Arts & Entertainment

Sussex County Residents Enjoy ‘Grapes By The Lake’

The sun sets a pinkish tone over the Lake Mohawk Country Club, and "Grapes By The Lake." Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Rich Vogt of Cava Winery serves up wines infused with fruit. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Guest help themselves to food on the Boardwalk. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Two vehicles, courtesy of Franklin Sussex Auto Mall, at the event. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
The entrance to the Lake Mohawk Country Club, with the Clear Channel station signs. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Guests in the Lake Mohawk Country Club Ballroom. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
An array of items at the Lake Mohawk Country Club booth. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Sean Hyland at the booth for the United Way. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Mary Kay Independent Sales Directors Erika Insana, and Pamela Brigante. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Dawn Gomez DeGraw of Garden of Life Massage & Yoga Center. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Handcrafted wine stoppers for raffle by the Sparta Cancer Center. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Guests enjoy tasting a variety of wines, beer, and spirits. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Dave and Tara Becker of Vintner's Circle. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
A pink sunset meets the crescent moon, over the Lake Mohawk Country Club, and Boardwalk. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Kodi Rose enjoyed the evening with her mother, Cindy Rose. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Guests enjoy the buffet by moonlight. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Maria Lake and Shawn Stinett serve up samples of Irish Whiskey, Irish Cream, and French Cognac. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller



SPARTA, NJ – More than 400 locals packed the Lake Mohawk Country Club and the Boardwalk Wednesday night for “Grapes By The Lake,” an event hosted by Clear Channel Radio’s 102.3 WSUS, Max 106.3, and 103.7 WNNJ, and sponsored by Franklin Sussex Auto Mall, and High Grade Beverage.

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“It’s an opportunity to get local people and businesses together,” said Bob Dunphy, Clear Channel Radio’s Market Manager. “It’s a fun after work event to learn about the businesses and products in the area. Larry [Patton] from the Lake Mohawk Country Club, he graciously hosts it. We have vendors, and we try to make it upscale. It’s a showcase too for some of the restaurants in the area.”

In addition to the Lake Mohawk Country Club, which presented finger foods throughout the evening, a buffet table stretched with chafing dishes on the Boardwalk, and dessert and coffee at the conclusion of the evening, and Franklin Sussex Auto Mall and High Grade Beverage, there were other featured presenters. They included: The Lafayette House, Sparta Cancer Center, Zoom Ziplines, Frogmore Country Elegance, Mickey Finn Irish Apple Flavored Whiskey, Black Bear Film Festival, Vintner’s Circle, Trinity Restaurant/Forno Italiano, Garden of Life Massage & Yoga Center, Laura LaMura for Mary Kay Cosmetics, Centenary College, Oktoberfest 2012, and United Way.

Cecilia Parker from Harptones provided music on her harp for the event within the Lake Mohawk Country Club’s Ballroom, as guests overflowed into the room, and onto the Boardwalk.

Steve Andrews, 102.3 WSUS on-air personality said Clear Channel first held the event a few years ago, when it was originally named, “Wine Fest.”

“It was an instant hit, and it keeps getting better,” said Andrews.

There were 13 different stations within the ballroom where wines, beers, and frozen cocktails were also served. In the adjoining room, on-air personality Maria Lake, and Clear Channel Account Executive Shawn Stinett served up samples of Irish Whiskey, Irish Cream, and French Cognac, for tasting.

“It’s going very wonderful, it’s a good way for showcase their wines, beer, and liqueurs,” Stinett said of the event.

There were other vendors as well with drinks to sample, such as Cava Winery.

“It’s a line of fruit-infused wine,” explained Rich Vogt of Cava Winery in Vernon. “We go and make the wine, and add fruit to it once its done.”

Many of the fruity wines from Cava, which are available at distributors throughout the county, featured superfood fruits. Acai Raspberry Cabernet, Blackberry Merlot, Blueberry Pinot Noir, Kiwi Melon Pinot Grigio, Peach Chardonnay, Strawberry Riesling, and Watermelon Blush, were the spotlighted varieties.

Dave and Tara Becker of Vintner’s Circle of Andover Township, also brought their wines for tasting, including six different award-winning varieties. Their store offers wine tasting, and wine making, but not wines for sale.

“It’s very nice, I like it, they have us by a good spot,” said Tara Becker, about their table right in front of the ballroom’s scenic window, overlooking the lake.

“Being here is awesome,” said Britt Harm of Franklin Sussex Auto Mall, which is celebrating its Jeep Safari event with Maria Lake broadcasting this Saturday live from the auto mall.

At “Grapes By The Lake”, guests could put their names in for a grand prize drawing next Saturday at the auto mall for a trip for family of four to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Erika Insana, and Pamela Brigante, were Mary Kay Independent Sales Directors, who also had a booth set up at the event.

“I was here for the bridal expo,” said Brigante.

It was Insana’s first time to the country club.

“I think it’s a great atmosphere, it’s well-organized, and it attracts a quality crowd,” said Brigante.

Dawn Gomez DeGraw of Garden of Life Massage & Yoga Center was there with items at her booth for sale, including jewelry, and accessories, all eco-friendly, and fair trade products.

“It’s a great way to get people to know about businesses in the community,” said Gomez DeGraw. “I like that it [the event] gives back to the community, by giving to the Food Bank.”

Clear Channel had requested that each guest brings a non-perishable food item with him or her, to donate to the Food Bank.

United Way promoted their various initiatives, and had information about their upcoming biking event, United Way B.O.O.M.R. (Bike On Old Mine Road) Bike Tour.

Kerry Armillay of Sparta Cancer Center, was there with hand-crafted wine stoppers, to be raffled off to benefit Relentless Against Cancer. The group is having their “A Rally To Remember” on Saturday, September 22.

“It’s such a beautiful night, and wonderful turnout,” said Armillay. “It seems like the guests are really enjoying it here.”

Guests equally agreed. For Cindy Rose of Hamburg, who was there celebrating her birthday with daughter Kodi Rose, of Hopatcong, the two had an ideal spot on the Boardwalk, with their table in a central location, as they enjoyed the weather, including the pinkish sunset, and then the purplish sky and bright crescent moon that arose of the event.

“I love it, I have to do it again,” said Cindy Rose. “Hopefully, it falls on my birthday every year. It’s a beautiful turn out, it’s a great day. Everybody is having a great time.”

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