A unique varietal of helping

Midwest Winefest and Guadalupe Clinic

Written by Joe Stumpe

As people enjoy themselves at Midwest Winefest, they might get an extra kick out of knowing they’re helping to keep one of Wichita’s most amazing feel-good stories going.

That is the Guadalupe Clinic, which is the chief recipient of money raised by the festival. For 34 years, Guadalupe has provided medical care to low-income, uninsured adults, asking only a $5 donation in return.

“If they don’t have $5, we still see them,” executive director Dave Gear said.

Gear often fields questions from people in other cities asking how the clinic manages to operate on that model. “Without the Midwest Winefest, the clinic wouldn’t be able to,” he tells them. “The success of Winefest has been such a huge part of Guadalupe Clinic’s success.”

This year’s Winefest kicks off April 25 with the Walkabout. Participants will stroll among some 20 venues in Old Town offering wine, appetizers and music. Among several new venues this year is historic Union Station, which is under renovation. A VIP lounge at Distillery 244 will serve spirits, beer and food from Greystone Steak & Seafood, while dueling pianos play.

“It should be an amazing event,” Andrie Krahl, Guadalupe’s development director, said. “We have a great lineup of restaurants and wines to sample.”

After a dinner featuring wines from Oregon’s Lady Hill Winery at Wichita County Club on April 26, the festival’s Grand Tasting takes place April 27 at Century II, featuring more than 300 wines from around the globe and food from 40 chefs. Reserve Room ticket holders will take it up a notch with VIP parking, early entrance and French-inspired cuisine by Georges French Bistro.

Winefest was started by Sister Kathleen Regan, the clinic’s longtime development director who died in 2011. “She was a real visionary as far as sustainability” of the clinic, Gear said. “She was so dedicated to being here.”

As are many others today. In addition to its main clinic at 940 S. St. Francis, Guadalupe operates satellite clinics at 2825 S. Hillside and 445 N. Market. Along with primary and specialty medical care it provides lab tests, X-rays, medication and when possible transportation vouchers — all for that requested $5 donation. It has a paid staff of 21 full- and part-time employees and ten times that many volunteers who are physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists and college students training to become them.

“We have great partners, just like we have great partners at Winefest,” Gear said. “It’s a very giving group of people that are willing to step up and help a clinic like this provide quality health care.”

24th Annual Midwest Winefest

April 25 — Old Town Walkabout, $50 general admission, $95 for VIP at Distillery 244
April 26 — Wine dinner at Wichita Country Club, $200
April 27 — Grand Tasting, $69
For tickets and more info, visit midwestwinefest.org

 
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