‘Tis the season for grapes in North East. Driving through the area, you can just smell them in the air. The grape harvest is in full swing and local North East wineries are excited to showcase their goods at the 37th annual WineFest.
Preparations are underway for an annual event that kicks off the fall season and celebrates farmers in one local town.
North East is one of the few places in the country that has a ‘grape heritage’. And people in the business, like Co-Owner of Mobilia Fruit Farms’ Nick Mobilia, says, “We should be proud to show off what we do here”.
Local grape farmers are about a third of the way through their grape harvest.
Mobilia tells us, “The weather has been so nice this summer. It was so hot, they really advanced faster than they should’ve. Then, we started to have some rain and they just matured like right now. So, we’ve just been pressing every day, we’re pressing like 12 hours a day.”
Mobilia Farms is pressing 25-30,000 gallons just for their own winery. Plus an additional 200,000 for other wineries.
One of the first steps for growers is picking the grapes. The vidal grape, for example… and you get to try the finished product this weekend at the North East WineFest, showing off the small town of North East and the Lake Erie grape belt, the WineFest is a fall season staple.
Mobilia says, “We’re gonna have a lot of wine. It’s going to be good. The color’s good. All the tans are nice, the flavors are there. So it’s going to be a good year.”
The Mobilia crew is loading up and transporting about 2,000 bottles of wine in 10 varieties. 10 other North East wineries will also be offering their goods for sampling and buying.
Festivities will take place in both Gravel Pit and Gibson parks in order to accommodate the more than 20,000 visitors.
Even Coordinator Holly Ferruggia tells us, “We have a caricature artist, we have a magician, there’s a couple other things. Of course, there’s tons of vendors: craft vendors, food vendors… There’s tons of food trucks down in Gravel Pit this year…” Not to mention the gourmet fudge, grape stomping, and; new this year, wineries will be bringing their ciders, too.
Mobilia tells us, “We’re proud of our community, we’re proud of our little festival and we just ask everybody to come on out and have a good time.”
WineFest is the chamber’s primary fundraiser and donations will also be made to four area non-profits. And, though this is WineFest, kids are welcome and under 10, they’re free. The festival runs this Friday through Sunday.