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Archive for Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Salute! wine festival expands offerings

July 4, 2007

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Wine Festival events

Cottonwood Inc.'s annual fundraiser, Salute! A Festival of Wine & Food, includes the following events:

¢ The Winemaker Dinner, at 7 p.m. July 11 in the Crystal Ballroom at the Eldridge Hotel, 701 Mass., where a representative of Michael-David Vineyards will discuss vintages and how they're made. A wine reception begins at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $125.

¢ Mass Street Mosey, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 12, which will feature wines and foods at 11 venues along Massachusetts Street. Cost is $25 and includes a commemorative wine glass.

¢ Grand Tasting & Auctions, from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. July 13, at the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive. The event will offer the opportunity to sample more than 250 wines and eat food from various Lawrence restaurants and caterers. There also will be a silent and live auction. Cost is $60 and includes a commemorative wine glass and butler tray. For an additional $50, people can taste high-end wines and food in The Reserve Room.

To purchase tickets, call 840-1604 or click on www.salutewinefest.com. The events raise money to help area people with disabilities.

Cottonwood Inc.'s fundraiser is just like the fine wine it serves: It improves with age.

The ninth annual Salute! A Festival of Wine & Food is expanding in size and offerings.

"Each year, we try to enhance the experience," said Peggy Wallert, director of community relations and development at Cottonwood.

As always, the festival will include three events: The Winemaker Dinner, July 11; Mass Street Mosey, July 12; and the Grand Tasting & Auctions, July 13. But for the first time, the Winemaker Dinner - usually a sellout - will be in the Eldridge Hotel's Crystal Ballroom instead of Pachamama's because it is a bigger venue. Instead of selling the usual 75 tickets, 100 tickets will be available for the multi-course meal.

"It's just a way for us to grow the event. ... The more people we can have, the better," Wallert said.

The elaborate dinner kicks off the festival that raises money to support Lawrence-area people with disabilities. For $125, a representative from California's Michael-David Vineyards will discuss each vintage as it is tasted along with food made to be paired with each wine.

Wallert said not only is the food fabulous but also it can be a learning experience.

"The event allows the people who come to the dinner to learn firsthand from the winemakers what makes the wine special, and they talk specifically about the coordination of wine and food," she said.

For people who like the downtown area and a more affordable option, the Mass Street Mosey might be for them. At $25 a ticket, participants can sample food and wines at 11 venues, which is one more than last year. Although there are 350 tickets available, it usually sells out.

The three-day festival will conclude with the Grand Tasting & Auctions at the Lawrence Holidome. At $60 a ticket, the event will offer the opportunity to sample more than 250 wines and eat food from area restaurants and caterers. In addition to the Grand Tasting, Cottonwood is offering The Reserve Room where participants can sample high-end wine and food for an extra $50. The room will be limited to 50 people.

"It, perhaps, is for the folks who are more educated and more connoisseurs of great wines," Wallert said.

The evening will include silent and live auctions, with bidding on bottles of wine, jewelry, paintings and trips. Jes Santaularia, a Lawrence developer, is donating an $8,000 trip to Sarasota, Fla., where he will fly the highest bidders in his own private airplane to stay at his ocean-front condominium. He threw in the trip last year while attending the event.

"He just happened to be at our auction and he said, 'Well, I think we should see if anybody would be interested,' and so, he just offered it and it went for $7,000 last year," Wallert said. "It was amazing. And he is doing it again this year."

Santaularia said it was for a good cause.

"I had the resources to do that and it sounded like a kind thing to do," he said.

Those same sentiments were shared by former Kansas City Chiefs football player Kendall Gammon. He and his wife, Leslie, will be returning as celebrity hosts.

"Anytime that being somewhere can help lend - for whatever reason - some credibility or help draw some people, we are more than happy to do it," Gammon said.

He said talking about his football career pales in comparison to talking about Cottonwood and what it does for people in need.

"It's a neat organization," he said.

To purchase tickets, call 840-1604 or click on www.salutewinefest.com.

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