"Grapes & Grains" gala draws record crowd
The Virginia Museum of Natural History hosted a record crowd of over 350 attendees at its annual "Grapes & Grains" fundraising event on Saturday, April 9. Proceeds from the event, which featured tastings of a wide variety of wines, specialty beers, spirits, and whiskies, as well as heavy Hors d'ouevres, live music and a silent auction, benefit the VMNH Foundation Discovery Fund, which provides support for vital museum programs in research, education, and exhibits.
"From the instant this event was announced, support from our local and regional community started pouring in," said Ryan Barber, deputy director of the museum. "It's wonderful to have so many people support the museum in a variety of ways, whether it was individuals donating items to the silent auction, restaurants donating food, businesses offering sponsorship support, or the general public purchasing tickets to attend. We can't thank enough everyone who helped make this fundraiser such a success."
Participants in this year’s tasting portion of the event included DeVault Family Vineyards, Hamlet Vineyards, Hickory Hill Vineyards & Winery, Stanburn Winery, Villa Appalaccia Winery, White Rock Vineyards & Winery, Preston Ridge Winery, and The Homeplace Vineyard. Additionally, a whiskey tasting was presented by the museum’s curators, who also explained the geological reasons whiskies from different regions naturally have a unique taste.
This year's event also offered several new elements, including ethnic foods, such as German, Bulgarian, Thai and Indian food. Additionally, the museum offered “Desserts at Sunset”, with a variety of sweets provided by One Eighteen Chocolates and Sweetcakes Bakery & Café. Special landscaping on the museum’s plaza was also provided by Everything Outdoors.
"Being able to add new elements each year is a great way to keep the event fresh for returning attendees, while maintaining the atmosphere that attendees have grown to love over the years," said Barber. "We're already working on next year's event and hope to continue to add to the success of this year."
Sponsors of the 2016 "Grapes & Grains" event include Bassett Furniture Industries, Bud Light, Everything Outdoors, First Piedmont Corporation, HondaJet, Memorial Hospital of Martinsville Henry County, and Eastman. Table sponsors included Alcoa, Gentry Locke, James W. Severt II, Jones & DeShon Orthodontics, Martinsville Electronics, Martinsville Eyecare Center, Pete Epperly, Piedmont Preferred Women’s Healthcare Associates, S&K Office Products, Sammy Redd, Serendipity Metro Deli & Coffee House, VMNH Curators, and Windy Ridge Farm/Southern Virginia Properties.
Participating restaurants, caterers, and cuisine contributors included Biscuitville, Clarence’s, Daily Grind, El Norteno, Alex & Katie Hastings, Hugo’s, Kal and Jen Ivanov, Mi Pueblo Authentic Mexican Restaurant, Mtn ' Jax Restaurant & Pub, One Eighteen Chocolates, Pacific Bay, PALEO Café, Quality Catering, Quality Inn/Dutch Inn, Rising Sun Breads, Serendipity Metro Deli & Coffee House, Subway, Sweetcakes Bakery & Café, and Texas Steakhouse & Saloon.