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Wine, Forbert and song: Concert at 1810 Winery draws fans from far away

High gas prices didn't stop people from traveling to Thomson from as far away as New Jersey on Saturday for a little wine, music and fellowship at the Wine Harvest Celebration and Steve Forbert concert.

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Steve Forbert wails on the harmonica during his show.

"I'm pleased. I hope to do it again next year. The restaurant has been full all day, and people have been walking out carrying cases of wine. It's just what we wanted," Thomas DeRosset, owner of 1810 Country Inn and Winery, said.

Approximately 175 people attended the celebration and concert, which was held outside next to the vineyard at 1810. The celebration included tours of the winery, wine tastings, and hors'doeuvres beginning at 4 p.m.

"I've toured Napa Valley wineries in California before. This winery here is very comparable to those. He's got a really nice set-up," said Cheryl Wilson of Augusta, who toured the winery and ate dinner at 1810's restaurant with her husband, Marc.

Ray Visotski of Aiken, was also enjoying the festivities with his wife, Alicia. The Visotskis were celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary Saturday, and were spending the weekend at 1810's Country Inn.

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Forward McDuffie Director Don Powers talks to the crowd during The Crosstie Walkers performance.

Mr. Visotski said he has followed Mr. Forbert's music for 28 years, and they chose one of Mr. Forbert's songs - "Settle Down" - for their wedding ceremony. The couple requested Mr. Forbert sing the same song during his concert.

"He's one of the greatest song writers of our times," Mr. Visotski said.

When Ellen Zalewski of New Jersey saw on the internet that Mr. Forbert was going to be in Georgia, she arranged to visit with her friend, Laura Bass in Atlanta for the week-end and they drove to Thomson for the day Saturday. The ladies said they have been fans of his music for 25 years.

A local band, The Crosstie Walkers, provided the opening act before the concert.

"We need things like this so we don't have to go to Augusta," said Mary Lynn Bellmann, who is also the Director of Music at First Methodist Church of Thomson.

Throughout his concert, Mr. Forbert talked to the crowd, encouraging their participation, and clearly enjoying his visit to Thomson and the winery. Mr. Forbert even joked about the grapes at the vineyard growing to the sounds of passing cars and trucks on I-20.

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Winemaker Kent Smith gives Frank Reddick of Thomson more beer.

"I love Thomson, I played them all for Thomson. I hope they invite me back," Mr. Forbert said in an interview after the show.



Web posted on Thursday, September 29, 2005











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