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Nantucket Draws Winemakers

July 2008
by Hugh Tietjen
Nantucket, Mass. -- The 12th annual Nantucket Wine Festival, held May 14-18, was as successful with participating vintners as with its estimated 3,000 attendees. The event drew some 160 wineries from the United States and Europe.

"Consumers here are not just drinkers--they are here to learn," said Laurent Drouhin of Maison Joseph Drouhin in Burgundy.

Highlights included "Great Wines in Grand Houses," in which local residents opened their homes for sit-down tastings. Winery lunches and dinners were hosted by local restaurants pairing their cuisine with wines from one or more winery.

The Grand Gala featured 30 stations, each pairing a winery and a chef, with a silent auction to benefit the Nantucket Historical Association.

"I've done eight events in five days," said Dave Guffy, director of winemaking at Hess Collection. Guffy believes that the festival is "the biggest and best on the East Coast."

Given its location in this traditional New England resort, the festival draws from a huge market of high-demographic, knowledgeable wine consumers. The only negative for winery reps was the sheer number of events. In addition to the Historical Association, proceeds from the wine festival benefit the Nantucket New School, Boys and Girls Club and Community Sailing. For details, visit nantucketwinefestival.com.
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