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Tastes of success

Fundraiser attracts supporters of education, libation

Owera Vineyards Director of Operations Ben Reilley, right, poses with his wife, Shioban, and a bottle of Owera’s NYS 2011 Wine and Food Classic double-gold award-winning “Cazenovia Blush” during the Taste of Cazenovia, Sept. 21.

Owera Vineyards Director of Operations Ben Reilley, right, poses with his wife, Shioban, and a bottle of Owera’s NYS 2011 Wine and Food Classic double-gold award-winning “Cazenovia Blush” during the Taste of Cazenovia, Sept. 21. Photo by Pierce Smith.

— 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.

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