top of page
  • Writer's pictureCraig Richards

Chamber hosts annual Wine & Beer Expo

Carina Cafiso/THG Anca Howell represents Regal Wine Imports along with Robert Brandi representing American BD at the Greater Hammonton Chamber of Commerce Wine & Beer Expo, which was held at Kathedral Event Center.

HAMMONTON— Have you ever wanted your own wine cellar? If you missed out on the Greater Hammonton Chamber of Commerce International Wine & Beer Expo, then you missed that experience.

Imagine more than 20 vintners, over 100 varieties of wine, beer and even spirits available for the tasting. Attending was like strolling through your own private selection of the most exquisite palate pleasing tastes. But that’s not all. Your evening included hundreds of your friends and family and of course, plenty of food.

From sweet to dry, fruity creative bottles to classic traditional taste, even the most discerning critic had plenty of options to explore. Complementing the grapes and grains were tables offering varieties of cheeses, sweets, hors d’oeuvres, and a buffet stocked with delectable delights rounding out an evening of food, friends, and fun.

Many communities and organizations hold wine events but Chamber President Ben Ott explained what made this particular event so special.

“Obviously, we’re bringing together a lot of people. [The atmosphere] gives people an opportunity to break down some of the stiffness of a traditional board meeting or gathering with a programmed event. There’s no program here tonight. This is all about just showcasing the food, wine, and beverages that our community has to offer the area,” Ott said. “It’s a lot of the business folks enjoying a scaled-up event at Kathedral Event Center, a venue providing an exciting, elegant feel to the evening. It’s really just about coming together.”

Ott believes that the community itself enhances special events like the Expo. He finds the depth of the relationships in town turns events like this from just activities to social and cultural experiences.

“We’re in a unique situation in Hammonton. We’re a little isolated. We’re surrounded mostly by forest. So, we have to take care of each other, something the business community here really prides itself on. A lot of the people here get invited by their personal friends, people they work with, business colleagues, their friends. We take care of each other because we have to, we want to,. We are more of a community family than most places on the East Coast.

It’s not just our business client relationships in this community. We know their family, we know their kids, we know their parents, we know their cousins. Everybody has a connection. It’s important to get to know people on a personal level,” Ott said.

That close knit community forms a deep relationship that permeates social and business encounters. The essence of the symbiotic connection between social and commerce is the key to the depth of the community and the chamber itself.

That community closeness in Hammonton is echoed by The Greater Hammonton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Runfolo. He said the people who made the event possible are the key.

“It’s a great night sponsored by Archer, Attorneys at Law. Co-Chairs of the event, Bob Bucknam (Archer Law) and Nick Cashan (BCA Insurance), both Trustees, utilize their knowledge to insure a superb variety of wines, beers and spirits” Runfolo said.

He said that the variety of other businesses added to the event including Blue Rascal Distillery, Bagliani’s Market, Mannino’s Cannoli Express, Kitchen 19 and more, including an exquisite buffet presented by Annata Wine Bar, that complemented the wines and beers.

He also thanked Linda Cashan (Kitchen 19/Casciano Coffee Bar & Sweetery) for her logistical help, the many Chamber volunteers and MainStreet Hammonton for adding their WinePull fundraiser to the event.

“It’s been run for 14 years. It’s just a great night out. It’s a great night for clients, for people, for lovers of the grape and the grain,” Runfolo said.

If someone didn’t make it to the event, according to Runfolo, “They missed a superb selection of wines (from WINEWORKS), liquors and a great array of beer and ales from Kramer Beverage. They missed a great venue here at Kathedral Event Center and most of all, they missed the camaraderie of some great people,” he said.

Vendors themselves hold the event as a very special date on their calendar. Many continue to return to the Expo for the exposure and for the atmosphere. Local producer Alison Brita, Mamma Bella Cello and Liqueur, was enjoying her second consecutive year at the event.

“I love Hammonton. I was raised here. It is a very family, close knit community. Every time I look around this facility, I see people that I know, people I grew up with. It’s very important to me. It is important to me to have my facility in Hammonton and produce here because I was born and raised here. This is my second time at the event. I would love to participate here. The Chamber of Commerce is amazing. They support their businesses immensely, and I love that. And I want to support them as much as they support me,” Brita said.

With the continued success and overall rave reviews from both attendees and vendors, the Greater Hammonton Chamber of Commerce International Wine and Beer Expo looks to continue as an annual staple to the Hammonton social and business calendar for years to come.


bottom of page