San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

February 3rd, 2009
LVW wine tasting still going strong

Held last week at Quail Creek Country Club, the local League of Women Voters’ wine tasting still draws a serious crowd. Photo by Christina Zambrano.

Commentary
By ED MIHALKANIN
News Reporter

Not so long ago, before the city moved its elections from May to November, the League of Women Voters’ Wine tasting was one of the signature events of the political season.

It was at the wine tasting, coming at the end of every January, when aspirants to city office presented themselves to the local politicos as candidates for the city council. The event carried serious implications for political initiaties within the city, for there the first shot were fired.

In 2005, the city moved its elections to November, and even if the wine tasting would persist as the league’s fundraiser, many wondered if it would cause the same impact.

However, the wine tasting still draws a reliable 150-200 people who understand their stake in the democracy, even if the elections are coming a full six months later.

This year’s event drew more than 160 people to the Quail Creek Country Club, simply to support a non-partisan operation that does its best to be informative for those in our society who wish to understand local elections but simply don’t live the process day to day.

Kaylene Ray and Doug Holcomb co-chaired the event this year. Although there was some initial concern that changing the city election date could dampen turnout at the event, the venerable fundraiser has held its own, still drawing the same 150-200 people.

The annual wine tasting traditionally features wine from a Texas Winery. In the past, the event has featured wineries from neighbors such as Wimberley, Lake Travis, and New Braunfels. But the event has also selected wineries from as far a field as Bryan, Lubbock, and Ft. Stockton.

This year, the committee chose the Messina Hof Winery in Bryan. The Messina Hof Winery & Resort was established in 1977 by Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo. The 42-acre vineyard shares a 100-acre estate with The Villa Bed and Breakfast, The Vintage House restaurant and the Winemaster’s Room wine bar.

In addition to the wine tasting, Holcomb noted that the event included a silent auction of items such as a private tour and wine tasting for up to 20 people at the Messina Hof Winery in Bryan and many special gift baskets. The winery tour turned out to be the most popular item, generating the most competition during the auction.

Monies raised at the wine tasting fund the important League local Voters guide, the candidates debate and a candidate meet and greet geception, the latter a new initiative of the San Marcos League.

Ray recalled that the wine tasting has been held at different San Marcos locales such as Aquarena Springs, Texas Reds, the Price Center, and Quail Creek Country Club. League second Vice President Jeannie Lewis remembered everyplace that hosted the wine tasting event through the years saying, “everyplace had its own unique flavor and we appreciate them all.”

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, political organization that works for informed participation of citizens. The League does not support any particular candidate or party and is open to men and women. A very important principle of the League is that “democratic government depends upon the informed and active participation of its citizens and requires that governmental bodies protect the citizen’s right to know.”

For League membership information, call (512) 353-2872.

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