Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hey, Hey! The Blues was Alright ... but not the wine.

Hey, hey, the blues was alright at the Tinner Hill Blues Festival last Saturday, in the City of Falls Church, Virginia.

Catch the Blues (poster)

The festival was the centerpiece of a week-long town-wide celebration of the blues, organized by the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, which was founded in 1997 to preserve the early civil rights history of Falls Church and vicinity, home of the first established rural branch of the NAACP.

Cathy Ponton King —a well-established blues singer/composer/guitarist— was one of the headliners. She and her band didn't disappoint, rocking the normally staid little city.

Cathy Ponton King @Tinner Hill

Throughout the week, the Foundation made a point of involving local businesses. In fact, the beer served at the concert was uber-local. Mad Fox Brewing Company —nationally regarded and award-winning— is located only a block and half from the Cherry Hill grounds.

Blues, through a Mad Fox

The annual festival again fell short on its support of local wine.

How difficult would it have been for Tinner Hill to reach out to Virginia wineries? Not very. There are several wineries within 25 miles of the festival. These would not have been able to directly donate wine (per state alcohol laws) but could have written (tax-deductible) donation checks to the festival for the amount of the wine.

Tinner Hill did not do that. Rather, it purchased, not local wine, but nondescript plonk, and, adding insult to injury, ignored locally-owned business by purchasing the wine at a chain store. Contrast that with this blues festival, a weekend later, in Arlington, Virginia.

The organizer is the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization
a coalition of businesses, civic associations, property owners, and the Arlington County Government. CPRO’s mission is to inspire, support and provide direction for a wide variety of initiatives that aim to improve and revitalize Columbia Pike and its adjacent neighborhoods.

Columbia Pike Blues Festival enlisted the help of a local wine shop/bistro to select and pour good wines: Steininger Young and El Cortijillo Tempranillo. These are not local: far from it! The former is a blend of Gruner Veltliner, Sauvingon Blanc, and Muskateller, from Austria; the latter is from La Mancha in Spain. But, the wines were unique, well-thought-out choices, and the provider, Twisted Vines Bottleshop & Bistro, is an independent, locally-owned business.

Hey, hey, the blues is alright ... and the wine could be too. **************
  • Grammarians: I deliberately used B.B. King's "alright" spelling. Who am I to disagree with Mr. King?
  • I'm not sure of local beer choices at the Columbia Blues Fest, so a point, for this, might have reverted to Tinner Hill.
  • Caveat lector: As a representative for Select Wines, Inc. —a wine and beer wholesaler in northern Virgina— I sell the wines of Weingut Steininger.

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