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Fifth annual Wine About Winter will take place Friday

SALISBURY — For Katelin Rice, “so many different things” make Wine About Winter — now in its fifth year — successful.

“I think this is fun, obviously,” said Rice, promotions coordinator for Downtown Salisbury Inc. “It creates a sort of camaraderie between everyone. … It helps our businesses because it obviously gets people in their doors. It gets people excited about the product that they have. They get to meet and mingle with the business owner and the staff, which adds that personalized experience to local businesses.”

Rice said the promotion, which will be from 5 to 9 p.m Friday in downtown Salisbury, will have several new features this year.

“We have quite a few new businesses that have opened in the last year that will be a part of it,” Rice said. “… This year, rather than serving wine, many (bars and restaurants) are going to be a snack stop. So they’re going to be offering free samples of whatever food they choose for those that present their tasting pass.”

Rice said participants also will receive a souvenir wine glass — and this year, it’s real glass, not plastic — and a single-carry wine tote bag.

“Last year we handed out a souvenir corkscrew, which was super nice, but my thought is I’d like to change it up a little bit every year,” Rice said.

She said idea came about in part because there are people who come to Wine About Winter every year.

“I mean, there’s groups that have shirts made, and they plan this eight months in advance. I started getting phone calls last summer about Wine About Winter,” Rice said. “… So I think changing up the souvenir that they get lets them add on to their collection rather than getting the same thing every year.”

Rice said the wine served at each of the 38 participating businesses will be hand-selected by Salisbury Wine Shop owners Bob and Stephanie Potter.

“They try to customize it for the business, whether it be the name or the label or the type of wine that they think would suit the demographic,” Rice said. “They do a phenomenal job, which I think absolutely adds to the experience. So it’s not just a wine crawl. It’s a personalized, unique thing.”

Other local wineries, including Morgan Ridge Vineyards, will also supply wine.

Although people who are 21 and older are the only ones who can purchase tickets, Rice said the event is open to the public.

“We encourage everybody to come, even if a spouse doesn’t drink wine or if a friend wants to be the (designated driver.) Anybody can go and take the tour, ride the trolley, check out the photo booth,” Rice said.

When participants pick up their tickets on Friday, they will get a map pointing out where the free trolley will stop and where the wine and snack stops are.

Because of the event’s age restriction, Rice said all ticket holders must have photo IDs with them when they pick up their tickets Friday night. Each person must get his own ticket individually.

The will-call station will open at 4 p.m. Friday at the Visitors Center, 204 E Innes St., for people to pick up tickets they have already bought. People will not be able to buy tickets at the Visitors Center.

Tickets are $22.50 plus taxes and fees and come with a tasting pass for 20 of the 38 participating businesses, which Rice said would be the equivalent of a full bottle of wine.

If not sold out, tickets will be $30 on the day of the event.

Tickets can be purchased only on Downtown Salisbury’s website — downtownsalisburync.com. Go to the homepage and click on “Wine About Winter.”

Rice said 835 tickets have been sold so far and she expects a sell-out before Friday.

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