4th annual Sharlot’s WineFest is Saturday

People fill the grounds at Sharlot Hall Museum during 2015's Sharlot’s Cellar “99 Bottles of Wine at the Hall” wine tasting in downtown Prescott. This year's event is Saturday, Aug. 20.

Photo by Matt Hinshaw.

People fill the grounds at Sharlot Hall Museum during 2015's Sharlot’s Cellar “99 Bottles of Wine at the Hall” wine tasting in downtown Prescott. This year's event is Saturday, Aug. 20.

For wine-tasting ambience, the shady, historic venue at Sharlot Hall Museum is hard to beat, say the organizers of the 4th annual Sharlot’s WineFest.

From 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, the full four acres of Sharlot Hall’s campus at 415 W. Gurley St. will be transformed into an upscale tasting event.

With multiple stations, the event will feature not only wine, but craft beer, and the spirits of area distilleries as well – all paired with the appropriate food samples from local eateries.

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“We have tried to assemble for this event the best of all of the different worlds,” Ken Leja, media/marketing manager for Sharlot Hall said this week.

The event, one of Sharlot Hall’s largest fundraisers of the year, has grown exponentially over the past four years. Museum Executive Director Fred Veil notes that the event attracted about 200 people during its first year, and about 300 the next. It was in the third year that attendance spiked to about 550 – perhaps more than the event could adequately handle.

Veil and Leja say organizers regrouped this year, and have changed the focus from one of quantity to one of quality.

This year, the event is limited to 300 tickets, and the museum has expanded the venue space, as well as the number of stations.

“This is a tasting,” Leja said, noting that the goal this year was to “create a quality event that allows everyone to savor the opportunity.”

Added Veil: “We chose to pare down the attendance and pair up the food and wine tastings.” To that end, the museum had the help of Barry Barbe, owner of local restaurant El Gato Azul, who coordinated the efforts, and added such other food purveyors as Soldi Creative Cuisine, Prescott Crush Wine Café, Barley Hound, Park Plaza Deli, and Goods from the Garden.

Each will feature food samplings to pair with the wines provided by Action Wines, as well as brew tastings from the Prescott Brewing Company and distilled spirit samplings from Thumb Butte Distillery and Desert Diamond Distillery.

Along with beer, spirits, and 18 different wines, the event will include such food offerings as: house-smoked pulled pork with Dr. Pepper sauce; smoked eggplant relish on lavash with roasted beets, goat cheese and balsamic glaze; cheeseburger eggrolls; Mediterranean saffron seafood salad; stuffed shells with seasonal vegetables, ricotta cheese, and fresh marinara sauce; and sweet confections and fresh fruit.

Complementing the food and drink will be live music by three performers: the Russ Davis Combo; Manzanita Road; and Parker Smith.

A very limited number of tickets remained early this week, at $55 per person (or $100 a pair). Tickets are available at the museum entry or museum store, as well as at Prescott Crush Wine Café, or by phone at 928-445-3122, extension 10.

But organizers emphasize, “When the full complement of 300 admission tickets are gone – that’s it … the event will be sold out.”

For those who miss out, Sharlot Hall is already looking to next year’s event, which likely will take place during the same August weekend. “We want this event – already considered one of the finest in the community – to be the premier event of the summer season, not only for the museum, but for the community as well,” Veil said.