Wine is “win” with an “e” on the end — just what some area home winemakers hope to achieve at the upcoming Olmsted County Fair.
The Rochester Purple Foot Winemakers Club, a group of home winemakers and other area wine enthusiasts, helps organize the contest, which starts at 6 p.m. July 28.
Entries will be judged by a pool of judges — local wine retailers, experienced makers, and others who have exceptional wine palates and knowledge.
Gene Kelzer serves as the current booth superintendent overseeing the wine competition. Kelzer, a winemaker himself, admittedly may just have “gotten hooked” after winning “Best of Show” in 1979. It wasn’t until 1999, though, that he stepped into this role of organization and supervision.
With the exception of a few years when Steve Zins, another accomplished winemaker, handled the responsibilities in stellar fashion, Kelzer continues to oversee this event.
What keeps him going? Kelzer notes that he is thrilled with the continued success seen each year with winemaker participation and the community interest as fairgoers show their curiosity and inquire with questions.
So, if you are a “wanna be” winemaker, or just interested in hearing about the experiences and stories of those engaged with wine, plan to stop by the booth, in the 4H building, during the upcoming fair. Most likely club members will be available during fair hours to field questions and share their knowledge.
If you wish to make a last minute entry, check in with the fair board, or visit www.olmstedcountyfair.com/Premium%20Book.htm for complete details. You can also check in directly with club members on Monday, when they will be on the premises checking in and registering entries.
Competition results will be available late Tuesday evening and posted thereafter.
Until then many will be wondering “which wine will win!”
About the club
Founded in 1972, the Rochester Purple Foot Winemakers Club brings together home winemakers and other area wine enthusiasts. It has more than 60 members.
Members gather monthly to share wine and food prior to a business meeting and a program. These meetings provide a great opportunity to learn about wine and discuss related issues, as well as to sample wines from Minnesota grapes as well as others crafted from juice kits.
In the year following its inception, the club had its first booth at the local county fair. Interestingly it was a woman, Mary Sullivan, who was a founding member of the club and still lives here in Rochester, who spearheaded establishing the booth. She continued to serve as booth superintendent for several years.