First annual Wine Festival a success

The Pippin family is ready to raise a glass in salute to all those who made South Ridge Winery’s first Summer Kickoff Arts and Crafts Festival a success.

Vendors from across the region gathered on the green behind the winery’s big red building above Live Oak Road last Saturday for a day of shopping, snacking, visiting with friends, chowing down on tasty barbecue and enjoying refreshing wine slushies under the shade of South Ridge’s front porch on a hot summer’s day. From homemade healthy dog treats and handmade jewelry to donkey’s milk soaps and whimsical door hangers, there is something for everyone to browse and buy.

More than two hundred attendees paid admission to the inaugural event, says South Ridge Winery’s Tonya Pippin.

“ I think the festival went extremely well. I honestly never dreamed that we would have so many people show up for our first event and I want to thank them for coming out to support our vendors and us,” she said.

“I truly appreciate all our vendors who braved both the heat and the rain, and very grateful that the heavy rains held off until the end.”

The celebratory spirit was alive and well, Pippin says.

“I loved seeing everyone out here enjoying themselves, meeting up with friends and just hanging out together again,” she said.

“And so many friends stepped up to help us on Saturday—Andrea Bailey and Lynn Norman helped take up money and Nick Stewart, Juan Lopez, Noah Daniel and J.R. Oswald helped our vendors with their tents and parking.”

It takes a village—and a family–to make a successful community event of this kind.

“My sister Amy Merritt and brother-in-law Dustin Merritt drove down from Anniston to help and our boys Wyatt and Walker were such hard workers who stayed patient with us,” Pippin said.

“Our parents are always there for us, whenever and whatever the need. Without them, we could not and would not make it.”

Now that South Ridge Winery has their first big event under their belt, the Pippins hope it will be the first of many.

“We are looking forward to bringing more events to the winery throughout the year, and hopefully, next year this festival will be even bigger and better,” Pippin said. “We hope our blueberry bushes will be producing and folks can come and pick some fresh berries, too. We are excited about all the possibilities out there.”