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When Karen Evans and her friends found the International Wine at the Mill Festival online, she knew how she wanted to celebrate her 50th birthday -- which involved driving three hours from their home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Loudonville.
So Evans and five of her girlfriends came down for the festival, now in its 14th year, at Wolf Creek Grist Mill on Saturday, June 10.
"It's got some good local wine, some from Washington, some other places," Evans said. "It's interesting."
Up to 2,500 people usually end up attending the festival, which features nearly 100 varieties of wines from around the world, including the three local vineyards, D&D Smith Winery, Paper Moon Vineyards and Blue Barn.
"It grows ever single year," said Nicole Shantz, a board member for the Friends of the Mill Group, the nonprofit group dedicated to restoring the 1830s gristmill on the property.
The wines are divided among 11 tables, sectioned out by United States regions and other countries.
Most festival-goers gravitate toward sweet wines in the hot weather, Shantz said, such as Sangria and Moscato.
New this year was a table specializing in different kinds of ros.
Along with the flowing bottles of wine, the festival featured six different food vendors, live music all day and, for the first time, a vine art painting session.
The festival offered free shuttle service to six different area locations, so no one has to drink and drive, Shantz said.
"That way people can come in from out of town and just relax and enjoy the day," Shantz said.
It all started back in 1998, when Shantz's dad, Mark Smith, drove past the gristmill and being a historic restoration contractor, saw its potential. He then founded the Friends of the Mill Group.
All of the proceeds from the wine festival go to restoration and preservation efforts.
"Where else can you drink wine, sit outside, enjoy the scenery and not have to drive home at the end of the day?" Shantz said. "There's absolutely something here for everyone."