Gary Kuscher. Photo by Cid Castillo

More wineries, more wine stations, more music venues planned

Gary Kuscher, vice president of the Art Alliance of Idyllwild (AAI), has taken on the responsibility for planning the 14th iteration of the organization’s very popular Art Walk and Wine Tasting, to be held in town from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. Last year, a committee performed much of what Kuscher is now doing as an individual.

A major addition to this year’s festivities is the expansion of the number of wineries participating, as well as the number of wine stops. “This is the best winery turnout we’ve ever had,” said Kuscher. “This year, we’ll have a record 16, as opposed to last year’s 11 venues where wine will be poured. I started last year with canvassing the wineries that had participated — how much did you pour, how did you do? We’re also providing two-night [inn] stays for winery representatives. No one else does that for them.” As a result, said Kuscher, more wineries are participating. “Our event works for the participating wineries, by allowing our patrons to taste various wines and giving the wineries a chance to promote their wine clubs.” Most of the participating wineries are from Temecula.

Kuscher conducted a post-event survey last year of participating galleries and other town businesses. “Most said it was their best day of the year,” he said.

Kuscher said he has received solid help from Ted Cummings, a master of infrastructure planning for the Jazz in the Pines festival. “A lot of people don’t realize what it takes to put on an event,” said Kuscher. “You have to plan for every contingency, every possible thing that could go wrong.” He noted the need to provide canopies in case of rain and locations for musicians to play where ambient noise or even music from nonparticipating venues would not drown them out. “Mostly it’s having a solid plan, an organizational template in place, prepping that plan and then having procedures for proper execution,” said Kuscher.

Kuscher has also expanded the number of venues that will have music, adding, for the first time this year, classical music at one of the venues. Also added this year, according to Kuscher, is a reception for the participating winery representatives.

Kuscher, who has a background in event management, also helped augment the Idyllwild Garden Club’s spring Lilac Walk and Tea with a broad selection of participating artists, both creating and showing their art at Gary Parton’s venue He said he very much enjoys the challenge of taking a project from preplanning to execution. “When I get involved in anything, I put everything I have into it,” he said.

To purchase tickets, visit the Town Crier's online store here.