolstering the tax base, who is going to pay for improved and widened roads? We are all going to have to shoulder the cost through increased taxes, so this great detriment in itself far outweighs the questionable tax benefits of what a new few businesses might bring.