Despite the chilling winds and overcast skies, thousands of people came out to the Madera Wine Trail’s Wine & Chocolate Weekend.
The event, which took place over the Valentine’s Day weekend, saw people pouring into wineries across Madera County, often by the busload, to sample wine, and to visit with friends and loved ones.
“I haven’t looked at the final ticket sales,” said Birdstone Winery owner Tony Kirk. “But I think we’ll get close to 3,000.”
According to Kirk, Birdstone only sells 3,000 tickets to their winery during the Wine & Chocolate Weekend to avoid overcrowding. Kirk also said that people flocking to the wineries in poor weather is nothing new to them.
“We’ve had events where it’s just raining the entire weekend, and people still come out,” Kirk said. “For one reason, they’ve already purchased their tickets, they want to take advantage of the money that they’ve spent.”
Guests were keen to hit as many of the wineries as possible, especially when touring on one of the charter buses touring the trail. Others, however, were content to spend most of, if not all of their time in a single place. Such was the case for Anthony Kupina, who started off his day at San Joaquin Wine Co.
“I always start off here,” Kupina said. “And this is where the party’s at. I’ve learned over the times, going to the other wineries, they’re great wines and stuff, but the atmosphere is here. And I like that atmosphere.”
Not all participating wineries were able to take guests. Westbrook Wine Farm was forced to temporarily close its doors due to road conditions brought on by the recent series of rainstorms.