Martha’s Vineyard is the ultimate New England destination, offering travelers pristine beaches, unique shops, wilderness refuges, historic sites, and more. The island’s main port, Vineyard Haven, features a Victorian-style boardwalk complete with boutiques and diners, and it's only a five-mile ferry ride from Cape Cod. Whether you're here to experience the lush surroundings of the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary or ride the restored 19th Century Flying Horses Carousel, Martha’s Vineyard is ready for your next East Coast getaway.
The MV Wine Fest is an exhibition of Martha's Vineyard's finest wine, beer, spirits, and food, and the event is entering its fifth year. It will take place May 11-14 at various locations in Edgartown including the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, beautiful private homes, and more. The Fest is split up into 17 events, each of which features a unique focus and setting. The Grand Tasting gathers more than 400 wines, matching them with foods from some of the top restaurants on the island. Oysters and Bubbles is a brunch that combines oysters and champagne and even has oyster shucking lessons. Peter Merriam of Merriam Vineyards will host Sustainable Vineyard Practices where he will teach guests all about his experience and winemaking. All of the proceeds from the event's silent auction (held during The Grand Tasting) will go to the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School Culinary Department, which introduces youth in the community to the culinary world. We got the opportunity to interview Marnely Murray, Showrunner for the event, to learn more about this unique Martha's Vineyard celebration.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
MM: The MV Wine Fest is in its 5th year. John Clift began the event in 2013, and a year later, I partnered up with Mr. Clift, and now we both run the wine festival.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
MM: We have over 150 vendor participants and over 400 wines to sample. Our event attracts approximately 750 guests to the island.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
MM: Our demographic is typically millennials and couples from the New England and tribal-state area.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
MM: Each winery that participates is hand picked by John Clift, a sommelier by trade and wine shop owner on the island. John travels the world during the offseason, curating some of the best artisan and small batch wines.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
MM: We have 17 signature events this year, everything from going out on a boat with a local oysterman to learning how to harvest oysters. We have some fun events like Burgers and Bubbles, where chefs compete for best burgers cooked up on DCS grills, or an Art of Cocktail event where guests will taste a variety of cocktails made with New Amsterdam spirits. For the full event schedule, please visit our website.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
MM: Out of the events, our private home dinners are unique because they feature less than 16 guests, and offer the opportunity to interact with the winemakers. It's a chance to learn about the wines from the people that make them.
RAL: What is the environment like?
MM: We've partnered with Kristen Gosselin, a local event planner, to create unique environments at each of the wine dinners!
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
MM: All of our recommendations are on our website. The top row of hotels offers special wine fest packages to guests.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
MM: We consider the event a kick-off to the season, bringing in guests to the island during an otherwise low season.
RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?
MM: We host a silent auction during our Grand Tasting, and 100% of the proceeds go to the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School Culinary Department. The students are present at the event, and last year hosted a breakfast!
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
MM: The MV Wine Fest is a four-day weekend festival, with a variety of events (17) that will cater to all types of travelers. We see couples celebrate special occasions at the wine dinners, and bachelorette parties at The Grand Tasting, sampling all the wine and food. This isn't a family event, unless it's all adult family members, but it’s sure to be a great time for everyone who attends!
For more information about the MV Wine Fest, please visit the event website.
Photo Credit: Randi Baird