August 8, 2011


Festivalgoers savor art, wine

5th annual fete in Courthouse Park draws 15 wineries, 55 artists

WineJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Karen Keefe, left, and her sister Kathy Ryan sample the wine at Long Point Winery’s wine tasting table Saturday during the Cortland Arts and Wine Festival at Courthouse Park.

Staff Reporter

Cyndi Morris laughed and smiled as she and her three sisters tried an assortment of wines during the fifth annual Arts and Wine Festival
“This one is fabulous,” Morris said as she took a small sip of a sauvignon blanc from Long Point Winery in Aurora.
Morris and her three sisters attend the event every year and said they were having a great time despite gray skies and a driving rain that made things a little bleak.
“It’s just nice to taste a variety of wines,” Morris said. “We have a great time.”
The festival, held at Courthouse Park, draws thousands each year to taste some New York wines, enjoy local art and listen to a variety of classical music and jazz. About 55 artists and 15 wineries participated in the event, said Mike Sheppard, who serves on the board of directors of the Cultural Council of Cortland County, which organizes the event.
Sheppard said the dreary Saturday weather might have turned some people away but that he was happy with how the event was going.
“We’re just trying to make this a tradition every year, and it’s something for people to enjoy,” Sheppard said.
The event is great for wineries that want to get their product in the glasses of potential customers and for wine tasters looking to try new things, he said.
“We like to come out and introduce our wines to people and hear their feedback,” said Russ Nalley from Long Point Winery. He said the company can go through a couple of cases of wine during a tasting event.
SUNY Cortland professor John Hartsock also signed copies of his book, “Seasons of a Finger Lakes Winery,” which tells the story of Long Point Winery.
One popular drink at the festival was the dragon fire wine from Pazdar Winery in Scotchtown. Tasters who tried the wine said they were impressed with the wine’s spicy taste.“They’re just really creative wines,” said Staci Kirkland of Virgil. “It’s our first time here and it’s just nice to have something to do here in Cortland.”
The winery also offers a series of chocolate dessert wines, which Kirkland said she wanted to try.
As tasters moved from station to station, the artists at the event waited for people to stop by and view their art on the other side of the park.
John Samsel of Endicott specializes in Raku pottery, which involves rapidly heating glazed pots in a kiln and then placing them in a metal container with materials such as sawdust and paper.
The 400-year-old Japanese technique creates some interesting glaze effects, Samsel said. He’s a retired teacher and administrator who learned the craft in his retirement years.
The weather made sales of his glazed pottery slow, but he said he was still having a good time.
“This is something I love doing,” he said.


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