Annual Water Tasting event for Vineyard House on August 7

Ralph Stewart

The 17th annual Water Tasting by the Sea and silent auction to benefit the Vineyard House is Thursday, August 7, beginning at 5:30 pm at the Allen Sheep Farm in Chilmark.

Allen Farm, the oldest continuously working family farm on the Island, has hosted the Water Tasting before, adding a quintessential Vineyard setting and spectacular water views to one of the Island’s premier summer fundraising events. Owners Clarissa Allen and Mitchell Posin are well known for their commitment to innovative, organic farming and their Island community.

“It is a unique opportunity to enjoy one of the Vineyard’s truly special places,” said Dawn Bellante-Holand, managing director of Vineyard House. “We are delighted that Clarissa and Mitch are sharing their incredible views with us. Livingston Taylor is performing overlooking the water, which will be an unforgettable experience.”

Tickets are $100, either online at or by calling 508-693-8580. The Water Tasting is the primary fundraiser for Vineyard House, the Island nonprofit that provides safe, sober, structured housing for Islanders in early recovery from substance abuse, according to a press release.

The 2014 Water Tasting has particular significance following the groundbreaking in May for construction of a new Vineyard House sober living community on Short Hill Road in Vineyard Haven. It will replace three houses, two for men and one for women, which have served hundreds of Island residents since 1997. The new residential houses have been specially designed for group living and an administration building includes space for 12-step meetings and a community room named for the late Pat Gregory, who served as the Vineyard House Treasurer.

The event features a diverse selection of gourmet foods prepared by Dee Smith of Tea Lane Caterers, ice cold waters from around the world, and music by Livingston Taylor.

The silent auction will include more than 100 items covering an eclectic mix of art, jewelry, vacations, events and dining experiences, an array of self-care items, and a dozen pragmatic donations of labor and service from Island companies.

A gallery of Island-inspired art includes an original painting of the Allen Farm by Allen Whiting, sculptures from Steve Lohman, a limited edition signed print by John Stobart, and photography from L.A. Brown. Vacation packages and outings range from a week at an estate in St. Thomas to numerous charter fishing and golf options on the Vineyard.

“Water Tasting donors and supporters come from all walks of life,” states a press release, “and are drawn together in a common mission to help people like themselves, family or friends, and often because they are grateful for the opportunity provided by Vineyard House for people close to them to walk again in the sunlight of a safe and happy life.”