County seeks greater profits from wine fest

With a $72,714 profit from the 1992 Wine Festival in the treasury, Carroll County officials met yesterday to find ways to squeeze more money from next year's event.

John P. Little, director of Carroll County Recreation and Parks, and the Carroll County Commissioners considered tapping into a percentage of vintners' sales profits and extending the annual weekend festival to a third day.


"If we are partners in producing this event with wine growers, we should be partners in the sales," said Carroll County Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy.

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said the festival generates sales and advertising for the participants.


"The wineries develop mailing lists from festival customers," she said. "People also buy a lot of wine to take home. I saw many buying by the case."

For each of the past two years, the festival has attracted about 20,000 people. The 1991 festival earned about $87,000.

This year's profits would have been the same except for the purchase of 15,000 additional complimentary glasses.

"The difference is in the glasses," said Richard Soisson, bureau chief of recreation. "We didn't want to run out like last year."

The remaining undated glasses will be available for the 1993 festival.

"We are pretty maxed out with the number of people we can accommodate," said Mr. Little, who suggested opening the festival on Friday. "We need to encourage people to attend at different times."

He said a third day might minimize crowding and cut down on traffic jams on roads to the Farm Museum, where the festival is held.

Commissioner Gouge said more county residents might attend on Friday evening, but finding volunteers to work an additional day might be a problem for the Office of Tourism, she said.


In other business, Mr. Little and the commissioners discussed the use of Liberty Reservoir for recreation. The City of Baltimore, which owns 9,200 acres and 82 miles of shoreline at the reservoir, is reviewing regulations concerning recreational opportunities, through its Watershed Management Task Force.

Mr. Little said the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board has asked the city to schedule a public hearing in Carroll County.

"Our citizens would like to share their concerns," he said. "We realize the area is a water resource first, but we hope there is a way to keep it open for our recreational needs."

Baltimore officials also are organizing "Friends of the Watershed" to create a working relationship between users and managers of the area, which offers hunting, fishing, equestrian and hiking opportunities to county residents.

Mr. Little also said a committee of sportsmen was looking into possible sites for a county shooting range. He hoped to have recommendations soon.

The committee was formed after South Carroll residents protested the use of Hoods Mill Landfill as a possible site.