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Bremerton Harborside to host the inaugural Kitsap Wine Festival
With a waterfront venue in waiting and a booming statewide wine industry, Kitsap readies for its first ever wine festival, Aug. 23.
With the state of Washington being the second-largest producer of wine grapes in the United States, it seems fitting that there would be a plethora of festivals in the area to celebrate. But Kitsap has never officially been part of the revelry — until now.
“It all started with our wonderful former mayor Cary Bozeman and how much he loves Fountain Park,” said Terry Halvorson, lead organizer of the inaugural Kitsap Wine Festival.
“Nobody had done (a wine festival) in Kitsap County,” the former Bremerton mayor, now Port of Bremerton CEO Bozeman said. “And my thought was, there wouldn’t be a better place to do it than Fountain Park.”
So amidst the surging state of the Washington wine world — and the surging water features at Fountain Park — Kitsap is poised for its first ever wine festival from 2-6 p.m., Aug. 23 in downtown Bremerton. More than 20 Northwest wineries are slated to pour at the $45-ticket event, with cuisine provided by chef Marsha Henry of the Kitsap Conference Center and Chef Shawn Walker of Anthony’s at Sinclair Inlet, in addition to a variety of local artisan food booths, local wine shops and more, dispersed amongst the fountains at the Bremerton Harborside.
“It’s going to be a nice event,” Bozeman predicts. “Nice wines and some nice music, people walking around in their nice clothes — I think it’s going to be the hottest ticket in town for the next 15 years. Over the years, I think it’ll be ‘the’ event that people who are interested in wine will want to come to.”
Interest from wineries around the Northwest was soaring — as evidenced by the festival’s roster — and at the beginning of the week, ticket sales were already at 400, Bozeman noted.
Elsewhere in Washington’s wine industry news, the Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released a report Aug. 12 which forecast another record harvest of wine grapes in the state this fall. Which is more good news for the Washington wine world — but also partly why Bainbridge Island Vineyards and Winery, one of the few local wineries who actually grow their own grapes here in Kitsap, won’t be in attendance at the Kitsap Wine Festival.
“We have so much to do,” Bainbridge Island Vineyards co-owner Jo Ann Bentryn said. “When we were younger, we tried to go to all the festivals and wine tastings... but right now, there’s a ton of vineyard work to do, from hedging to leaf pulling. Plus we’re right smack in the middle of fermenting strawberry and raspberry wine, so we have to baby sit that.”
Every Sunday at 2 p.m., Jo Ann’s husband Gerard leads a winegrower’s tour of their vineyard, offering visitors the “whole wine experience,” Bentryn noted, “from the ground to the grass.” For more on that go to www.bainbridgevineyards.com.
Also this Sunday, the local Kitsap Wine Society will be venturing into another area of the wine experience — The Art of Fresco Dining — at its next meeting, coincidentally the same day as the inaugural Kitsap Wine Festival, from 1:46-5 p.m. Aug. 23. For more on that, go to www.kitsapwines.org.
The inaugural Kitsap Wine Festival will feature more than 20 Northwest wineries from 2-6 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Bremerton Harborside Fountain Park. Tickets are $45, with net proceeds benefitting Harrison Medical Center. For a list of wineries and more info, go to www.kitsapwinefestival.com or call (360) 473-5555.