Texas Zoo hosts wine, artisan festival Uncorked

By by jessica rodrigo/jrodrigo@vicad.com
March 20, 2013 at 1:04 p.m.
Updated March 19, 2013 at 10:20 p.m.

Typically, the Texas Zoo is a fun place for all ages, but this weekend, the zoo is all grown up.

An event not quite suitable for those younger than 21, the zoo will celebrate its sixth annual Wild About Wine Evening event. But this year is different.

Instead of a one-night affair of drinks and animal encounters, the zoo's executive director, Amanda Rocha, said they've added a few new attractions to the event to make it a festival.

"Since we really don't have a wine festival in town, we wanted to branch off from what we're already doing," she said.

This year, the Texas Zoo will host Uncorked: Wine, Gourmet Food and Artisan Festival, a three-day event of wining, nibbling and art gawking.

Friday night's Wild About Wine event includes wine pairings, live entertainment from Jerry James and a silent auction.

Last year, Johnny Vera ventured out to the Wild About Wine event for the first time and plans to make it out for a second time.

"I heard about it from friends and thought it would be something different to go to," he said.

And it was. Not a self-proclaimed sommelier, Vera said he had a good time sampling the wine pairings and was equally as impressed with the spread of food. He said there were shrimp cocktails, pork and cheeses paired with wines by area chefs. Once the savory foods were done, the dessert wines were brought out, he said.

"It's not a T-shirt and jeans kind of event, but it's not a black-tie event either," he said. "I'm just looking to forward to having a good time."

Once fully-recovered from a night of primal pampering at the Texas Zoo, enjoy Saturday and Sunday's outdoor festival of more wine tastings, gourmet food and artisan market.

"I think there is going to be something for everybody. If you like wine, check it out - there's also going to be beer," she said. "Whether you like to eat or you like to look at art - or even if you're not planning on buying anything - just admire the artisans. It's all stunning."

The artisan festival, which will be set up just outside the zoo, will include booths from area vendors, including area wineries, wood crafters, metal workers and potters. The admission tickets will also get guest wine tastings from Darcy's Vineyard and Winery, Texas Southwind Vineyard and Winery and CapRock Winery out of Lubbock, just to whet the palate.

"We want to introduce people to new wines - especially wines from our area, which I think is quite fantastic that we have that. We're very lucky that the wine business is moving down toward us," she said.

Rocha has big plans for Texas Zoo in the future. She said the community should keep an eye out for other events like Uncorked.

"Everything we do, we are going to do better," she said.



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