Wine, Stein & Barrel

Annual fundraiser for Madison
riverfront enters its sixth year

Proceeds from the event
benefit the riverwalk expansion

Wine, Stein & Barrel

• 6-10 p.m. Saturday, June 15 at the Madison, Ind., riverfront
• Tickets $30 and available online or at the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center
• Information: (812) 265-2956 or www.visitmadison.org

(June 2019) – John Webster spent 30 years in Cincinnati before coming home to Madison, Ind., where he now serves as treasurer and secretary of the Madison Riverfront Development Committee. “I came back because I wanted to live here. I love this town. I believe in this,” he said.
Webster and the committee are currently preparing for the sixth annual Wine, Stein and Barrel event, which he describes as a “fundraiser for everything riverfront.”
Wine, Stein and Barrel is scheduled to take place from 6-10 p.m. Saturday, June 15, along the riverfront near the gazebo. Webster said he is particularly excited about this year’s Wine, Stein and Barrel because it is a celebration of the culmination of a project that has been in the making for 33 years – the 1.5-mile riverfront sidewalk extension, which is expected to be complete soon. 
“We’re hoping to start anytime now. Contractors should be moving in any day. We’ll be close to having everything completed by Regatta,” said John Bruns, a Riverfront Development Committee member.
The goal of the riverfront extension project was to build a walkway from the west end to the east end of Madison’s riverfront. The project has been constructed in stages over the past 33 years and has one section left to go.

Photo provided

Guests enjoy wine tastings, craft beers and bourbons at a previous Wine, Stein & Barrel event in Madison, Ind.

“This portion of the project will start where they left off, which is at the east end just past Riverboat Inn. We’re going to take the sidewalk all the way to the city campground,” said Bruns.
“It’s been a two-year process to finish this last portion of the project from its initial idea. After getting all of the funding and permits, we’re finally ready to make it happen,” said Bruns. “It’s not necessarily a finish. I feel like it’s a completion. It will be nice to connect the campground, especially for anyone walking toward downtown. Now they’ll have a sidewalk to walk on. It helps a lot with access and safety.”
The sidewalk extension also ties into the City of Madison’s designation as a Stellar Community. “The riverfront extension project was included as a Stellar Complementary Project,” said Andrew Forrester, Director of Community Relations for the City of Madison. “That means there isn’t any state money being used for that project. It’s all being funded by Riverfront Development, the Redevelopment Commission and the city. All three have contributed to the funding of the project.”
Webster said that one of the main purposes of Wine, Stein and Barrel is to highlight the riverfront’s improvements and changes. “We want to show people what this has become and garner community support. The riverfront used to be very industrial,” said Webster.
The committee was formed in 1986 for the purpose of finding ways for Madison families and visitors to enjoy the area’s natural resources. “Everyone loves the riverfront. You can’t buy, build or recreate it. It’s ours,” said Webster.
“The Riverfront Development Committee acts as a steward of the financial aspect to develop and enhance the riverfront.”
Wine, Stein and Barrel organizers are expecting 450 attendees this year. There are more than 50 sponsors for this event, which will include both a live and silent auction, as well as a full meal from Vinnie and Sarah’s Smokin’ BBQ Joint. The main draw for this event is the wine, craft beer and bourbon tasting experience.
“We’re quadrupling our number of craft beers this year,” said Webster. “We’re really trying to create a cocktail party on steroids. The goal is to create an event where people have fun and are inspired to donate and give from their hearts.”
Wine, Stein and Barrel is one of two of Riverfront Development’s main fundraisers, with the intention of raising money for present and future riverfront projects. 

“The sidewalk extension project started as something simple, but we’ve been able to take something and go to the next level. Every board member has had a hand in getting the extension finalized. We hope that Wine, Stein and Barrel can be a big celebration this year,” said Webster. 

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