If you ever have considered raising a glass to the Boy Scouts of America, now’s a good time to do so.

That’s the perspective of Jon Ocheltree, director with the Bloomington-based Hoosier Trails Council’s Lenni Lenappe District.

He said Saturday’s Ninth Annual Wine-A-Ree wine, beer and spirits tasting festival, area Scouts’ largest fundraiser, is among the most important such gatherings so far.

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“Additional programs put a little more weight on the budget,” Ocheltree said.

Currently, that includes two new specialty ventures for Scouts: a professionally-oriented engineering program, and a Latino outreach beginning in December.

“We have not served that population very well,” Ocheltree said, referring to a low number of Latino Scouts. “In a lot of the cases, we realize their mom and dad may not speak English, so we’re hiring a bilingual (staff) person.”

All Wine-a-Ree proceeds benefit Hoosier Trails Council of Boy Scouts of America, which serves more than 6,000 young people in 18 counties of south central Indiana, including Bartholomew, Jackson, Decatur and Jennings. In eight years, the fundraiser has generated more than $150,000 for the cause, according to Virginia Moats, the event’s marketer.

The event that attracted more than 600 people last year runs from 1 to 6 p.m. at The Commons. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.

Unlimited tastings and a commemorative wine or beer glass are included in the price of the ticket. New this year will be a VIP tasting hour from noon to 1 p.m. VIP tickets are $45 and are limited. They are available only in advance online. VIP guests also will receive a special gift, according to organizers.

General tickets are available at the Viewpoint Bookstore and the Columbus Area Visitors Center locally, Jackson County Visitors Center and This Old Guitar Store in Seymour, Village Lights Bookstore in Madison, and Levenstein’s in Greensburg, as well as on the hoosiertrailsbsa.org website.

The event will include a silent auction, with many items up for bid, including a John Mellencamp signed guitar courtesy of This Old Guitar Store in Seymour, a week’s stay at a Florida condo, and tours from de Tours of Indiana Wines.

Vendors this year include:

  • Bear Wallow Distillery
  • Best Vineyards and Spirits
  • Butler Winery
  • Cardinal Spirits
  • Cedar Creek Brew Company
  • Cedar Creek Winery
  • Chateau Thomas Winery
  • Ertel Cellars Winery
  • First Miracle Winery
  • Hard Truth Distilling
  • Harmony Winery
  • Holtkamp Winery
  • Huber Winery and Spirits
  • Huckleberry Hill Winery
  • Mallow Run Winery
  • Quaff On Brewing
  • Salt Creek Brewery
  • Simmons Winery
  • 450 North Brewing
  • Winzerwald Winery

Returning again this year is de Tours of Indiana Wines. Food from First Class Catering will be available for purchase.

If you go

What: Ninth Annual Wine-A-Ree wine, beer and spirits tasting festival, featuring a silent auction.

When: 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Where: The Commons, 300 Washington St. in downtown Columbus.

Tickets: $25 to $45, available at Viewpoint Bookstore and the Columbus Area Visitors Center locally, Jackson County Visitors Center and This Old Guitar Store in Seymour, Village Lights Bookstore in Madison, and Levenstein’s in Greensburg, as well as on the hoosiertrailsbsa.org website.

Information: Jon Ocheltree 800-844-6809 or the Wine-A-Ree Facebook event page.