"The Telluride Wine Festival is one of the very few wine festivals I attend because it's casual, comfortable, filled with my friends, brilliant chefs and colleagues and because, most importantly, it happens in T-Ride, the hippest place in the mountains," says Doug Frost, who runs the Monterey Wine Festival in addition to being a master sommelier, only the eighth American to be a master of wine, and author of several books, most recently, On Wine .
Frost will speak at this weekend's festival, along with Tara Thomas, senior editor of Wine & Spirits ; Richard Betts, master sommelier, one of nine to pass the examinations on the first attempt, earning him the coveted Krug Cup; Fred Dame, master sommelier; Robert Bigelow, Director of Wine and master sommelier at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas; Damon Ornowski, master sommelier at Paterno Wines International; and Steve Olson, the self-professed "Wine Geek."
"The Telluride Wine Fest may very well be host to the most natural, organic melding of wine and food of them all," says Olson, this year's master of ceremonies. "Gifted chefs, talented winemakers, expert sommeliers and renowned teachers of wine mingle freely and unpretentiously with food and wind lovers."
Guest chefs featured at this year's event are: Jimmy Bradley owner/chef of four critically-acclaimed New York restaurants (The Red Cat, The Harrison, The Mermaid Inn, and Pace), Luke Palladino, the hot new Italian chef who runs the Borgata's Specchio, Ombra and Risi restaurants in Atlantic City, and Bryan Moscatello, executive chef of Adega Restaurant + Wine Bar in Denver.
With representatives from over 100 wineries, the festival features two wine-pairing dinners hosted by a celebrity chef; a Grand Tasting including selections from all of the wineries and tasty treats from sponsors such as DACOR and igourmet; two wine pairing luncheons; the Toast of Telluride, a walking, wine-tasting tour of Telluride and Mountain Village; a Sunday Brunch; festival auction; and a myriad of seminars and book signings.
Other weekend highlights include the exclusive Patron's Reception and Dinner being held at the Wyndham Peaks Resort & Golden Door Spa, two Reserve Tasting Events and the ever-popular Afternoon of Decadence hosted by Olson with desserts and cheeses accompanied by dessert wines and liquors.
In addition to all its weekend events, the Wine Festival runs a mentorship program for local high school students. Students team up with local chefs to learn the nuts and bolts of working in a professional kitchen before joining the festival's guest chefs at the festival itself.
The Telluride Wine Festival is a non-profit organization and proceeds from this year's festival auction will again be donated to the Telluride Medical Capital Fund and the Monica Callard Scholarship Fund.
The Telluride Wine Festival offers five different event packages ranging from $225 to $850, or tickets can be purchased for individual events, starting at $50. Discounted hotel/event packages are offered through the Inn at Lost Creek. For more information on event tickets and packages call 970/728-3178, the Inn at Lost Creek at 888/601-5678, Telluride Central Reservations at 800/950-4990, or visit www.telluridewinefestival.com.
t>>Wine Festival Schedule