You might want to have a game plan before you visit the Adirondack Wine and Food Festival this weekend. Or rather a sampling plan. Between the hard ciders, the chocolate, the cheese, the wine, the spirits, it’s a lot to take in.
“You get people who come in with a strategy,” said Sasha Pardy, the co-owner of Adirondack Winery and organizer of the Adirondack Wine and Food Festival.
In its fourth year, the festival is establishing a June foothold on the Lake George events calendar, bringing people from both in and out of New York State, to “fall in love with something they’ve never tried before,” said Pardy.
The idea for the festival came about after a few years of attending food/wine festivals representing the winery, Pardy said. With most festivals, the only thing to do in that area is to attend the festival. With the Adirondack festival, it's the opposite.
People tend to make a weekend of it, hiking or going to the beaches in between. There has to be some time for slowing down at least, in between watching demos and sampling.
“We want to put a couple of Gopros in our tents,” said Dorcas Roehrs. As part owner of 1857 Spirits, she’s seen time and time again the “Whoa,” expression that people try their vodka for the first time get.
“Their eyes get big,” Roehrs said.
The specialty - a potato vodka that’s as sipable as top-shelf whiskey - comes with a story. 1857 Spirits is a family business in every way: It’s run with Roehrs, her husband and her two nephews. But it’s also connected to her sister’s farm: the Barber’s Farm. As a sixth generation farm, they’re known for their crisp and flavor-packed vegetables not only around Schoharie County but statewide.
1857 Spirits uses the vegetables right from the farm in their vodka, to pack it full of flavor. It’s surprising as vodka is typically known for its lack of flavor.
“People go by [our tents] and say ‘Oh I don’t like vodka,” Roehrs said.
Yet, when they take two slow sips of the 1857 Signature or the Classic, something changes: “You never chug because the first sip acclimates your palate. The second sip is where you actually taste it.”
It’s a taste that her nephew, Elias, has been perfecting for the past few years. He studied the process for about a year before diving in a making his own and it paid off. Though, now in year five, it’s still a lot of work.
“We’re one of the few distilleries that actually grows, distills and bottles our own product,” Roehrs said.
Though they are in New York City’s Union Square farmers market every week, along with the one at Oculus and at the Schenectady farmers market, this will be their first year at the Adirondack Wine and Food Festival.
Beyond 1857 Spirits, the festival is filled with unique vendors that many may not yet know about, even though the vendors are mostly based in the Capital Region.
Sundog Cider, a brewing company, is another unique vendor, as their brewing process is solar powered. Finger Lakes Wine Flour, a locally owned company that makes flour from wine, will have samples available. But that's really just a taste of the wineries and eateries that will be there.
There will also be a few opportunities to catch some demonstrations as well.
Chef William Cornelius will be giving demonstrations every hour, focusing on local foods and products. Local bartenders will also be giving demonstrations of various cocktail recipes.
Tickets for one-day passes are $35 at the gate. For two-day tickets bought prior to the event, tickets are $47. Children 15 and under are free and designated driver tickets are $15.
A portion of ticket sales goes to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Southern Adirondacks. The BBBS will also be raising funds through the sale of water bottles and souvenir t-shirts and raffles.
To buy tickets and for more information visit adirondackwineandfoodfestival.com.
Adirondack Wine & Food Festival
WHEN: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sun.
WHERE: Charles R. Wood Festival Commons, 17 West Brook Road, Lake George
MORE INFO: adirondackwineandfoodfestival.com