Peabody’s WINExpo cancelled

By Frank Ruggiero (

Article Published: Nov. 7, 2013 | Modified: Nov. 7, 2013
Peabody’s WINExpo cancelled

A near-capacity crowd fills the Main Gallery at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts during 2012’s WINExpo.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

A permit denial has put a stopper in Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants’ annual WINExpo.

Widely regarded as “the social event of the year” by oenophiles on and off the mountain, the Peabody’s 35th Anniversary Charity Wine Tasting Expo was slated for Saturday, Nov. 16, at Appalachian State University’s Turchin Center for the Visual Arts.

However, Peabody’s owners Jeff Collins and Gregg Parsons and general manager Kevin Burnette announced via email Friday that the much anticipated event was cancelled for the first time in its 15-year history.

According to the email, the Turchin Center applied for a special one-time permit with the N.C. Alcohol Beverage Control Commission on Oct. 1.

“During the process of application, the TCVA representative spoke with a staff member at the ABC Commission to review the submission and discuss the details of the event,” the email reads. “After reviewing the application, with the additional information collected during conversations about the event, the ABC Commission denied the permit because the nature of the event did not allow the TCVA to be the permitted agency.”

As TCVA director and curator Hank Foreman explained, the Turchin Center would have had to apply for a permit to host its own wine-tasting event, as it couldn’t receive a permit for the event as organized under Peabody’s. “It would have to be a Turchin Center event,” he said.

However, the very same event as described in this year’s application was held at the Turchin Center in 2012, after the expo’s previous location, ASU’s now-defunct Broyhill Inn & Conference Center, was closed to the public.

“We did have a permit last year,” Foreman said. “I guess in reviewing this submission, (an ABC representative) called and talked more about the event, and they must have gathered more information that led them to make a different decision.”

“With only a couple of weeks to plan another (venue) and adhere to ABC compliance, we could not pull together an event worthy of our friends, loyal patrons and vendors,” the Peabody’s email reads.
Ticketholders will be granted a full refund (or store credit, should they choose) by bringing their tickets to Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants, located at 1104 N.C. 105 in Boone. Those who live out of town are asked to call the store at (828) 264-9476.

“Everyone seems very disappointed, but they’ve also been very supportive,” Burnette said. “We’re down, but we feel a lot of love coming from our valued patrons.”

Burnette added that the Boone-based business is already working on plans for 2014.

The expo offered attendees the chance to sample from more than 200 varieties of wine — local, regional, national and international — while raising their glasses for a good cause.

Traditionally, a portion of the proceeds benefited the Watauga Education Foundation, contributing thousands of dollars in contributions throughout the years. Proceeds from the 2012 event benefited the Turchin Center.

“We definitely liked working with the Turchin Center last year,” Burnette said. “Our relationship is still very strong, and we’d like to help them with a wine-related event in the future.”

For more information, call Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants at (828) 264-9476.

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