Autumn Wine Tasting Set for September 17 In Port Tobacco
The University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center’s 19th annual Autumn Wine Tasting is in full planning mode as the committee and numerous community partners prepare for the September 17th fundraiser held at the Port Tobacco Courthouse.
“It’s called a Wine Tasting event but it’s really so much more than that,” says Executive Director Susan Vogel. “Guests are amazed when they arrive, sponsors feel terrific knowing their business is receiving exposure while supporting a good cause, and we could not be more excited about coordinating this fundraiser for our community.”
A leadership team of Ingrid Anderson, Becky Hoffman and Carole Lewis, along with a talented committee are pulling out all the stops for this event. “We’re most excited about incorporating Maryland history into our theme for this year,” says Hoffman who has been a co-chair for six years and leads the tremendous efforts on the food tents. Hoffman shares that restaurants and food purveyors now come to her asking to be part of this when in earlier years securing food sponsors was a challenge. “It shows how far we’ve come,” said Hoffman who represents Heavenly Catering and Events by Grace and will be serving shrimp dumplings, meatballs and chicken satay with dipping sauces.
The talent of Ingrid Anderson and her visionary committee will be showcased in the thoroughbred steeplechase décor blended with Maryland colors to reflect the hospitals name. Floral and other design elements will help transform the venue for the evening. The famed silent auction, anchored by Carole Lewis and her talented crew is already brimming with items that “are sure to bring bidding wars” according to long time auction chair and current Foundation Board Chairman Lewis. A sneak peek of the auction item listing revealed Disney hopper passes, a two day stay at the Inn at Perry Cabin, trips and excursions throughout the mid-Atlantic region, jewelry, artwork and even a Maryland themed corn hole set. With some items set with ‘buy it now’ features and others packaged creatively for bidders, the auction tables are something not to be missed.
According to organizers, when the event first started, it was held in people’s homes and over the years the event grew and so did the interest of businesses to participate. This year’s food vendors include Charles Street Bakery, Cool Beanz Coffee, County Manners, DJ’S Delectables and Exquisite Catering, Freethinkers Brewing Company, Heavenly Catering and Events by Grace, Michelle’s Cakes, Port Tobacco Restaurant, Red Oak Bistro, Spoons, Swan Point and US Foods.
The exclusive VIP reception is being hosted in the VIP tent this year by Bobby Rucci’s Italian Deli and Doughboys. The menu for this sold-out portion of the event includes Bobby’s Sweet Shrimp, Lasagna, Mama Rucci’s Meatballs, a Prosciutto and Olive Bar complete with aged cheeses, antipasto trays and famous cannoli which will be hand-made on site.
Bobby, along with his wife Dianna and restaurant manager Joanne were hosts of the August 16 preview and sampling event for sponsors and committee members. The Rucci’s favorite part of the event is truly giving back and helping the hospital. “It feels great,” said Dianna Rucci, “without the hospital, what would we have? I think what the Foundation does for the hospital is amazing.”
Now in their fourth year of participation, Port Tobacco Marina will be showcasing their famous Maryland wings as well as crab cakes with jalapeno aioli. Maura Dalsey and Chris Lawrence shared that the restaurant enjoys giving back to the community and getting exposure. The event “is so much fun to be a part of,” said Chef Lawrence, as he handed us a sample of his shrimp and grits dish which was a crowd favorite.
Michelle’s Cakes hails from Indian Head and is returning to the event for the third time. From lemon blueberry cupcakes and cannoli to their famed maple bacon minis and red velvet cupcakes, this bakery, owned my Michelle Koos, is bringing out all the stops for the September 17 fundraiser. “My favorite part of the night,” shared Michelle’s daughter Nikki, “is at the end of the night when people are more willing to try everything and take more samples.”
Is your restaurant open to the public? Yes. That question is among the most frequent one answered by Joan Curley, a veteran of the Swan Point management team. “Most people don’t know that we are open to the public,” Joan explained, “so it is great for us to get that word out at this event. We have a beautiful venue and wonderful food tucked away in Swan Point” Chef Sean Beeler was at her side inviting guests to sample his crab salad and tender beef brisket sliders with Old Bay BBQ sauce, and event guests will be thrilled with their offerings as the Club returns for their sixth year.
Among the crowd favorites is DJ’s Delectables and Exquisite Cuisine prepared by caterer Daniel Jefferson. Returning with his pasta station, Jefferson is proud to offer guests a chance to select their pasta, add their choice of chicken or shrimp, and toss in their choice of sauce which is all then gently ‘tossed to order.” Jefferson has been supporting the wine tasting since the early years in his role as Director of Nutritional Services at the medical center and also through his own catering business.
Rounding out the food stations will be 30+ wines to sample as guests stroll through the courtyard and take in the auction, live music, additional beverage stations, a wine boutique and cigar lounge. “Colonial Liquors has been a major partner of this event for years,” shared Susan Vogel, “we are grateful to Larry Edwards, Shelley Culhane and Mike Lyon for their efforts in making this event so reputable. We couldn’t do this event without them”
As the region’s provider of quality health care, we rely on philanthropy to help us advance our mission. That’s why this year proceeds from fundraising are helping to fund important initiatives that will help improve health and well-being of our entire community. Funds raised from events like the Wine Tasting will help ensure that your loved one or neighbor can count on expanded care and resources as we commit to improving the health of our community.
For additional information about the event, call 301-609-4132
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