What would a summer be like without music and food? And what’s a fine wine without a complementary piece of cheese?
Hale Farm & Village will bring together the best of all the above-mentioned elements on July 9 and 10 at its Music in the Valley Folk & Wine Festival. And when I say the best, I mean some excellent local folk musicians will be there along with popular vintages from Ohio’s well-known wineries.
The 2016 Music in the Valley Folk & Wine Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and this year’s event is the first in its 41-year history to be sponsored by TheWineBuzz magazine.
I spoke with Sue Myers, publisher and creative director for TheWineBuzz, about what to expect in this year’s tastings of Ohio-made wines. She told me the magazine and Hale Farm will hold two winetasting seminars on both Saturday and Sunday, a sensory experience of wine at 2:00 and a pairing of wine and cheeses at 4:00.
Participation will be on a first come, first serve basis and limited to the first 24 people at each seminar. Four Ohio wines, two reds and two whites, will be sampled, along with apple slices, lemon wedges, and a small pile of salt. Participants will taste the wine by itself, then taste each of these food items to get a sense of how each complements the full components of the wine. The pairing of cheeses with wines at 4:00 will be a similar experience.
Sue, who cultivates her own vineyard on a small plot in Madison, Ohio, says she knows personally how difficult it is to grow grapes, then produce quality wine and market it. Attendees will see that she is a wealth of knowledge on winetasting, as well as a big music and Hale Farm aficionado.
Following the seminars, attendees will receive some neat goodies to take home, such as tasting journals, wine-and-food-pairing wheels, and wine-and-cheese-pairing information.
Admission to the Music in the Valley Folk & Wine Festival is $10 for adults and $5 for children 3 to 12 years in age; WRHS members are free. Wine and tastings are $10 for a glass and 5 tickets (good for one tasting each).
Wine varieties for all tastes
Although the winetasting seminars will have limited attendance, don’t be discouraged, folk music fans. You will have other opportunities to whet your palates at the Music in the Valley Folk & Wine Festival and learn the nuances of winemaking from the producers themselves.
Some of the wineries that will be represented are:
Here’s a rundown, though not a complete list, of what some of the wineries are bringing to the festival:
- Maize Valley will bring its Redneck Red Sweet, Sinfully White, Mad Cow, and Big Red Pecker wines.
- M Cellars will bring Rkatsiteli, a white, crisp wine made from Ukrainian-grown grapes; a Chablis-style chardonnay, Terroir Red, and Meritage blends.
- The Winery at Spring Hill will bring not only their award winning wines but also hard apple ciders (regular and hopped).
Folknet keeps it jamming
The other big sponsors for the Music in the Valley Folk & Wine Festival continue to be Folknet and the Barking Spider Tavern of Cleveland.
Hale Farm will set up a main stage under a large tent in the Village Green where attendees can hear Northeast Ohio folk musicians Charlie Mosbrook, The Fretters, Red Brick Rhoades, Stone Cold Soup, Rock Salt & Nails and others.
No doubt many past attendees to the Music in the Valley Folk & Wine Festival are familiar with Charlie’s music, which is strongly influenced by the tunes of Woody Guthrie, Elizabeth Cotton, and James Bland.
Charlie hosts open mic folk music nights at Phoenix Coffee in Cleveland Heights, and his most recent record is A Time Long Gone, released February 2015. He is scheduled to perform on Hale Farm’s stage on Saturday at 2:40 p.m.
At least 200 folk musicians come out to the Music in the Valley Folk & Wine Festival every year, Bill Schilling, Folknet’s treasurer told me. Some come from out of state to find a good spot by a tree to strum their guitars, banjos, fiddles, or dulcimers.
Bill noted that Folknet’s involvement in Hale Farm’s folk festival started decades ago at roughly the same time that the Folknet musician duo of Jim Tucker and Dave Trowbridge were playing music at Hale Farm every weekend.
From that time, Folknet began partnering with Hale Farm and Village on its annual folk music festival.
“This event gets a lot of people together to play with each other and get to know each other, even if they’re vastly different,” Bill said about the event’s significance to Folknet.
That said, bring your lawn chairs and blankets and relax to some great tunes at Hale Farm & Village.
Photos: Nancy Balluck Photography