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A taste of the new WC3

Kelly J. Hayes

Wine brings people together.

And it is often the case that when wine brings people together it is to support good causes. There is a long history of charitable institutions and nonprofits being supported by wine lovers who pony up to attend events and/or purchase wines.

To that end, on Friday, April 4, the new Woody Creek Community Center (or WC3 to those creatures in the know) located in the old Woody Creek Store next to the Woody Creek Tavern, is holding a benefit fundraiser built around the grape. On that evening, local musician, sommelier and silver-headed devil Frank Todaro will conduct a blind wine tasting of 60 wines for 60 people who pay $100 each to attend. The kicker is, the guests bring the wine.



That’s right. To participate, the ante is $100 and a bottle of your favorite wine.

Frank will bag the wines that guests bring and organize them in various, to-be-determined groupings for a tasting. Tasters will score the wines, rating each on a five-point scale using sight, smell and taste as the criteria.




Once the tasting is complete and scores tabulated, one special wine will be deemed the inaugural winner of the WC3 Wine Tasting. The bearer of that bottle will be feted with adulation and respect. This is the kind of thing that will go into your New York Times obituary should you bring the winning bottle.

“Stop!” you say. “How and where do I sign up?”

Well, you can go to the Woody Creek Community Center with a crisp Benjamin, but you best hurry, because, as I said, there are just 60 spots open for this prestigious event. Or you can call the WC3 with a credit card to reserve your space at 922-2342.

For those of you unfamiliar with the WC3, it is one of the most genuine, authentic and comfortable spots in the entire Roaring Fork Valley. The Community Center is a place to hang out, to see the works of local artists, to buy a used book, to get a hunk of Welsh Cheddar, to have a meeting, to read the paper, to see a movie, to give Biff a pat on the head, to scarf down a Rumble Strip, to taste the wines of Woody Creek Cellars, to meet a local, to, to … well, to do just about anything you want that involves kindness and general well-being.

While the original Woody Store was beloved, it operated with neither a commercial permit nor a profit. When the decision was made to turn the space into a Community Center and give it official nonprofit status, it became clear that upgrades would be needed to bring the space up to code.

Angels began to appear. Noted local whisky and beer impresario George Stranahan (along with his wife Patti) agreed to donate the space to the Center. CORE provided an energy grant and a group of Woody Creatures with means and sense contributed thousands to the cause. It took $400K to do the job, but when it was finished it retained all of its original charm and was better to boot.

But, alas, more money is needed for operations and that’s where the BYOB fundraiser comes in.

Todaro, who intriguingly is a teetotaler, is giddy about the tasting because, as he enthuses, “This will really help people pay attention to what they are tasting. So often we simply drink our wines. This will get folks focused on the flavors and the intensity of the tastes.” Tapas and appetizers prepared by Woody Creek chef Rob Nesby will be available and no doubt a good time will be had by all.

Last November, patrons gathered in Burgundy for the 157th version of the world’s oldest and most traditional wine fundraiser. The Hospice de Beaune wine auction has been raising money since 1859 for the charities of the region and this year more than $5 million was raised. While the WC3 Wine Tasting is for a good cause as well, the goals are considerably less lofty. As Frank says simply, “We’re gonna have some fun, and it will be informative.”

So make a call, grab a bottle and you’ll perhaps you’ll have bragging rights at the 157th Woody Creek Community Center Wine tasting in the year 2165. Like any good Aspenite, you’ll be able to say, “Yeah, but I remember the first one in 2008. That was the best.”