Dumpster Chronicles 9: Nantucket Wine Festival

The Dumpster Chronicles: A Whimsical and Irreverent Guide to Nantucket, Being Part 8

Nantucket Wine Festival
By Kerry Hallam

There once was a man from Nantucket
He drank his wine straight from a bucket
All day and all night
When it didn’t taste right
He’d say this is disgusting so xxxx-it
( I think I’ll start a wine festival that rhymes with Nantucket)

The Wankers are an old Nantucket family of Middle European decent that came over on one of the many cruise ships running weekend getaways from Southampton in the eighteen hundreds.

Having had an unfortunate breakdown in communication with the U.K Internal Revenue Service, they decided to forgo the return trip and settled on the island. Just as well really, and lucky for us since, if they had not put down roots here, we would not be enjoying the delights of the highly esteemed annual Nantucket Wine Festival, which has become firmly established as one of the country’s leading hornithological events.

Denis Wanker Toner is the founder and over-qualified director of this week long piss-up at which over two hundred and fifty of the top wine houses from as far afield as Bridgeport come to the island to ply their wares.
It’s a heady mixture of gourmet food symposiums, lectures from outstanding chefs and, of course, wine tasting, drinking, swirling and spitting. There are awards for each of these categories. The French contingency which used to take most of the prizes have had a run for their money during recent years, and true to character have threatened to boycott the event.
Denis was asked to comment on this serious situation

“We here at the Fiasco (sorry, Festival) headquarters cannot condone this blatant act of Frenchness, and to show that it will not go unpunished, we have outlawed frogs and snails from our Grande Dinner menus.

One extraordinary occurrence happened a few years back when a company from New Jersey gained the lifetime achievement grand prize for their signature red “Gumba”. Bruce Springstein was on hand to present the trophy “It’s a great wine” he said, “it’s got good legs and knockers to die for.”

The week long festivities include “Great Wines in Great Homes”, “Not so Great Wines in Small Cottages”, “The Grande Tasting”, :The Grande Gala” and the “Grande Finale”, which is when the Grande clean up teams arrive to repaint and often rebuild the vacated premises.

The Festival is now in it’s thirteenth (sorry, tenth, or is it fourteenth, maybe fifteenth) year, and there is every chance that it may run for many more. (I swear that it is thirteen; I mean I can well remember the last ten or so; must be right, yes thirteen.)

What the hell – let’s uncork another bottle and just hope for the best.

Previous Columns


Kerry Hallam was born and raised in the North of England. He was elected to the Royal Society of Artists and later established his first studio in the South of France. Kerry has lived and painted on the island for the past thirty years. He is represented internationally by Chalk and Vermilion of Greenwich, and has held extensive one man shows in the States, Japan, France and the U.K. His autobiography ‘Getting to Nantucket’ was recently published, and in the past few years, he has issued seven C.D.’s of own written and performed music. All illustrations are by Kerry Hallam. This column will appear regularly.

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