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Juicy Fruit

This story was published July 24, 2005, during an internship at Richmond.com.

Q: What sound does a grape make when you step on it?

A: None, it just lets out a little wine. If you laughed at the above joke, smiled at the above joke, nay, blinked at the above joke, you’re either a fan of wine or bad puns. Judging from the chilly reception my Q and A got in the offices at Richmond.com, it’s likely that you’re fonder of the wine than the wit. If that’s the case, check out Powhatan County’s Second Annual Festival of the Grape on Saturday.

Held at the Historic Courthouse Square, the Festival of the Grape offers those of age a spectacular chance to sample wines from more than 18 Virginia vineyards and wineries. More than 100 vendors will be at the festival, selling everything from arts and crafts to wine paraphernalia to tasty, hot food. Executive Director of the Powhatan Chamber of Commerce, Kathy Budner said, “We’re trying to be selective and have crafts that are handmade¬Ö the emphasis is on wine and crafts, but we’re willing to branch out.” She added with a whisper and a giggle, “We’ll even have Ben & Jerry’s!”

Festival organizers suggest that grape lovers bring blankets or chairs, because the live music will make you want to stick around long after your thirst has been quenched. Seventeen different acts will perform, including jazz from Janet Martin and a special performance by The Floyds, a barbershop quartet.

Plato once said, “Nothing more excellent or valuable than wine was ever granted by the Gods to man.” It seems that he was on to something, as recent studies have continued to convince the American public that having a glug or two or red wine with dinner is actually good for you. The high level of antioxidants in red wines, especially those made in France, can help protect against cancers and heart disease and aid in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. (I’m just waiting to hear the news that chocolate is good for your skin. Once that breaks, I’ll be a seriously happy young lady.)

If one day isn’t enough grape for you, there’s nothing to wine about. On Sunday, Powhatan also hosts a Tour de Vin , where bikers of all ages can take a leisurely glide through some of Virginia’s prettiest hills. Registration for the Tour de Vin ended July 1, but there are still spots available. Separate fees and registration apply.

Take some friends or family, and I promise you’ll have a grape time. And even if something goes wrong (say, you lose Little Billy in the crowd, Grandma Joan forgot to charge her hearing aid or the line for the Port-O-Potties is just too darn long), have a glass or two and things will turn out vine. Go for the vino or the chance to trade grape jokes with other Virginia connoisseurs. You’ll soon feel nice and merlot.

There’ll be puns ripe for the picking at this festival, and I’ll drink to that. Powhatan’s Festival of the Grape is on Saturday, July 23 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse Square. Identification required for those consuming alcohol. $20, $10 ages 12 to 20, free for those under 12. For information, call (804) 598-2636.

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