Vintage year for wine fest?
CARLOS Daley, founder/promoter of the International Reggae Wine Festival, says this year will be a turning point for the show.
Its fourth staging is scheduled for October 18 at Whitter Village in Montego Bay. Romain Virgo, Leroy Sibbles, Shuga, and Tony Roy are featured acts.
"This year's production is geared towards impacting our festival as Jamaica's fourth festival......a real tourist attraction with the intention of getting the tourism sector to join in," Daley told the Observer. "We want to show that Jamaica can be the platform to introduce products.
Those 'products' are wines from the famed Nappa Valley region in northern California. Chris Joyce, an American sommelier with Nappa Valley ties, has confirmed he will display his products at the festival.
While top acts like Virgo, Sibbles, John Holt, Etana, Protoje, and Tessanne Chin have appeared on the show, Daley is determined to tap into Jamaica's understated wine market.
"You have 30,000 people in Jamaica who are direct wine lovers, so the market is there and the potential is great," he said.
Daley first held the International Reggae Wine Festival in 2011 at the Rose Hall Aqueduct in Montego Bay. It had a strong turnout, but he admits last year's two-day show at Secrets Resorts & Spa, also in the tourist resort, was a disappointment.
The previous festivals were held in August. Daley is confident a move to October, which has a less competitive show calendar, will pay dividends.
A graduate of Howard University, Daley is a financial analyst by profession. He has lived in Maryland for nearly 40 years and is promoter of the Caribbean Food and Wine Festival and Jamaica Day shows in that state.