Featuring wine, beer and food from 19 area vendors, the Wine-A-Ree is a great chance to try out new tastes and let old favorites roll around your tongue. The event stands as a Columbus favorite, drawing hundreds of participants each year all to benefit Hoosier Trails Boy Scouts Council.

vintage quality

Chaired by Mary Lou Siefker, Wine-A-Ree was founded by Viewpoint Books employee Melinda Clark who was, at the time of the event’s creation, going through a Scouting leadership program. Clark had heard of similar wine-tasting fundraisers and, although she didn’t know much about wine at the time, she saw the greater appeal of the event.“I’m not a wine connoisseur,” Clark said. “I appreciate it much more than I used to. But it just sounded like it would be a fun, painless way to raise money for the Scouts. The public would enjoy it. This is a win-win. They’re supporting us. At the same time they can enjoy themselves.”Conducted in 2008 at the Breeding Farm with six vendors and catered by the event organizers, the inaugural Wine-A-Ree drew a couple of hundred people. The next year’s event used Otter Creek Golf Course as its backdrop. Since then, Wine-A-Ree attendees have gathered at The Commons.

pouring a glass

Wine-A-Ree is a simple enough event.Show up at The Commons on Saturday. Get a wine glass and walk around vendor booths, sampling as you go along. It’s an event for mingling and mixing, Siefker said.It’s also a packed event. Last year’s Wine-A-Ree drew more than 700 attendees. The volunteers were stocked with 650 wine glasses and ran out more than an hour before the event was finished.

This year, Siefker said, she ordered 1,000 wine glasses. She hopes to have just as many hands to put the glasses in.

“I think we should have a great turnout again,” Siefker said.

You won’t find any Boy Scouts working the event, but you will find information about the Scouting program.

Siefker sees the event as a way to reach out to potential volunteers, “people that enjoy something different that might not know as much about Scouting,” Siefker said. “We are always seeking new leaders. We need people to know what the program is about.”

The day will also include a silent auction, which includes a stay at a Fort Myers Beach condo in Florida.

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et it breatheAccording to Siefker, it costs the Hoosier Trails Boy Scout Council $145 a year for each Scout to go through various age-level programs, from first-grade boys to 21-year-old men. These funds includes paying for Scouting staff and programs and insurance.The Wine-A-Ree benefits Scouting in four counties, including Bartholomew, and helps more than 1,000 area Scouts.

“I’ve seen what the program does for youth,” said Siefker says, whose service to Scouting paired with that of her husband exceeds 75 years.

“It’s a character- and leadership-building program.”

If you go

Wine-A-Ree

When: Noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 21

Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St., Columbus

Participating wineries: Best Vineyards, Chateau Thomas Winery, Holtkamp Winery, Madison County Winery, Mallow Run Winery, Buck Creek Winery, Butler Winery, Chateau de Pique Winery, Ertel Cellars, Harmony Winery, Huber Winery and Vineyards, Simmons Winery.

Participating breweries: Quaff on brews from Big Woods Brewing Company, CDP Brewery, Powerhouse Brewing, Twisted Crew Brewing, and 450 North Brewing.

Food Vendor: Hangar 5

Tickets: $20 advance, $25 door. Tickets include unlimited tastings and a commemorative wine glass. They are available at Viewpoint Bookstore in Columbus, Bevers Family Pharmacy in Seymour, Village Lights Bookstore in Madison, and Levenstein’s in Greensburg, as well as online

Information: hoosiertrailsbsa.org

Author photo
Jenny Elig is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at jelig@therepublic.com or 812-379-5671.