A local winery’s in the forecast for a live remote broadcast nationwide at 8:50 a.m. Friday from the Second Avenue Pier in Myrtle Beach.
C. Vicki Weigle, owner of La Belle Amie Vineyard in Little River, is scheduled for an oceanside interview with Sam Champion and Jim Cantore, co-hosts of The Weather Channel’s “AMHQ” show, which airs 7 a.m. Mondays-Fridays and 5 a.m. Saturdays-Sundays.
Readying for her first national TV appearance, Weigle said she was aware of Champion being a wine aficionado, and that Cantore has stated many times how much he enjoys visiting Myrtle Beach, although he has never visited La Belle Amie Vineyard.
Weigle said plans point to both men trying La Belle Amie wines on air, and “I will start the segment by talking about muscadine grapes.”
Question | When publicity personnel from The Weather Channel contacted you to initiate this visit for the broadcast, how was La Belle Amie Vineyard chosen for this honor?
Answer | As it turns out, La Belle Amie Vineyard has some fans at the Myrtle Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau. When they learned that The Weather Channel was coming to promote our area, someone suggested that The Weather Channel include the vineyard because they thought that the vineyard is beautiful, unique, fun, relaxing and a very unexpected respite from the beach, but not far from the beach. Not to mention that it is a wonderful agritourism adventure on a century-old tobacco farm.
Q. | You had mentioned the winery’s designation as a S.C. Department of Agriculture as an agritourism business, and the state Department of Transportation placing two road signs on S.C. 90 pointing toward La Belle Amie. What has made wineries and the coastal Carolinas a perfect pairing, not just for wine tasting, but outings for festivals, the arts and quality, memorable times with family and friends, locals and vacationers, year-round, even with bonfires in winter?
A. | People come to the area to escape the trials and tribulations of everyday life. They are on vacation, a mini-vacation or as “snowbirds.” But sometimes, it is hard for them to “unwind.” However, a fun wine tasting, a little music, a little wine and cheese, our beautiful surroundings, and a bonfire in the cooler months, have them relaxing and dancing like they haven’t in years. And, yes, their friends, family, children and grandchildren take videos with their cell phones for posterity’s sake.
Q. | How does the wine industry’s spreading of its vines across the Southeast further bolster the overall agriculture field’s importance for the region’s overall economy, especially for tourism?
A. | Wine was not a part of our Southern heritage except for the homemade muscadine wine usually made on family farms for special occasions. Now that wine is rapidly becoming a part of our daily fare across the country, people are becoming interested and adventuresome in wine sampling. While the muscadine grape is native to the Southeast and the easiest to grow, some vineyards are experimenting with hybrid grapes bred for our climate. But the long and short of it is that people are willing to try “new” wines and look forward to finding something different that suits their palate, whether it be dry or sweet or in between. And they take it home with them, along with the memories of that special experience they had at the vineyard. And that’s what vacations and tourism are all about.
Q. | Looking back at the years of local artists’ concerts that remain a mainstay of the experience of visiting La Belle Amie, whose performance has taken your breath away the most?
A. | We have had some fabulous artists performing at the vineyard, but I will have to say the night of Sept. 11, 2007, when we had The Long Bay Symphony perform a memorial concert for the 9/11 disaster was the most memorable. It was a clear, cool night, with more than 1,000 guests. The symphony’s tribute was magical. We waved our flags, mourned our loss and celebrated our freedom. What a special night.
Q. | What’s your favorite time of year to serve up a festival?
A. | Although we serve up festivals most of the year, my favorite time of the year for a festival is fall: cooler, clear, invigorating.
Q. | And your favorite program on The Weather Channel?
A. | Of course, Sam Champion and Jim Cantore in the mornings. But, I also watch “Storm Stories,” and I am especially awed by the tornado stories.
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.
If you watch
What | Live remote broadcast
With | C. Vicki Weigle, owner of La Belle Amie Vineyard in Little River, a guest with Sam Champion and Jim Cantore, co-hosts of The Weather Channel’s “AMHQ” show, which airs 7 a.m. Mondays-Fridays and 5 a.m. Saturdays-Sundays.
When | 8:50 a.m. Friday
From | Second Avenue Pier, at Second Avenue North and Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach.
Where | The Weather Channel, based in Atlanta (www.weather.com), on:
▪ 36 on HTC
▪ 21 on Time Warner Cable in Myrtle Beach-Georgetown
▪ 41 on Time Warner in Brunswick County
▪ 11 on Southern Coastal Cable
▪ 60 on ATMC
▪ 214 on Dish Network
▪ 362 on DirecTV.
If you visit
Where | La Belle Amie Vineyard, 1120 St. Joseph Road, Little River, just west of North Myrtle Beach Middle School.
Open | 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.
Upcoming festivals | Weather permitting, with respective admission rates:
▪ Aug 15 – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Oldies Music Fest, for $8.
▪ Aug 29 – Summer Breeze Music Fest. $8.
▪ Sept 5 – Labor Day Saturday Music & Cookout. $3.
▪ Sept 12- Dog Days Blues & Jazz Fest. $8.
▪ Oct. 3 – Autumn Big Band Blast. $10.
▪ Oct. 17 – Rock Back The Clock Music Fest.
▪ Oct. 31 – Halloween Saturday Bonfire. $3.
▪ Nov. 7 – Island Fever Music Fest. $8.
▪ Nov. 21 – WineStock. $8.
▪ Nov. 28 – Holiday Spirits Bonfire. $3.
▪ Dec. 26 – Yuletide Music & Bonfire. $3.
How much | Outside of festivals, free.
▪ On fest dates, receive $3 discount with donation of two canned or dry food items to help local food bank.
▪ Concerts by various local artists, 1-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, weather permitting, with free admission.
Information | 399-9463 or labelleamie.com