WESTFIELD-A wine tasting affair under the stars is planned Sept. 15 at the Raven Hollow Winery to benefit the Westfield Athenaeum’s Rise to Knowledge Capital Campaign.
On Wednesday afternoon, under rainy skies, Daniel Paquette, Athenaeum director, and Jayne Mulligan, chair of the campaign’s fundraising committee, met with vintner Adrienne Lindstrom to discuss the varied wines that will be sampled and logistics for the event which is planned from 6 to 8 p.m. at the winery on Russellville Road.
“The event promises good food, good wine and good friends, all for a good cause,” said Mulligan, who also serves on the Athenaeum’s board of trustees.
Lindstrom reviewed the wine list which includes 12 fruit wines – ranging from its best seller – Strawberry Rhubarb – to a Raspberry Wine which has been featured in Boston magazine.
“Our Strawberry Rhubarb won the silver award in this year’s Big E competition,” said Lindstrom, noting that the wine was presented in March for judging.
Lindstrom, who has been on the job since February, noted that the fruit for the wine production is sustainably grown at Kosinski Farms which lies adjacent to the winery. Gene and Sue Kosinski, owners of Kosinski Farms Store & Bakery, also own the winery.
“We specialize in fruit wines,” said Lindstrom, adding that the grapes she uses are shipped in from California.
Lindstrom said her role blends art and science to create a wine that will last.
“It is hard work but it is fun,” she said.
As part of the tasting, patrons will be treated to four wine choices and bartenders will be available to discuss the intricacies of each wine. Fruit wines for sampling will include Apple Wine, Sweet Apple Wine, Strawberry Wine, Peach Wine, Blackberry Wine, Raspberry Wine, Blueberry Explosion, Strawberry Rhubarb, Pineapple Wine, Pinot Grigio, Riesling and Sangiovese.
Due to state regulations, everyone participating in the wine tasting must show a valid ID to the bartender. All ages are welcome to the festive affair; however, individuals must be at least 21 to participate in the tasting. Soda and water will also be available for sale.
Along with the wine tasting, attendees will receive a winery glass to take home and will have an assortment of cheeses and fruit to enjoy, as well as one or two hot hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $30 per person.
Local acoustic folk singer Harry Rock will provide the entertainment for the evening. A cash bar will be provided following the tasting and the winery tasting room will also be open for patrons who may choose to purchase bottles of wine to take home.
Paquette added that during the evening he will also bring attendees up-to-date on the progress being made on the Athenaeum renovations, and easels will showcase Marie Flahive’s artist renderings of the completed project.
“Things in the renovation process have been moving along, maybe just a little slower than we might have originally hoped,” said Paquette, adding that the new ramp has been poured and some of the canopy framing has been installed. “This week the new entryway door should be cut and our new accessible lift should arrive.”
Paquette said once the new lift is installed the old lift can be eliminated and work can begin on the two universally accessible restrooms on the main floor.
“Framing, dry wall, and wiring of new areas has been completed in the Boys’ & Girls’ Library and the Reference Room,” said Paquette, adding this includes two new study rooms.
Paquette said that while a “few delays” have added up, he is still optimistic that the renovations will be completed by the end of the year.
“We believe the renovation project is vital to the future success of the Athenaeum at the center of Westfield,” said Paquette. “The improvements to our accessibility and safety will benefit everyone that visits the library.”
Paquette noted that the renovations are the first in 50 years so the major renovation project is also being “updated and refreshed.”
“The project will also enable us to be able to offer a quiet study room for individual or small group work, something that has been requested frequently,” he said.
In addition to Paquette and Mulligan, several individuals have been working diligently behind the scenes on fundraising efforts for close to a year including Linda Saltus, Susan Kingra, Jeff and Amy Carignan, Kathy Doody and Joe and Marie Flahive.
“We have a hard-working group that gets the job done,” said Mulligan, adding that Doody came up with the idea for the wine tasting.
Sponsors are also an integral part of the fundraising process and at press time J. Dirats & Co. and Transom Scopes Inc., both on Airport Road, are sponsoring the wine tasting.
Tickets can be purchased at the Athenaeum circulation desk or online at www.westath.org or by visiting Squareup.com/store/Westfield-Athenaeum. Tickets will also be available the night of the event.
“Our goal is to raise $10,000,” said Mulligan.
Several raffle baskets will also be featured during the fundraiser, ranging from a scratch lottery ticket bundle donated by the Athenaeum Board of Trustees, and a gift certificate from Puffer’s Salon and Day Spa, to a wine and dinner basket featuring an American Dry Reisling from Raven Hollow Winery and two wine glasses and gift certificates from Emma’s Every Day Gourmet and Two Rivers Burrito Co. Additionally, pilot Joe Mitchell and his wife Teresa Mitchell are donating a scenic flight of the Pioneer Valley for up to four people, leaving from Westfield Barnes Regional Airport. The aircraft, a Piper Cherokee Six, has been owned by the couple since 2002.
“The scenic flight for up to two hours tours the historic Pioneer Valley,” said Mitchell, noting that sights would include the Quabbin Reservoir, Mount Tom, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the Berkshires, Connecticut River, Six Flags New England, Westfield landmarks and the raffle winner’s home. The flight departs and returns to Barnes Airport with a date and time to be coordinated with Mitchell.
Raffle tickets are $5 each or three for $10 and can also be purchased at the Athenaeum prior to the event.
Due to picnic-style seating during the wine tasting, persons are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs and are encouraged to dress for fall since this is an outdoor event.
For persons unable to attend the wine tasting, donations to the capital campaign can also be made by visiting www.westath.org. For the latest details on the renovation project, visit the Westfield Athenaeum’s Rise to Knowledge Facebook page.