Food & Wine Classic in Aspen: By the numbers

Erica Robbie and Lauren Glendenning
The Aspen Times
The main tents at the Food & Wine Classic grand tasting in Wagner Park provided 55,000 square feet of space for eating and drinking.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

Thousands of rooms booked, thousands of wine bottles poured, more than 200 private jets landed — these are just some of the impressive numbers associated with Food & Wine Classic weekend in Aspen.

For an event that lasts less than three full days, the Classic roars into and out of town in just a couple of weeks. One week after the final grand tasting, there’s almost no trace of the event — that’s because the folks charged with setting it up and breaking it down are like ninjas in the night.

“The Food & Wine team coupled with the Aspen Chamber’s events team to seamlessly pull off an event of significant proportion,” said Aspen Chamber Resort Association Vice President of Marketing and Sales Julia Theisen.

Food & Wine officials capped its total number of attendees — including consumers, trade, sponsors, guests, volunteers, media, exhibitors, staff, etc. — at 5,000 people back in 1996, said Food & Wine Producer of Special Projects Devin Padgett, who calls the Classic “the love of my life — besides my wife and my kids.”

Mayor Steve Skadron said the Classic is an unofficial kickoff to summer in Aspen that generates a huge amount of excitement around town. He said that nearly 700 locals are able to volunteer and partake in the event.

And that’s just the beginning. Read on for more colossal Food & Wine numbers.


 Hotel rooms booked: More than 7,500 room nights.

 Official photographs taken: More than 50,000 by the four official Food & Wine photographers; hundreds of thousands of “unofficial” photos.

 Square footage of tent space: More than 55,000 square feet at the grand tasting venue (Wagner Park) and an additional 30,000-plus square feet at programming venues all around town.

 Bottles of wine poured: At least 20,000.

 Private jets landed: 202.

 Commercial flight seats in and out: More than 3,000 inbound/outbound.

 Celebrity chefs: More than 35.

 Countries represented: More than a dozen.

 Exhibitors: Nearly 300.

 Delivery truck loads in and out: Countless.

 Wine glasses: More than 36,000 just for seminars and grand tastings, plus at least 20,000 more for parties and other events.

 Affiliated parties: More than 40 known parties, not officially Food & Wine-sanctioned.

 Related arrests, Thursday through Sunday: 2 (City of Aspen Police).

 DUIs, Thursday through Sunday: 0 (City of Aspen Police).

 Photo booth photos taken: Tens of thousands.

 Plates of bites served under the tents: More than 300,000.

 Bottles of Acqua Panna and San Pellegrino distributed: More than 62,000.

 Sommeliers and wine experts: More than 50.

 Restaurant reservations: More than 3,000.

 Tons of ice used: More than 30 tons.

 Cheese: More than 1,500 pounds.

 Different varieties of cheese: At least 22.

 Miles of electrical cable: 3.

 Volunteers: More than 650 volunteers.

 Hours spent volunteering: More than 10,000.

 Compostable plates, napkins, cups and utensils: More than a half-million.

 Management/production crew members involved: More than 50.

 Management/production member hours logged: More than 25,000.

 Loaves of bread: More than 1,000

 Local restaurants in the Grand Tasting: More than 30.

 Zip ties: 50,000

Sources: Devin Padgett, Food & Wine producer of special projects; Aspen Police Department; Fred Mosher, senior general manager at Atlantic Aviation; Stay Aspen Snowmass.