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WineInk: The Local Vine

Snowmass Wine Fest benefits community

Kelly J. Hayes
WineInk
(Matt Dubé/Courtesy Snowmass Wine Festival).

This weekend we go local. After the bacchanalia that was the Food & Wine Classic last week, we turn to Snowmass for a kinder, gentler wine gathering as the 19th Snowmass Wine Festival gets underway.

“We love the Classic,” said Barbara Bakios-Wickes, who has been the “mother hen” for everything wine related at The Snowmass Wine Fest for the past 17 years. “But the Snowmass Festival is a little bit more locally oriented, a little more laid back.”

A presentation of the Snowmass Rotary Club, all the funds raised through the Snowmass Wine Festival are allocated to nonprofit organizations across the Roaring Fork Valley, charitable organizations worldwide, and Basalt High School Senior scholarships. It raises more than $100,000 in annual donations.



IF YOU GO …


What: An Evening of Wine and Food

When: Friday, Sept. 17, 6-8:30 p.m.

Where: The Collective, Snowmass Base VIllage

How much: $120

Tickets: snowmasswinefestival.com; Sundance Liquors

More info: The evening at the Collective has already sold out but there are still a few tickets for the Saturday Grand Tasting at $105 on-line or, if still available, $115 at the door.

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What: Grand Tasting | Snowmass Wine Festival

When: Saturday, Sept. 18, 1:30-5 p.m.

Where: Snowmass Town Park

How much: $105 online; $115 at the door

Tickets: snowmasswinefestival.com; Sundance Liquors

More info: Funds raised are allocated to nonprofit organizations across the Roaring Fork Valley, charitable organizations worldwide, and Basalt High School Senior scholarships.

The 2021 edition of the Snowmass Wine Festival will be anchored by a pair of mostly outdoor gatherings. The first, on Friday evening Sept. 17, will be “An Evening of Food and Wine,” which will take place at The Collective in the Snowmass Base Village. Nutritarian chef Martin Oswald of Mix6 in the Collective in Snowmass Base Village and the Pyramid Bistro in Aspen will be preparing appetizers to pair with the wines of the producers who will be in attendance.

“We are really looking forward to doing this, something a little different,” Bakios-Wickes said about the new venue. “Typically, we have done a sit-down dinner at the Viceroy, which is really special, but this year, we just felt having the opportunity to do something a little more spread out would be the right thing.” Guests will also have an opportunity to experience a variety of live entertainment, participate in a silent auction and a raffle, and win exclusive prizes — all while benefiting local, national and international charities.




Then on Saturday afternoon, the main event will feature the traditional walk-around Grand Tasting under the tents at the Snowmass Town Park. The tasting, which begins at 1:30 p.m. and continues until 5 p.m., will feature 36 tables of wines spread out over five tasting tents along with food provided by a number of local restaurants, including Il Poggio, Daly Diner, Big Hoss Grill, Heather’s, Home Team, Mod Thai, Mix6, Toro and Stew Pot among others.

“We are so lucky to have the restaurants after such a long, hard summer of work and we really appreciate that they are coming this year,” Bakios-Wickes said.

Bakios-Wickes likes to give credit for the event to those at the Snowmass Rotary Club, but it has been a labor of love for the co-founder of Sundance Liquors in the Snowmass Center. She and her then-boyfriend, now-husband Steve Wickes opened the beloved shop in August 1979, and just a few months later they tied the knot. On Oct. 6 they will celebrate 42 years of marriage.

The Snowmass Wine Festival began as a small event but began to grow when Bakios-Wickes started to court her friends and contacts in the wine community and asking them to be a part of it.

(Aspen Times Archive)

“The wines come from a combination of individual wineries, importers and distributors who all make contributions to help out the community,” she explained with her characteristic gratitude. This year will see a collection of wines from esteemed California producers, like Barlow, Duckhorn, Justin, Hahn, Hess, Macauley and Rombauer, along with a number of imported wines from Italy, South Africa and Argentina.

In addition to the wines that will be poured, five local distillers who are participating in the Festival will be there on the periphery of the tents. Woody Creek Distillers, Marble Distilling Company, LIFT Vodka, Palisade’s Peachtree Street Distillers and Dona Vega Mezcal will all be pouring their spirits and mixing cocktails for guests. There will also be a DJ and a silent auction tent with incredible collectable wines.

The festival will adhere strictly to the Covid Entry Protocols that it has in place, which will require “proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test result obtained within 72 hours of event attendance.” Current ticket holders will also receive an email with more information. “The lines may be a little longer to get in this year, but it should move quickly,” Bakios-Wickes said.

“We feel like this is a such a great social event. Not everyone can afford the price of the Food & Wine Classic for a full weekend pass, but we offer great wines in a beautiful setting at a great price,” she explained. “So many of the winemakers, and these people go to all of the events, say this their favorite event of the year because it is so laid back and is for such a good cause. Everything is donated and you can feel the essence of the event. Everyone is there to just have a good time.”

And while the Snowmass Rotary does great work, there is little question that her volunteered efforts over the years have created a life legacy for Barbara Bakios-Wickes. If you see her at the Festival, be sure to offer a toast.

Both for her work and her anniversary.


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