Wine event growing in third year at SeaGateWritten by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | email@example.com
The Glass City Wine Festival was so popular its first two years, organizers decided to double the size of the third event, set for noon to 9 p.m. March 7 at the SeaGate Convention Centre.
The festival will now occupy two halls rather than one, said Brook Hall, director of operations for the festival. Attendance the first two years was capped at 1,800, with tickets selling out several weeks in advance. This year, organizers are expanding ticket sales to nearly 3,000, Hall said.
The festival has also increased the number of featured wineries from 14 to 20. All of the wineries are from Ohio, including one from Northwest Ohio: Chateau Tebeau Winery in Helena.
There are two sessions: 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. VIP tickets — which are sold out — allow entry one hour early. Afternoon tickets are $25, while evening tickets are $30. Tickets are available at glasscitywinefestival.com. If tickets do not sell out, they will be $5 more at the door. Proceeds go to Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank.
“I think a good part of [our success] is the time of year,” Hall said. “Everyone’s been cooped up all winter long, and it’s a chance to get out, relax and really have a good time, do some shopping and enjoy some wine.”
In addition to samples from regional wineries, the festival offers attendees a chance to sample gourmet cheese and fare from local restaurants and shop for gifts from a variety of craft businesses.
New this year will be Wine & Canvas, a national painting/cocktail business with a branch in Toledo. The business will host free painting classes at intervals throughout the event. Also new to the festival is the inclusion of Pairings, Ohio’s Wine & Culinary Experience, which will host free wine-tasting classes.
“They’ll basically be teaching people how to taste wine while they swirl a glass, what you’re smelling, what you’re looking for,” Hall said.
The food bank is the festival’s nonprofit sponsor, helping to staff the event while collecting donations and spreading awareness of its mission.
“We’re exceedingly proud to be affiliated with such a wonderful, growing event as the Glass City Wine Festival,” food bank president James Caldwell said in a press release. “It is especially gratifying to be part of an event that showcases local and Ohio-based businesses. The event not only helps us pay the bills but also increases visibility for our important agency.”
Hall said the agency received $6,000 last year from ticket sales, with an additional $1,500 in tips from operating the coat check area.
The Glass City Wine Festival was founded in 2011 by Lilly Productions as one of four similar events the company hosts in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.