The sixth annual Blacksburg Fork and Cork festival this Saturday will feature 23 wineries – a record number for the event.
“More wineries want to be a part of it,” said Diane Akers, Blacksburg Partnership president. “There are also more and more wineries in the state of Virginia."
Many of the wineries are veterans to Fork and Cork, while eight Virginia wineries will make their festival debut on Saturday.
One of the eight new wineries has a special connection to the Blacksburg and Virginia Tech community.
Mark and Vicki Fedor, whose son attends Virginia Tech, own North Gate Vineyard, located in Purcellville.
While they are looking forward to connecting with the youthful Blacksburg community, they are excited about being part of a festival that isn’t just featuring wine.
“Most of the festivals we have done are more wine festivals so we are really looking forward to doing one that has a food aspect as well,” Vicki Fedor said.
North Gate differentiates themselves from most wineries with their “green focused” vineyard.
“We are the only winery in our county that is LEED Gold Certified and there is only one other winery in the state that has that certification,” Fedor said. “That actually does bring people to the winery, because they’re interested in that.”
By attending the festival and showcasing North Gate’s environmentally friendly wine, the Fedors hope to expand their wholesale distribution to areas outside of Purcellville.
“(We want to) make regular consumers aware of our wines,” Fedor said.
While North Gate is ready to become acquainted with the Blacksburg community, there is another winery that is already well known to the area.
Beliveau Estate Winery, located in Blacksburg, will be making their second appearance at Fork and Cork this year.
“We had great results from last year’s Fork and Cork event, and we had a lot of people who got to know us and now come back to our winery,” said owner Yvan Beliveau.
This year, Beliveau Estate Winery was named host winery of the festival.
As Blacksburg’s only winery, Beliveau is excited for the event and the winery’s presence in the community.
“We are also really about supporting our local community, so if someone has something in the area we always tend to be there,” Beliveau said.
Even though they are mainly there to showcase their wine, Beliveau hopes to incorporate an educational component.
“A lot of people have discounted Montgomery County and the Blacksburg area as being viable for vineyards,” Beliveau said. “Hopefully we can do a little education on winemaking and vineyards.”
Attimo Winery, another local winery, will also be in attendance and has the honor of being “The Cork” title sponsor.
“We feel like it’s one of the best opportunities for us to market ourselves and let everyone know that we are the most awesome, fantastic winery in the area,” said Rik Obiso, owner of Attimo Winery.
Attimo Winery, located in Christiansburg, is owned by Tech alumni husband and wife who pride themselves on being the face of wine in the New River Valley.
“We are the first winery in the New River Valley and we are the largest within 30 miles of Virginia Tech, Blacksburg area and we feel like it’s a way to reach out and let them know we are here,” Rik Obiso said.
Obiso and his wife, Melissa, own Attimo and have attended the festival for four years. They return to the festival every year since they only live 20 miles from the event.
“Being an incredibly local winery, we feel like we really have to be there because it’s a target market and target audience,” Melissa Obiso said. “We absolutely want to be present each and every year to connect with wine drinkers that may not know about us.”
Attimo prides itself for its seated tasting and specialty cafe menu.
“We encourage people to pair their foods with specific wines,” Melissa Obiso said.
Beliveau Estate Winery would like to spread the word about its winery, but also, like Attimo and North Gate, hopes to develop connections with the attendees.
“We had a lot of people who got to know us and now come to our winery,” Beliveau said. “That’s a great reason to keep coming back.”