Funds raised at this year's festival will be distributed among the recently established Hoot's Freeride Fund and TSSC, as well as the Telluride Medical Capital Fund.
"We need to sell 100 additional tickets to meet our charitable goal," said Kim Havel, president of the Telluride Association of Realtors.
Hoot's Freeride Fund was established in memory of 16-year-old Brooks "Hoot" Brown, a popular local freestyle skier who died last year from injuries sustained in an accident at Telluride Ski Resort.
Festival organizers say their mission this year is to raise a minimum of $30,000 at the festival's annual Patron's Gala Dinner and Annual Auction, held Saturday, June 24, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the Telluride Conference Center.
"It's a new fund that's just starting out, and it needs a kick start. We're excited to be involved," said Steve Swenson, a longtime member of the Telluride Wine Festival's board of directors.
This year's Patrons Gala will feature a delectable multi-course dinner prepared by the festival's star guest chefs. Vitaly Paley, of Paley's Place in Portland, Ore., and Ana Sortun of Restaurant Oleana in Boston, were named "Best Chef of the Northwest" and "Best Chef of the Northeast," respectively, by the James Beard Foundation in 2005.
They are joined by Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colo., who was recognized last year as one of the "Top 10 Best New Chefs in America" by Food & Wine magazine, and Pilar Rodriguez, considered a rising star in her native Chile, as well as in Washington D.C., where she's a diplomat of sorts for her country's wines and foods, cooking regularly at the Chilean Embassy. Closer to home, Donn Wagner of Cazwellas in Montrose, was the recipient of Wine Spectator's "Award of Excellence" and named one of the "Top Five Restaurants in Colorado" by the National Restaurant Association.
Each course of the Patron's Gala dinner will be paired with exceptional wines from the festival's 60 participating wineries, selected by Jay Fletcher, the festival's host sommelier. The event kicks off with a champagne reception featuring appetizers created by festival executive chef Tom Tompkins. It's capped by a live auction conducted by world-renowned charity auctioneer Tom DiNardo.
The wines, culinary items and travel packages to be auctioned during the festival include: the 2004 Estate Cuvee Staircase a bottle, a magnum and a double-magnum of Stephan Asseo's signature Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon "Paso blend" from L'Aventure Winery; a six-liter bottle of 2002 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Raymond Vineyards, signed by the winemaker; a five-liter bottle of Baron de Ley Reserva 2000 from Frederick Wildman and Sons; a three-liter bottle of 2002 Kenwood Vineyards "Jack London Vineyard" Cabernet Sauvignon, donated by Heck Estates; a seven-night stay in Paris, donated by Passionate for Paris; a two-night stay at Long Meadow Ranch, in the Mayacamas Mountains of California, high above the Napa Valley; and a weekend at the world-famous Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs.
Justin Chandler, executive director of the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club, said whatever proceeds his charitable organization receives from the festival will go toward financial aid programs and scholarships. He expects more than 200 kids from throughout the region to participate in the club's alpine, freestyle, freeride, snowboard, Nordic and Team Gravity programs this year.
"A community event supporting a community program for the community's kids," Chandler said. "This is perfect timing."
There are three ways to participate and support the charitable efforts of the 25th annual Telluride Wine Festival: purchase a transferable Patron Pass, which includes a seat at the Patron's Gala Dinner and Annual Auction, as well as tickets to other luncheons, tastings and seminars throughout the four-day festival; purchase an individual seat or table at the dinner; or send a tax-deductible contribution.
The Telluride Wine Festival, a non-profit 501(c)4 corporation, is funded, in part, by a grant from Town of Telluride Commission on Arts and Special Events and the Town of Mountain Village.
To buy tickets or for more information, visit www.telluridewinefestival.com or call 728-3178.