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LIGHTNING PHOTOS: WNC Wine Festival

Nick Mossa and Courtenay Gannon enjoy the Wine Festival. Nick Mossa and Courtenay Gannon enjoy the Wine Festival.

Nick Mossa and Courtenay Gannon made a spur-of-the-moment trip from Charleston, S.C., to Hendersonville after reading on a travel website that one of this weekend's events was the WNC Wine Festival.


"Saint Paul's is amazing, the dessert wine especially," Mossa said, referring to Vin Chocolate du Barista, the "chocolate of the coffee maker" red wine bottled by the three-year-old Hendersonville winery.
Gannon responded that she hadn't tried it.
"You were talking," Mossa responded with a grin. "I was driven. I'm here for a reason."
The reason was to sample wines from five wineries at the event under a toasty April sun at Mountain Inn & Suites off Upward Road. The crowd made up for in enthusiasm what it lacked in numbers. This was the second wine festival organized by Alan Ward and his Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards to promote local wine.
"This is really a little festival that's just getting started," said Benny Myers, the owner of Laurel Gray Vineyards of Hamptonville, which has partnered with Ward to produce wine from Henderson County-grown grapes. "We traveled 2½ hours just to be here. Fall is always going to be larger because you have people in town for the apples. I was encouraged, though, because the people that were here bought wine."
Sandra Danze of Fletcher enjoyed a sun-splashed afternoon in the grassy courtyard with her girlfriends Sheryl Williams and Leslie Heywood.
"We're so glad to be here," she said, "with the wine, the beautiful weather."
Ward said he is already working on the second annual fall wine festival. He hopes to move it to Blue Ridge Community College in a combined indoor and outdoor setting.