The Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, which begins its annual two-week run on Thursday, reaches prospective ticket buyers in a fashion that's precisely suited to lovers of Mozart, Vivaldi and Brahms: The concert series brands bottles of a Pinot Gris and Viognier blend.
For the past seven years, the festival has celebrated each season by releasing bottles of Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival wine; Thurston Wolfe Winery in Prosser has produced the wines since 2008. In addition to the white blend, Thurston Wolfe this year labeled a pair of red blends with the festival's name and associated artwork.
"It's been a lovely complement to what we do," festival executive director Victoria Parker says of the marketing effort.
The wines are served at concerts and poured at restaurants around the San Juans. While the festival hasn't conducted any formal studies, Parker says the 7:30 p.m. concerts are often attended by "people who have just come from dinner," possibly at a restaurant with Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival wines on its list.
"It seems there's a nice circle of interest that develops," Parker says.
The festival orders 35 cases of wine. While Parker says the artistic director and artistic director keep collections of bottles from past seasons, little of the wine is purchased for souvenir purposes. "We have some autographing going on, but, in the main, it's to be enjoyed," she says.
Thurston Wolfe's winemakers participate in receptions at the festival's opening and closing concerts, and conduct a wine tasting for volunteers.