Winter Winefest & Market | Review & Photos by Victoria Durgin

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Review & Photos by Victoria Durgin

Local wines and wares were on prime display for the first (and sold-out) Winter Wine Fest and Market hosted by ArtsQuest on February 19. Held on the second and third floors of the SteelStacks campus, patrons were treated to live music from Stefanie Johnson early in the afternoon.

The event featured 14 wineries from around the Lehigh Valley. Patrons sampled and sipped a wide range of wines, as the event catered to virtually every taste and style. Participating wineries included:


“Once the doors opened, it was non-stop really for almost three hours. Business has really been booming today,” said Joe Gaeta, a wine sommelier at Bangor-based Tolino Vineyards.

Busy tables and high sales were the top themes of the day for many of the businesses at the event, all of whom had the chance to talk directly with patrons about their unique wines.

“Our wines are all made with byproducts and ingredients from our farm, and it’s great to do events where we can talk with people and have them try it out,” said Steve Ortiz of Mount Bethel Farms.

Winter Wine Fest attendees were also able to enjoy a charcuterie class experience which included a take-home board of meats and cheeses from Boars’ Head. An additional class called Wine Tasting 101, with Jay Nee of Juniper and Grain, was also available. These events, and the optional VIP experience, rounded out five hours of fun and cheer on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Tickets for the all-day experience sold out weeks before the event, so an additional round of “twilight admission” from 3-5 pm was opened for purchase to accommodate demand.

Several product vendors were also selling everything from handmade blankets to cutting boards at the festival.

One vendor sold hand-poured candles named after songs by her singer-songwriter husband, who was also at the event.

“Scents and music can both create memories,” said Perla Lopez Baray, the founder of Perla Fragrances and Beauty. “We’ve always wanted to work together, and this has been a great way to do it. I’ve loved getting to share our products with everyone here today.”

Patrons could also purchase sustainably-sourced purses, bags and sheet sets from Oxford Handbags & Co. The business was at another local market late last year and invited to be one of the many vendors at Winter Wine Fest.

“I really wanted to produce an elegant, long-lasting alternative to leather at a reasonable price point,” said Kathy Capelli, the founder. “We’re really a full sustainable lifestyle brand and I love getting to show people what we offer. This has been a great day for us.”

This was the first time ArtsQuest has held an event like Winter Wine Fest. Beer lovers will have their moment of fun on April 15 as the nonprofit hosts the Spring Beer Fest in partnership with the Lehigh Valley Brewer’s Guild at SteelStacks.