Columns by John

John Brown has been a wine and food columnist in West Virginia since the 1980’s. His regular columns appear in the Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail under the title Vines & Vittles and in The State Journal - a statewide business weekly

Wine and Roses Event: Sipping for a good cause

As you know, I really enjoy the sensory aspects of wine appreciation. Observing the beautiful hues and shades of wine and the myriad aromas and tastes of the fruit of the vine is truly a blessing. I also love trying to match a specific wine with a complimentary dish because, in my estimation, a good combination provides greater enjoyment than either the food or wine by itself. I count my self fortunate to have the time and resources to engage my passion for good wine and food.

Others in our town, state and nation are not so fortunate. Each day is a challenge for them. Many of our fellow citizens are dealing with debilitating physical, emotional and mental issues that make each day a struggle to survive. Their goal is simply to find food to eat and a place to sleep. Fortunately, there are agencies in our communities that exist solely to assist these people, many of whom are homeless.

One such agency is the Roark-Sullivan Lifeways Center (RSLC) with facilities in Charleston and St. Albans. RSLC and other such organizations exist because of state and federal programs funded by your taxes and through your generous personal contributions.

As a board member of RSLC, I can tell you this is a special organization with a great group of dedicated employees and volunteers. The center assists individuals experiencing homelessness with services that help them become self-reliant. RSLC operates the 60-bed Giltinan Center on Leon Sullivan Way (formerly the Charleston Men’s Emergency Shelter) and the 16-bed Twin Cities Center in St. Albans and provides comprehensive services such as healthcare maintenance; substance abuse and mental health assistance; outreach; and transitional and aftercare services. RSLC is also building a Veterans Transitional Center adjacent to the Giltinan Center that will be completed later this year.

Wouldn’t it be great to help programs like Roark-Sullivan and enjoy good wine and food, too? Well, you can. Join me and about 100 other thirsty wine lovers at the third annual Roark-Sullivan Lifeways Center Wine and Roses event. Wine and Roses will be held indoors at the Capitol Market from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 17. Partnering with RSLC is the Capitol Market, Soho’s and the Wine Shop at Capitol Market.

There will be wines from all over the world which are once again being donated by area wine distributors. I’ll be there to answer your wine questions (even if I don’t know the answers). If you find a wine you like at the event, you can purchase it immediately from the nice folks at the Wine Shop.

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. You can call RSLC at 414-0109 and give them your credit card or send a check to: RSLC, P.O. Box 8957, South Charleston, WV, 25303.

I hope to see you there.

August 8-10: Taste of the Mountains Food, Wine & Jazz Festival
Looking for a great getaway wine and food weekend? Travel up to Snowshoe in August, take in the cool mountain air and partake of great wine, food and music. This wine and food weekend (Aug. 8-10) offers wine tastings, excellent food and live jazz entertainment. I’ve attended a couple of these festivals in past years and can tell you it’s a whole lot of fun. Bring your palate ready to taste some of the area’s finest foods complimented by wines from around the world.

The highlight of the weekend for me has always been Saturday’s Grand Tasting from 2-6:30 p.m. You’ll have access to 100 different wines from around the world matched with delicious edibles and you’ll hear some great jazz too. Prices for tastings, receptions, etc., can be purchased individually, or you can purchase a two-night all-inclusive package. Call Snowshoe for pricing and more information: (877) 441-4386
Wines From ‘Down Under’
You Might want to dock at this PORT!