NC Wine and Grape Council Launches New Wine Festival…

Celebration showcases quality wines and state’s expanding wine industry

Raleigh, NC (June 8, 2006) – The North Carolina Wine and Grape Council is ready to pop the cork on a new wine festival. Salute! The North Carolina Wine Celebration debuts in downtown Winston-Salem Saturday, June 24, from noon until 6 p.m. The Wine and Grape Council is the founding sponsor of the inaugural event.

Salute! promises to be the standout among the summer wine celebrations. The event will be produced by the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership, which regularly hosts popular street festivals and family-friendly events. The festival’s vibrant, urban setting will allow attendees to park close to the event, converse with wine makers and enjoy wine, food and music, and then stroll through nearby galleries and shops.

More than twenty wine makers from across the state will be on-hand to educate interested consumers about the intricacies of their craft and to share samples of the award winning wines they produce.

“The state’s winemakers were the inspiration for this festival,” says Margo Knight, executive director of the NC Wine and Grape Council. “They wanted an event that would truly showcase North Carolina’s burgeoning wine industry, our talented winemakers, and the diversity and quality of the wines produced here.”

Lenna Hobson, owner of RagApple Lassie Vineyards and Winery in Boonville is eager to share her passion for the grape and making wine. “I want folks to know that we are producing quality products and to feel a sense of pride when serving them at home.”

North Carolina’s winemakers have their own sense of pride at being a part of what they see as an agricultural “changing of the guard.” Planting vineyards preserves the tradition of the family farm and helps insure that their land will remain agricultural and not be targeted for development.

North Carolina’s wine industry is expanding at an impressive rate. Currently, 54 wineries operate in 31 counties, and more are expected to open by December. Among the states, North Carolina ranks twelfth in wine production and tenth for grape production.

“It is exciting to be part of an industry that is contributing to the economic stability of our state,” says George Denka, president of Shelton Vineyards near Dobson and Mt. Airy, NC. He and other winemakers participating in Salute! see the new festival as the perfect opportunity to share their excitement and expertise with fellow wine lovers and have high expectations for its future. “Everyone who joins us will learn a lot more about North Carolina wine,” he adds. “But this is only the beginning. We look forward to seeing Salute! become the premiere wine celebration in North Carolina.”

Salute! The North Carolina Wine Celebration will take place in downtown Winston-Salem on Fourth Street between Poplar and Spruce Streets. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $15, or at the festival for $20, cash or check only. For complete ticket and festival information, visit www.salutencwine.com.

Natural scenic beauty, adventure and relaxation, a dining experience for every taste, rich history and warm Southern hospitality come together in North Carolina. Call 1-800-VISIT NC or go to VisitNC.com to plan your next getaway.

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