Jill Beathard

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September 11, 2012
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Salute! Wine Festival marks 10 years

SNOWMASS VILLAGE -For fun a little closer to the ground, the Snowmass Wine Festival coincides with the balloon festival this weekend. The largest annual fundraiser for the Snowmass Village Rotary is now in its 10th year, and although Rotarian Martha O'Keefe says organizers are not doing anything different to mark the anniversary, she has seen some growth since first getting involved in 2005. That year about 300 people attended, and now it has grown to about 800. The Wine Festival begins Sept. 14 with a four-course dinner paired with Spanish wines at the Artisan Restaurant. The festival continues on Sept. 15 with a grand tasting on the Snowmass Mall. More than 300 different varieties of wine will be offered by various vintners and distributors, and local restaurants will be serving food. Barbara Bakios-Wickes, who organizes all things wine at the event, said she tries to line up 20 percent new vintners every year. This year, some of the new wineries are Piattelli Vineyards from Argentina, Paco & Lola Wines from Spain and Alexander Valley Vineyards out of California. New distributors include Phoenix Distributing, which Bakios-Wickes said will offer an international selection. "With the distributors there are unique wines from all over the world that people have probably never had before," she said. O'Keefe said the festival usually falls on the same weekend as one in Grand Junction, so it traditionally doesn't feature many regional wines but mostly national and international. Because of the difficulty getting Colorado wineries at the event, Sundance Liquor, which Bakios-Wickes owns, will be pouring Taylor Creek, Black Bridge and Two Rivers at its booth, she said. The food offered at 15 tables doesn't serve to make true pairings. "Typically that's what they do at the culinary festival," Bakios-Wickes said. "This is just a more traditional wine tasting with food that goes well in general." Haden Gregg will perform live music. A live auction at the dinner and a silent auction during the tasting will offer trips, wine selections and artwork. Funds raised benefit the Snowmass Village Rotary Club, which supports a scholarship fund for Basalt High School graduates and provides dictionaries to upper-valley third-grade students, among other service projects. O'Keefe said the event is an "intimate but really fun wine festival." She said it also offers a good value, at $70 for the tasting if purchased in advance and $80 at the gate. "It's inexpensive, when you think you can eat and drink all day," she said. Tickets for the Winemakers Dinner are $125 per person with group discounts for tables of eight or more. Tickets for the tastings on Sept. 15 are $70 in advance at Sundance Liquor & Gifts, the Daly Bottle Shop, Four Dogs Wine & Spirits, Jimbo's Liquor in Basalt and El Jebel Beverage in El Jebel or $80 at the festival entrance. For more information, visit www.snowmasswinefestival.com or call (970) 379-6577.jbeathard@snowmasssun.com

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The Aspen Times Updated Sep 11, 2012 05:08PM Published Sep 11, 2012 05:06PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.