August 3, 2009


Vintners keep busy at wine fest

Third annual art, wine festival features 20 wineries and 70 artists

Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Don Spaulding of Cortland samples wine during the third annual Arts and Wine Festival Saturday in Courthouse Park.

Staff Reporter

Steve and Lisa DiPaolo had their first date of the summer Saturday, drinking wine, listening to music and eating together at the Arts and Wine Festival.
They have been married for seven years, but still called Saturday their “date night.” Steve DiPaolo’s uncle once told him he should “date” his wife in order to have a good marriage.
The third annual Arts and Wine Festival featured about 70 artists and crafters, 20 wineries, 12 food vendors and nine musical acts. It was held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday in Courthouse Park.
The DiPaolos, who live in Cortland, compared the wines they tried in the wine tasting tent to those they tasted when visiting wineries near Temecula, Calif.
“You get a different perspective of how the New York wines compare to the California wines, and the New York wines are pretty good,” he said.
Steve DiPaolo said he tried New York wines when he was in college and thought they were too sweet, but he thinks New York wines have come a long way.
Dave Blatchley, a president of the Cultural Council of Cortland County, which organized the event, said they used to host an art show for local artists, but turning it into an event with music, food and wine has helped to attract more people.
“We feel that if we can get the crowd, it’s kind of up to the artists to sell their work,” Blatchley said.
Blatchley said the council is modeling the event after the Watkins Glen Festival, which features about 100 wineries. The Arts and Wine Festival will never become as big as the Watkins Glen Festival, he said, but he hopes it will become a larger, regional event.
“I think with our location right next to Route 81 here we should be able to pull from a pretty wide area,” Blatchley said.
Bob and Sandy Cook walked around and looked at art while walking their dog, a wheaten terrier named Sheba.
“I like it because it’s not on pavement. It’s on the grass,” Sandy Cook said. “And the dog can come.”
They said they often go to arts events in Ithaca, where they live, and plan to go to an arts festival in Hammondsport this summer.
Susie Kos, a health occupation teacher for Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES at the McEvoy Center, was selling her abstract expressionist paintings. She paints in her free time.
Saturday was the third time Kos has sold her work at the Arts and Wine Festival. She usually sells her work in art galleries in New York City, she said.
Four Chimneys Organic Winery was giving samples of their wine for the third consecutive year.
“We like to expose our product to a larger customer base,” said David Hagel, co-owner of the Himrod-based company.
Four Chimneys Organic Winery became the first certified organic winery in the country when it began selling wines in 1980, Hagel said.
Its founders were not the first people to make organic wine, but the first to receive a bond number to certify it, he said. All wine-makers used to make organic wine before the invention of pesticides and chemicals.
Organic wine does not taste different from regular wine, but people like the idea of it, he said.
“We aren’t putting chemicals into out product or the environment,” he said.


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