May Wine Tasting Event to Benefit SDRA: Another Fundraising Success

On May 20, 2016, Sand Dam Reservoir Association held its second wine tasting fundraiser, this time at the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery in Chepachet. More than 60 people attended the event to support the Association, sample the excellent wines on offer, and enjoy the camaraderie.

There was much more than just wine tasting on this evening!  Four huge tables of appetizers dotted the room. The fare included a hot buffalo cream cheese appetizer, a selection of homemade calzones, fresh mozzarella and tomato skewers, a selection of cheeses, refrigerator lemon squares, brownies, and a nachos/ dip/chips station, among many, many other items.  The entire food selection was donated by very generous SDRA members and guests.

The 50/50 raffle drew a lot of interest, as did a new activity, a Silent Auction. Organized by SDRA Board Member Marissa Danville, the items up for bid included, among others, a collection of beach toys, books for summer reading, accessories for the fisherman in the family, a boat fire extinguisher, a crocheted blanket, a terrarium, and two baskets of wine. Local merchants such as Inland Marine, Kitson’s Liquors, Fredrickson Farms, Smithfield Plumbing, and the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery contributed items to the Silent Auction. Items that drew particular interest were a coat rack, recycled and handcrafted by SDRA Board Member, Eric Lariviere, and a garden implement basket, assembled by SDRA Board Member, Art Searle.

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The Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery is reminiscent of coffee houses of days gone by, with its multiple level seating, sofas, tall tables, and cedar post-and-beam decor. Local musician John Rodgers added to the wonderful atmosphere as he played the guitar and piano and entertained the audience with his melodic voice. We thank the Purple Cat’s owner, Dan, for sponsoring John at the SDRA event.


The wine tasting evening allowed friends of Sand Dam Reservoir Association to relax and socialize for a few hours. Conversations in the tasting room wine bar and in the quiet nooks made the Purple Cat Vineyard and Winery a delightful gathering place for the Association’s members and guests and a great way to welcome the high season in New England.

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Thank you to all who participated and contributed to a very successful evening. A special shout-out goes to Ashley Hawkes, who has offered significant public relations help to us for both our wine tasting fundraisers this year.  The Colaluca extended family contributed from the beginning to the end of the event with advanced planning, ticket sales, room set up, yummy food, and cleaning tasks. And we designate SDRA member Brian Sirois for the “Most Tickets Sold Award”—- thanks, Brian, for spreading the word and being such an integral part of our Association!

It is the caring and dedication by all our members and our network of concerned citizens that helps us implement our comprehensive Lake Management Plan for Smith and Sayles Reservoir. We continue to address nuisance weed growth at the lake, and fundraisers like this help our Lake Management Committee to guide the SDRA Board in efforts to improve water quality. Our major goal, to provide sensible and long-term solutions for improving water conditions at the lake, benefits everyone who enjoys the recreational opportunities available on Smith & Sayles while also protecting and improving fish and wildlife habitats.  We came one step closer to our goal on this May evening, thanks to our active membership.

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