Attendance down at Bernalillo Wine Festival

Posted at: 09/02/2013 7:23 PM
Updated at: 09/03/2013 9:56 AM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4

BERNALILLO -- The town of Bernalillo's Wine Festival saw a record number of wineries this year. But more wineries have not translated to more people.

Event organizers and vendors say attendance is off a bit compared to wine festivals of years past. Saturday wasn't a good day at all, but a busy Sunday helped.

Overall, there are fewer people in attendance and it is noticeable, according to organizing executive Maria Rinaldi.

"It's not just the vendors; it's the numbers at the gates. It's an indication of just how much merchandise we move - festival merchandise. And our ATM transactions, the amount of money that people pull out to spend on the festival grounds is significantly lower," she said.

Rinaldi thinks the slow economy is to blame. It's not all bad. Fewer people mean shorter lines. Wine lovers enjoy the fact that the festival gives them a chance to taste two dozen different New Mexico wines.

Mary Ann Rael says she likes the variety.

"I love trying the different wines and walking around. It's just something nice to do on a weekend. Especially on a holiday weekend," Rael said.

Cary Staeden of Ponderosa Winery thinks wine is like a snowflake: No two are exactly alike.

"Every variety and bottle that you pick up can taste a little different, and everybody's palette from what I can tell is a little different in the fact that they can pick up different nuances and different flavors," she said.

The festival has bounce houses and even waterslides for the kids to keep cool. They've gone out of their way to make it fun for everyone.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 is still waiting for the final attendance numbers. Organizers say that preparations for next year's wine festival have already begun.