From 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, more than 500 area residents gathered at Owera Vineyards for the annual Taste of Cazenovia. More than 15 local businesses offered samples of their grub and grog to those in attendance, while music from acoustic duo, the Noisy Boys, provided the soundtrack. The event benefited the Cazenovia Children’s House, a local non-profit organization which is celebrating 40 years of operation.
Event coordinator Cindy Underriner couldn’t have been happier with the turnout and tastings. “With over 500 people in attendance, this Taste of Cazenovia became our most well attended,” she said. “The support of area restaurant and beverage sponsors, our event sponsors, the merchants and community members has been overwhelming. After months of committee planning meetings and collaboration planning with Owera Vineyards, the Taste evolved into an opportunity for the community to come together, on a beautiful fall evening, to celebrate the harvest of the new Owera Vineyards and the 40th anniversary of the Cazenovia Children’s House.”
CCH is a licensed early care and education program for children ages 6-weeks to 12-years-old. They offer full time, part time, after school and summer sessions as well as preschool programs to the community.
The country-casual occasion took place under a large tent in a field behind the many rows of growing grapevines. Visitors followed the dirt road lined with candle-filled mason jars to the gathering, complete with a chandelier centerpiece created out of wooden branches and elk-antler candle holders. Attendees were given the opportunity to partake in numerous silent auctions as well as a few live auctions of special bottles of Owera’s award-winning wines.
Tickets were sold for $30, with an optional “VIP Taste” event that took place before the fundraiser, for an additional $10. VIPs were treated to a tour of the winery, a private tasting as well as a commemorative glass, marking the gathering. Owera Vineyards Director of Operations, Ben Reilley, said so many people wanted to participate, they were forced to cap the VIP tastings.
“We had to shut down the VIP tour because it reached 200. Our parking lots were full up,” Reilley said. This event is overwhelmingly unbelievable, in a good way. I get to wear two hats, I’m the director of operations at Owera, and I have two children that go to the Cazenovia Children’s House. I think so many people in the community are curious about the property when they drive by, a lot of the ticket sales were not only CCH supporters, but interested wine-enthusiasts.”
Reilly shared that the Owera is looking expand in the coming year, bringing their production to the property in Cazenovia and building a 7,500 square-foot tasting room. Currently the grapes are grown at 5276 East Lake Road in Cazenovia, and processed at a warehouse in East Syracuse. Reilley said by summer of 2012, the two new buildings should be completed and Owera Vineyards will be fully operational.
For more information on CCH, visit their location at 2757 Route 20 in Cazenovia, access cazenoviachildrenshouse.org online or call 655-5437. To learn more about Owera Vineyards, visit oweravineyards.com online, call 815-5026 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or email@example.com.