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September 17, 2005
Grape Expectations.. 19th Annual GrapeFest Sets New Attendance Record
New attendance records were set at the 19th Annual GrapeFest in downtown Grapevine on Sept. 8-11. This year 242,775 people enjoyed the festivities and $330,340 was raised for the Grapevine Heritage Foundation.

The festival is a venue, which allows other organizations to raise funds as well. Civic clubs raised $24,000 working at the festival and an additional $44,472.35 through their participation in operating booths; the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association raised $28,675.75; $15,875 was raised to benefit the Quinta Manuelita Girls Orphanage in Grapevine's Sister City, Parras, Mexico; and area churches and groups raised an estimated $30,000 from parking and support services.

"We are thrilled that this year's festival was able to benefit so many organizations," remarked festival co-chairs, Susan and Jerry Pittman. "We are especially grateful to all of our volunteers, sponsors, and guests who made the 19th Annual GrapeFest a tremendous success."

While the festival is a celebration of the Texas wine-growing industry, food, family, and fun, some elements of the festival took a more serious tone. The City of Grapevine employees raised $21,301.22 during the festival benefiting the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund; of which $6,128.25 was raised on behalf of Channel 8's Troy Dungan during the Texas Wine Tribute. Over the Labor Day weekend the Grapevine Fire Department raised an additional $15,000, bring the city employee contribution for the American Red Cross - Hurricane Katrina Fund to over $36,000.

Attendance wasn't the only record-breaker at GrapeFest. The "Grape Guy," Steve Spalding set a new world record for speed grape catching. The previous Guinness world-record holder for catching 55 grapes in one minute from 15 feet, toppled his own record when he caught 60 grapes in one minute.

Thousands of people had a stomping good time during the grapestomping competition. Garry Weidner of Flower Mound and Jason Golding of Irving were the winners of the coveted Purple Foot Award for stomping a record 18 ounces of grape juice.

Thousands of wine lovers cast their votes for their favorite Texas wines at this year's 19th Annual GrapeFest during the Comcast People's Choice Wine Tasting Classic. The largest consumer-judged wine competition in the nation featured 117 Texas wines from 33 of the state's wineries.

Gold Winners:

Chardonnay 
Messina Hof Winery & Resort, Chardonnay 2003 

White Varietal (all others) 
Flat Creek Estate, Pinot Grigio 

White Propietary Blends 
La Buena Vida Vineyards, Riesling 

White Varietal Sweet 
Messina Hof Winery & Resort, Riesling 

Blush/Rose 
Los Pinos Ranch Vineyard, Pinky Tuscandero 

Cabernet Sauvignon 
Homestead Winery, Cabernet 2001 

Merlot 
Lone Oak Vineyards, Merlot 2003 

Red Varietals (all others) 
Circle S Vineyards, Sangiovese 

Red Proprietary Blends 
Messina Hof Winery & Resort, Paulo Meritage 

Red Varietals Sweet 
Chisolm Trail Winery, Ghost Rider 


Festival co-chair Susan Pittman set the pace during the Nash Dash Fun Run. She placed first in the female's one-mile race. Other winners include: 1 Mile - Adult Male, Ted Wollens; 1 Mile - Child, Reid Ciesiolka; 5K - Adult Female, Crisann Becker; 5K - Adult Male, Ken Hall; and 5K - Child, Allison Bartels. Over 90 runners participated in the First Annual Nash Dash, benefiting the Nash Farm in Grapevine.

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