Signature wine event on the way

Published 7:29 pm Thursday, February 19, 2015

If you like wine, or craft beer, or cheese, or art, or music, or having a good time, or helping out local charities, or any combination of the above, you’ll want to mark April 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on your calendar.

The Suffolk Wine Festival will have its inaugural event that day at the former Tidewater Community College campus on College Drive. The Suffolk Business Women group plans the new event, and it will raise money now only for the SBW’s scholarship fund but also for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a camp fund for local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and the downtown and North Suffolk Rotary clubs.

Organizers said they were looking to create a signature event for the organization and for the community. From the looks of things, they already have a lot of interest for the event, and they may very well have accomplished their goal of creating a signature event.

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Wine and craft beer are growing interests of many Virginians, including the owners of more than 192 wineries — more than any other state except California, New York, Oregon and Washington, according to Virginians have made wine for more than four centuries. The Jamestown settlers initially tried — and failed — to grow European grapes. Thomas Jefferson cultivated European grapes for more than 30 years and never produced a single bottle of wine. George Washington also tried for 11 years. But in the 1820s, wines made with grapes native to America had success, according to

It seems odd that the founders of our country couldn’t figure out knowledge everyone now takes for granted — that plants native to a region grow more easily there.

But nevertheless, the wine industry is here to stay now, and about a dozen Virginia wineries will be featured at the Suffolk Wine Festival. About half a dozen craft beer breweries will be on hand, too.

Cheese plates will be for sale to enjoy with your drinks, and other food vendors will be there also. Art will be available for purchase, and good musical entertainment is on tap.

Best of all, the cost of your admission will go toward supporting scholarships, Scouts, wishes for seriously ill children and the many charities supported by the city’s two Rotary clubs, and that’s something to have a toast for.

For more information or tickets, visit or the website at Tickets also will be available at select locations, which will be listed on the website.