The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

July 26, 2013

Charity grape stomp event to benefit local VFDs

By CHERIL VERNON
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro in Palestine will host a variety of music and fun activities for its inaugural Annual Charity Grape Stomp Saturday to benefit the Montalba and Elmwood volunteer fire departments.

The Grape Stomp is the final event in Sabor a Pasion’s Harvest Week celebration, which has coincided with the City of Palestine’s Christmas in July festivities.

“(There will be) great food, lots of good music, and a chance to stomp some grapes and experience the atmosphere of the vineyard,” Sabor a Pasion Owner/Chef Simon Webster said.

The inaugural Grape Stomp will be held in the Sabor a Pasion vineyard. The gates open at 3 p.m. Events will include live music, food, wine, grape stomping and contests.

The live music lineup includes bluegrass sounds from Fence Post Pickers, 3 to 4:30 p.m.; acoustic guitarist Alex Graser from 5 to 6:30 p.m.; Matt James and Kenneth Irwin from Blacktop Mojo, 7 to 10 p.m.

Other activities include: The grape stomp and footprint t-shirts; “I Love Lucy” Grape Stomp Look a Like Contest at 4:30 p.m.; Pavlova drawing; dedication ceremony at 6:30 p.m.; food from Stanley’s BBQ;  and wine and gifts from Granny Muffin Wines.

Webster is hoping some of the ladies attending will emulate the classic “I Love Lucy” grape stomp episode.

“We’ve already received a lot of interest in the Lucy contest,” Webster said. “I can’t wait to see some of the costumes.”

Webster is holding the fund-raiser for the Montalba and Elmwood volunteer fire departments as a way to show his gratitude for their assistance in saving his property, including his vineyard, during the wildfires in the summer of 2011 that burned thousands of acres in Anderson County.

“There were fires up and down (County Road) 404 and they were jumping from one side of the road to the other,” Webster said. “It was really scary knowing that, depending on which way the wind was blowing, I could lose everything. Without those guys we wouldn’t be here today.”

In the months following the fire, Webster held a benefit dinner and dance to express his gratitude. In the back of his mind he had already decided that if he ever celebrated a grape harvest he would use that event as another way to express his gratitude to the two volunteer fire departments.

Advance tickets for Saturday’s Grape Stomp can be purchased for $20 by calling Sabor a Pasion at 903-729-9500 or by visiting the Texas Art Depot at 301 W. Oak St. in downtown Palestine or Sweet Gourmet in the French Quarter shopping center in Tyler. On the day of the event, tickets will be $25 at the gate.

Ticket price includes admission to event and Sabor a Pasion wine tote.

So that proceeds from the event can go to the Montalba and Elmwood VFDs, the t-shirts, food and drinks will be sold separately. Sabor a Pasion t-shirts will be available with room for footprints after stomping the grapes.

Those attending may want to bring a blanket and/or lawn chairs. The event will be held rain or shine.

“I used to look out over the back field and watch the sunset over the trees and imagine a vineyard,” Webster said. “Now I can sit there and the dream is real. The hard work and the trials aren’t over, but we’ve gotten this far and that’s worth celebrating.”

For more details, visit Sabor a Pasion Country House & Bistro, located at 110 ACR 406 in Palestine, on Facebook, online at www.saborapasion.com or call 903-729-9500.