Eighteen years after Mary Ellen Morris, vice president of Houston Business Banking for Texas Capital, started the first annual Katy Wine Fest, her passion for giving back to the community and love of wine still runs strong. This year marks the festival’s 18th event and due to the popularity of the event, it continues to be at a larger venue.

This year’s festival is sponsored by Texas Capital and will take place Oct. 6 from 7-10 p.m. at the Palacio Maria Banquet Hall, 21728 Highland Knolls Drive, Katy. Sponsorships and tickets are still available, with tickets ranging in price from:
  • $60 for advanced general admission
  • $100 for advanced VIP admission
  • General admission tickets will be available the day of for $75
  • Those not wanting to drink can pick up $30 designated driver tickets
James Tomberlin, president elect and program chair of the Cinco Ranch Rotary, said the event is driven by a desire to give back to the Katy-area community. The festival is put on by the rotary, which is a service organization made up of people who live and work in the area.

“Our motto is service above self. Internationally, the biggest project has been fighting the battle against polio and getting immunization rates up,” Tomberlin said. “Local rotary clubs also have their own service projects. Our marquee event is the Katy Wine Fest, but we also do other service projects throughout the year.”

The proceeds from the festival will continue to support the Brookwood Center for Learning, an organization that provides an educational and social environment that creates meaningful jobs, builds a sense of belonging and provides real purpose for adults with disabilities. In total, the Katy Wine Fest has raised over $300,000 for the learning center.

“The idea behind the Center for Learning, which is what our event is supporting, is to be able to kind of export their model throughout the country and actually even throughout the world,” Tomberlin said.

This year the festival will be highlighting wines from the Southern Hemisphere, specifically:
  • Australia
  • South Africa
  • South America
What makes the festival unique is that curators intentionally include wines attendees won’t see on the shelves of their local Kroger or H-E-B. There will also be a small selection of local Texas wines, as well as craft beer and light bites from local vendors.

“There's lots and lots of different wines to sample and, and some really nice ones in there as well. The VIP tickets entitle you to the very most premium wine tastings that we have as well as probably some premium food options as well,” Tomberlin said.

Along with the wine selections, there will also be a live auction and a silent auction including vacations, jewelry and autographed sports memorabilia. This year the silent auction is going to be run entirely online, giving those who can’t make the event a chance to bid on items, while the live auction will be at the event only. The funds raised from this will not only support the Brookwood Center for Learning, but also Katy Christian Ministries.

“It’s rewarding being able to support great organizations in the community that do so much,” Tomberlin said. “What's funny is you start to recognize some of the people who come back year after year, and it's just gratifying because then you know it's been a great event and it's something they want to be a part of.”

To learn more about the festival or purchase tickets, visit their website. Use code impact10 for 10% all general admission and VIP tickets.

The above story was produced by Community Impact's Storytelling Senior Multi-Platform Journalist Sierra Rozen with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.