It was never meant to be about any one person or any individual cause. Even when the inaugural Uncork Barrington wine festival debuted 13 years ago with a much smaller footprint and even smaller wine list, it was always meant to be a community event. The goal, then as now, was to draw people out of their homes into the heart of downtown Barrington.
There was something about clinking wine glasses with friends—both new and old—that allowed visitors to slow down and appreciate their community. Both what Barrington had to offer as well as what they do to help Barrington in return.
Proceeds, from the very beginning, went to local charities, whether it was the area’s less fortunate or its vibrant arts and music scene.
But in time, as the wine got finer and the free nibbles got fancier, the crowds inevitably grew larger. In fact, Uncork Barrington has gotten so big in recent years that it’s now being co-managed by three different organizations: the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC), Barrington Area Council on Aging (BACOA), and Barrington Village Association.
“It’s taken on a life of its own,” says Suzanne Corr, president of the BACC. “We are focused, more than ever before, on ensuring the event allows local businesses to shine. But it’s also a springboard for funding community organizations and non-profits that do so much good for area residents.”
As a result, visitors this year can expect a far more elaborate festival on July 7 than in year’s past. Multiple vendors from local restaurants like Big Iron Horse BBQ and Pinstripes, as well trusted wine purveyors like Vin Chicago, Bliss, and Heinen’s will be pouring their wines at a dozen different tasting stations. Those who buy tickets—$50 at the door, $40 in advance— will be able to sample up to 20 different vinos per ticket.
There will also be music from the Claudettes, free bite-sized treats and opportunities to buy baked goods, special Uncork hamburgers, and other culinary fare from local food purveyors. But only those who purchase the $90 VIP tickets will gain entry to a special tent offering vintage wines and an endless parade of delicious food offerings from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Meetinghouse Events, and Christina Currie Events.
In the end, however, the event is meant not only to bring people together but to reinforce the need to help local charities. This year the funds raised by the event will go to a wide spectrum of local charities designed to represent a full spectrum of different community needs.
Proceeds will aid the Barrington Area Council on Aging’s continued quest to ensure elderly residents can not only stay in the Barrington homes they love but also live independent lives. In addition, the event will help the Barrington Children’s Choir preserve music education and perform concerts throughout the area.
Moneys will also go to the Barrington United Way, one of the last freestanding United Way organizations still operating, as well as Barrington Youth and Family Services and Samaritan Counseling Center, which deliver much-needed mental health services.
“This is an event about bringing the community together,” says Corr. “It has become a community meeting place where people can enjoy good food and spirits, but also support local organizations that are providing valuable services to the people of Barrington. Its success proves just how strong and philanthropic this community really is.”
Uncork Barrington will be held Friday, July 7. For more information, visit uncorkbarrington.com The event is followed on Saturday, July 8, with Barrington Brew Fest—a veritable nirvana for beer-lovers that also aids the Barrington Area Council on Aging.