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Each year, Huntsville’s Big Spring Park transforms into a delicious getaway for wine connoisseurs, fine-dining enthusiasts, and fun-loving foodies.

It’s time again to celebrate the annual Crush Wine & Food Festival!

Now in its 5th year, the event is back and bigger than ever! And Crunkleton will be partnering with Homegrown Huntsville for the second year in a row to help bring the award-winning event to life.

“The wine and food culture in Huntsville is growing immensely,” said Ashley Ryals, owner and chief creator of Homegrown Huntsville. “Because of the support the city has shown us, we’ve extended the event to three days and added more food elements to the schedule. We can’t wait to see everyone’s face when they experience the new additions, join us for bonus tastings, and savor some incredible catered dinners.”

Do wine tastings from around the world, food trucks, grape stomping, and live entertainment sound good to you? You will be able to enjoy all that and more this year because Homegrown Huntsville has cooked up fresh events and added new vendors that will make this the most exciting festival to date.

Photographer: Gregg Glemis

Friday Night – Winemaker Dinner With Purveyor

“First of all, I highly underestimated the amount of days Huntsville can spend eating and drinking,” joked Ashley. “We did have some ultimate VIP Packages that included all events over the weekend, but those sold out in the first month.”

(Currently, there are only Saturday General Admission passes left.)

Those who were lucky enough to score a ticket for Friday night will join around 200 other foodies to experience a three-course dinner catered by Purveyor and its acclaimed chef, Rene Boyzo.

“We tried to keep the Friday and Sunday events more intimate this year,” said Ashley. “But that may change in the future depending on interest. The team at Church Street Wine Shoppe and Purveyor has been with us from the very beginning, so we couldn’t be more excited to showcase their talents.”

A winemaker from California will also be joining the festivities to pair all of Purveyor’s dishes with select wines.

“There will be about 35 wines available that night that will not be offered to the public on Saturday,” shared Ashley. “We are very excited to have the interest from national winemakers and the several regional vendors who want to be involved. Friday night is just the beginning!”

Photographer: Gregg Glemis

Saturday Evening – Wine Tastings & More

On Saturday, downtown will be packed with over 2,000 wine and food lovers looking to sample more than 150 wines from around the globe.

Ashley and her team add new features each year to the festival that keeps the event fresh and exciting. This year is no different.

“If you’re a veteran who has attended every year, you’ll notice several new wines, more food-tasting opportunities, and even some chances to shop for wine-related goodies and jewelry. We are definitely going big this year.”

Here’s the Saturday lineup:

  • VIP Access – Guests who purchased a VIP pass will be admitted into the festival early on Saturday at 5 p.m.—one hour before general admission. VIPs will also have access to 30 exclusive high-end wines in a designated area hosted by Church Street Wine Shoppe and Purveyor.
  • Food Trucks/Vendors – This year, festival-goers can chow down on wine-inspired menu items from popular Huntsville food trucks, Rollin’ Lobstah, Beast Mode, Fire & Spice, In The Bun, I Love Bacon, and Manic Organic. Several of the trucks have released their menus on social media already, so be sure to check them out! The popular FredBread will also be at the event handing out samples and selling some delicious freshly baked bread.
  • Private Cheese & Chocolate Pairings – VIPs and those with “Foodie” passes have a chance to try several delicious cheese selections from Williams Sonoma and chocolates provided by Michelle’s Chocolate Laboratory from Birmingham.
  • New Retail Vendors Kendra Scott will set up a “jewelry bar” where they will showcase some of their favorite wine-inspired earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. And if you’re in the mood for cheese boards, wine gear, and table settings, you will be able to get them at Williams Sonoma’s new booth.
  • Grape Stomping Broadway Theatre League will be taking over the grape stomping area to promote their upcoming May musical, Stomp! It will be free to stomp as many grapes as you like, and Susie’s Wish Foundation will be there to collect donations and educate people about their organization.
  • Wine Festival T-Shirts & Lanyards – Green Pea Press will be back this year to make t-shirts. And remember to pick up your wine lanyard! They free your hands up to sip more wine and collect tasting notes.
Photographer: Gregg Glemis

Sunday Morning – Champagne & Jazz Brunch

On Sunday, guests with a “Foodie,” “Wino”, or “Weekend” pass will be admitted to an exclusive brunch catered by Purveyor.

The buffet-style meal will include 25 additional sparkling wine and champagne selections and be accompanied by the smooth jazz music of Alex Banks.

“When it comes to the brunch, everyone is welcome to come and go as they please,” assured Ashley. “It will be a relaxing morning for everyone full of delectable foods, bubbly champagne, and wonderful conversation. We are very excited to welcome this new addition to the festival lineup and to partner with Jazz in the Park to make it happen.”

Introducing the WHT LBL App!

After years of watching the festival evolve, Ashley began to notice a disconnect when it came to guests sampling wines, collecting tasting notes, and reserving wine during the event.

“It became evident that carrying around notepads and trying to locate your favorite wine could be much easier,” explained Ashley. “Therefore, I came up with the idea of an app that would do all the work for you. Our new WHT LBL (White Label) app makes it easy to find the wine you’re looking for, save tasting notes, and quickly reserve a bottle all from one convenient platform.”

Named “White Label” because of its easy customization, the new app is available on both Apple and Android devices. Ashley encourages everyone to download the app before the festival to take full advantage of the experience.

“WHT LBL can be used by other festivals, too,” clarified Ashley. “That’s what we are hoping for. We created it so similar events have a cost-effective service to market their selections and create a more seamless experience for their guests.”

Ashley shared that, in the future, users of the app could see all of the festivals and tasting events in their network, click the logo, and view all of the wines, beers, and whiskeys that will be available.

“It’s a great way for festivals and events to get the word out because anyone nearby the festival with the app will be alerted right on their mobile device,” exclaimed Ashley. “The app is available and free to download. So go ahead and check out the awesome selections that we have this year!”

Download the app for Apple here.

Download the app for Andriod here.

Creating Lasting Partnerships With The City

More than anything, Ashley wants the Crush Wine & Food Festival to be an event that Huntsville can be proud of.

“It’s becoming more regionally and nationally recognized in the food and wine markets,” said Ashley. “We have twice as many suppliers from California this year, and expanding the event to last the full weekend will create more opportunities for lasting partnerships.”

For Homegrown Huntsville, the best part of creating the event is watching guests discover new tastes and talents in the food and wine industry.

“Our partners and vendors are what make the event so enjoyable and successful,” said Ashley. “We just give them a platform to showcase what they do. We love Huntsville, and we are thankful to play a small part in the growth of our city.”

Drop by Crunkleton’s Beer & Wine Sales Tent to watch football, play yard games, and see the latest developments that are happening in Huntsville and Madison.

Will you be attending the Crush Wine & Food Festival? Let us know in the comments!

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haley_squareHALEY CLEMONS
MARKETING COORDINATOR
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP
HALEY@CRUNKLETONASSOCIATES.COM

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