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Wine, wine, beer, beer, Loose Goose

Posted: October 5, 2008 7:25 p.m.
Updated: December 7, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Victor Abascal, far left, and participants of the Loose Goose Wine Festival share a toast Saturday night. About 10,000 people attended the four-day event.

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Fine wine, hot music, cold beer and good weather drew a record crowd to the fourth annual Loose Goose Wine Festival over the weekend, an event official said.

Saturday, which is traditionally the busiest day, drew an estimated 5,000 as early morning showers did little to scare away wine enthusiasts, said Carole Maglione, spokeswoman.

The Loose Goose festival is an annual event designed to pair wine enthusiasts with wineries from California across the United States and abroad looking to showcase their best nectar, Maglione said. The attendance total for the four-day event broke 10,000 people, she said.

Loose Goose is the brainchild of Peter Goossens, founder of the Loose Goose Society. “We aren’t a wine drinking group, we are a wine enjoyment society,” he said. Goossens is Belgian and his love of wine is only matched by his love of beer. Both came together at this year’s festival in the form of three premium Belgian beers.

Beer is nothing new to Loose Goose. Anheuser-Busch sponsored last year’s tent and brought an assortment of beer. Inbev, a Belgian based beer company, since purchased Anheuser-Busch, thus creating the opportunity to bring premium beers to Loose Goose, Goossen said.

Goose-goers sipped Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Leffe, a perfect mix for the event, Maglione said. “They are so selective about what events they partner with,” she said about Inbev.

“We are seeing more mixed couples this year where the husband drinks beer and the wife drinks wine,” Goossen said. He noticed a marked increase in the numbers of couples attending.

Jim Lewis and Amber Brandon held hands and sipped hard to pronounce red wines Sunday afternoon. It was just cool enough to enjoy red wine, Lewis said. The couple are recent wine lovers and notice more young people getting into wine.

“A lot of our friends come to this event,” Brandon said.

Even a slow economy didn’t stop people, Maglione said. “People are looking for an inexpensive night out,” she said. They are also looking for something different.

“It’s brings a little sophistication each year,” Liz Conners said. This year’s event also brought the chance to try as many different wines as possible, she said. “Last year they gave us tickets and once you ran out of tickets you were done. This year you can sample as much as you want.” 

Conners and Stephanie Slattery cooled off in the beer tent shade after a making a wine round.

“It’s refreshing and cools you off and we love Stella,” Slattery said.

It wasn’t just the size of the crowds but where the crowds traveled from that is encouraging to Maglione. “Last year 60 percent of our draw was from outside Santa Clarita,” she said. People travel from as far as Santa Barbara to attend, she said. The figures weren’t available by press time, but Maglione said she expects the same mix of locals and out of towners.

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