Kayla Osborne, left, and Marsha Fleming, both of Hwy. 138 Package Store, serve a sample of wine to the store’s assistant general manager, Kyle Filipovich, during the Holiday Red and White Wine Tasting the store co-hosted with Arts Clayton on Thursday. (Staff Photos: Curt Yeomans)
JONESBORO — Deanna Beauford smiled at Georgia Crown Distributing Company sales representative Joe Petersen as she took in the taste of a white wine known as Once Upon A Vine Enchanted Woods Sparkling.
The sweet taste was great for her Thursday night, and if it was only up to her taste buds, the wine would be on her shopping list for holiday parties this winter. The only problem for Beauford, a resident of Riverdale, is that it was not up to her taste buds alone.
She had to consider what her husband might like as well.
“I like it but I don’t think my husband will like it,” Beauford told Petersen. “I think it’s a little too sweet for him.”
Beauford had plenty of options to choose from at the Holiday Red and White Wine Tasting co-hosted by Arts Clayton and Hwy. 138 Package Store. Distributors who work with the Stockbridge-based store brought about 60 different wines for the tasting event at the Arts Clayton Gallery in Jonesboro.
“It’s gone very well,” said Lynn Wood, the store’s general manager. “We have a lot of orders from this event which is good. We had a lot more variety this year and I think that’s what they’ve enjoyed the most. Overall, I had a lot of people tell me they liked the variety and they really liked a lot of the newer wines that just came in.”
Wood said dry red wines and sparkling white wines were especially popular at the event. One person who found they liked the red wines was Locust Grove resident Camille Crawford, a first-time attendee at the annual wine tasting. She came with Beauford, who has attended the wine tasting in the past and enjoys coming every year.
“I found a wine I liked that was more like a brandy,” Crawford said.
“That’s a port,” Petersen interjected.
“Yes, that’s it. A port,” Crawford said. “I also love (Stellina Di Notte) Prosecco, so I’m just enjoying that now.”
Arts Clayton member Roslyn Jones said she too liked the port, and was encouraging everyone to try it.
“I’m a new fan of ports,” Jones said. “I’d never had one before so this was my first time trying it. It smells like, and tastes like, a brandy. It just has this sweet, succulent taste. It’s amazing and I got seconds.”
Petersen said the Prosecco, Once Upon A Vine, Roscato and some of the Sterling Vinters Collection wines were popular with people who came by his table during the tasting.
“The dry red (Sterling Vinters Collection) Cabernet has been the most popular, and then the sparkling wines are always popular for people having company parties, or Christmas or whatever else they have parties for during the holidays,” Petersen said.
Meanwhile, Continental Beverage Corp. account manager Tommy Basham said some of the popular wines that he brought, rieslings, tempranillos and a moscato, drew approval from people who came by his booth.
“A lot of people loved the moscato, but then some of them also, some of them liked the Coto de Hayas Temranillo CabSauv,” Basham said.
But the wine tasting was not just about showing off new wines to residents of Clayton and Henry counties. It is also intended to introduce people who have never been to the gallery to what it has to offer.
Arts Clayton Executive Director Linda Summerlin said the event draws an impressive crowd. “I think we had about 60 people, which is good,” Summerlin said.
And several of those people were first time visitors to the gallery.
“I think this has been awesome,” said Carla Malone, a first time visitor from McDonough.
“I’d absolutely come back,” said her friend, Hampton resident Tara Gray. “They’ve got a nice setup here.”
Crawford said she’d love to come back, especially if the gallery hosts more wine tastings.
“It’s cool,” she said. “I love the atmosphere. It’s very laid back. I wish they’d do this more often, maybe once every season.”