Gail Jorgensen of Kent couldn’t hide her enthusiasm Saturday after discovering her new favorite wine — a red blend from Classic Winemakers out of Olympia.
“We would have never known about it if it wasn’t here,” Jorgensen said during the 24th annual Capital Food and Wine Festival at Saint Martin’s University.
Jorgensen and her friends Gini Hall of Tacoma and Karan Glaze of Port Orchard were among thousands of patrons at the festival, sponsored by Saint Martin’s Alumni Association. The event raises money for university scholarships, endowments and community projects.
This year’s event featured 40 Washington-based wineries, 16 cellar wines and 16 regional microbreweries, slightly down from previous years. The move to a smaller event was made to better prepare for next year’s 25th anniversary celebration.
“We have already started planning for next year,” said Evan Martin, co-director of the festival. “We are looking into big-name artists to be on the mainstage and are looking for more vendors versus what we do today.”
Dana Roberts of Westport Winery was serving customers for the third year Saturday. The family-run winery out of Aberdeen started five years ago after Roberts’ parents moved back to the area.
“They wanted to get back into farming,” Roberts said. “We have a history in agriculture.”
Five years after deciding to create a vineyard, the family business now features 36 wines, plus a restaurant, a bakery and a nursery. Roberts found himself serving a lot of repeat customers at Saturday’s event.
“This is always a great event, and I have a line all day, which is great,” he said, offering up the winery’s three most popular wines to the masses.
About 2,000 people filled Marcus Pavilion and the Norman Worthington Conference Center just 21/2 hours after the doors had opened, slightly behind the event’s usual schedule.It didn’t concern organizers.
“Typically on nice days it’s slower in the day, then more people show up in the evening,” Martin said.
Between 3,000 and 4,000 people attended last year’s festival, bringing in nearly $46,000 in revenue.
The 2005 festival brought in the most profit to date: $75,000.