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Mt.Vernon To Offer Wine, Tours & Jazz

Although Saturday night tickets are sold out, there are still plenty available for Friday night, May 18 and Sunday night, May 19, to enjoy the 11th annual Mount Vernon Spring Wine Festival and Sunset Tour at Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.

Celebrating the history of wine in Virginia, this annual event draws a crowd of approximately 1,500 per night, according to Melissa Wood, media relations associate for Mount Vernon Estate. Tickets went on sale April 15.

"There are also exclusive tours of the Mansion and cellar, with appearances by George and Martha Washington, and live jazz on the east lawn overlooking the Potomac River," Wood said. Visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket and relax on the lawn as they sample wines from 16 Virginia vineyards.

For those desiring a more formal seating arrangement, private reserved tables are available. Perfect for corporate entertaining or sharing a special evening with friends, each table seats 12 and includes admission, fruit & cheese platters, Mount Vernon wine, and VIP table service. Tables are $750 each and may be purchased by calling the Mount Vernon Voice Mail Reservation Line at 703-799-8659.

Regular admission is $30 per person. Tickets are available at Mount Vernon's Ford Orientation Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or through TicketMaster at 703-573-SEAT or via the internet at www.ticketmaster.com. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each evening and takes place rain or shine.

Historic interpreters and colonial-attired 18th-century "friends" of the Washingtons will conduct the special candlelight Mansion tours throughout each evening. In addition to viewing the General's private wine cellar, interpreters will explain his attempts at creating a vineyard at Mount Vernon.

Highlights of the tours feature various wine-related items inside the Mansion, such as Washington's spirits case, as well as the basement's brick vaults where Washington stored wine. That area of the Mansion is open exclusively for the Wine Festival.

Throughout each evening, guests have the opportunity to sample wines from the following award winning Virginia wineries: Abingdon Vineyard & Winery, Afton Mountain Vineyards, Barboursville Vineyards, Breaux Vineyards, Chrysalis Vineyards, Cooper Vineyards, Fabbioli Cellars, First Colony Winery, Horton Cellars Winery, Naked Mountain Vineyard, Prince Michel Vineyards & Winery, Rappahannock Cellars, Rockridge Vineyard, Tarara Winery, Waterford Vineyards, and Wintergreen Winery.

To accompany the wines, fruit and cheese boxes, which serves two,

are available by advance purchase at $22 each. A variety of hot and cold food and deserts including baguettes, gourmet sandwiches, and specialty sweets will also be available from the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant and Firehook Bakery Concessions. Outside food and beverages are not allowed.

Guests can purchase remembrances of the festival from the Shops at Mount Vernon which will remain open until 9:30 p.m. each evening. Cases of wine purchased at the festival can be transported by wine valets to the Shops for easy pick up at the end of each evening.

Guests must be prepared to show identification for wine service and purchase. Designated drivers will receive free Coca-Cola.