The idea behind the "Sip and Stroll" is to combine the festival's featured winemakers and retailers and possibly induce some impulsive buying in some of King Street's finest shops. Like the notorious drunken texts, I was on the lookout for drunken shoppers. To my slight dismay, people were very well-behaved. I didn't even see any spilling.
Some of the shops seemed to have wines that were particularly suited for them, like the floral and dry chardonnay at Dumas from Hess Family Wines in Napa.
Seventeen stores participated in the stroll, many decorating their windows with W+F themes. Copper Penny spelled out SIP + STROLL in corks and hung a large tin foil sculpture of a fork. They won a contest for best display, deservedly.
The afternoon was sunny and brisk and hopefully didn't seduce any more people to move here. Newsflash: This weather is a fake-out. We're just getting lucky the last few weeks. Don't buy into that.
Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q sponsored the event but provided the same nibbles in each store. Nobody wants to see hummus 17 times in an afternoon and why is a barbecue place making hummus anyway-is that legal in SC? I would hope that next year they let more downtown cafes pair up with the shops.
After the clusterflock of the tents and lines at Marion Square, a leisurely walk down Charleston's main drag felt refreshing. People were spread out enough that you could talk to the winemakers and socialize with the shop owners. There was a W+F volunteer in each shop who marked a passport card to show you had visited.
If you hit 14 stores, you were eligible for the drawing at Jim 'N Nicks that concluded the event. A huge basket of gifts from all the shops was just enticing enough to go for it. We were shocked to see that hundreds of people completed the task and crowded into the space to see whose card was drawn. The sweet-looking lady who won was thrilled and started opening the huge basket at once, pulling out wine tools and some nice loot.