Denver is the gateway to the Rocky Mountain corridor. In the winter skiing rules. In the Summer and Fall, food and wine festivals abound with some unique approaches to the tried and true sample-and-dine model. Here is a line up of the best festivals to consider for the Summer/Fall season of 2018 in Colorado.
Telluride Wine Festival
Home to famous outlaws in the 1800’s, Telluride has turned into a ski and resort town that in many respects outshines its big sister, Aspen. And it’s the home of the first streetlights in America. Here the equally innovative program is smaller than other high-profile wine festivals in attendance, yet mighty in the interaction, tastings, and food. The Patron program features numerous vintners, winemaker dinners and lunches, special seating, sommelier interaction and of course majestic mountain views. As this is an intimate experience, there are no lines for any events.
Top Taco, Denver
No secret, Denver has some very creative Mexican food, and this event grew out of the ever-popular “Taco Tuesday” where bars and restaurants did their special tacos each Tuesday. The venue is the Stanley Marketplace, just east of Downtown, a collection of indoor and outdoor restaurants in a park setting. The VIP pass gets you in early, so you can sample all the tacos and the 40 different tequilas. Then move on to recover in the VIP tent complete with more unique tacos, it’s own bar and entertainment. Serious bragging rights for the next year mean this event rolls out every taco imaginable and more.
North Fork Uncorked
Get to the Western Slope of Colorado, where the wines produced come from the highest elevation in North America. So, a little different taste from climate and soil. And, a little less formal than other events because the farmers, artisanal cheese-makers, micro-beer-brewers, hard cider producers, chefs, beekeepers, and the like all get involved with the two-day event. Of course, there are wine and food pairings, dinners and even picnics. It might be smaller than some, but that means more local interaction with all the vendors and community.
Denver Food & Wine Festival
The theme of this five-day event is to pick the functions that have the most interest for your palate. Diversity starts with a cinema series with libations and the food types featured in the film. Dine under the stars with a five-course dinner from local chefs on a railroad bridge with unusual wine pairing with each course. If you are there to taste, then the Grand Tasting features 40+ top area restaurants and more than 700 wines and spirits. The king or queen of cocktails is crowned with The Shakedown where local restaurants make bites to match the creativity of the cocktail.
Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival
Keystone is one of the more popular ski areas in Colorado, and the base area gets converted into a stage with continuous jazz action, wine varieties, seminars, and food. Most seminars and tastings are ala carte rather than an all-inclusive ticket. The festival starts with free gondola rides to the top of the ski area. Keystone is a family-friendly resort, so they provide plenty of activities for the little ones while you taste and listen.
Colorado Mountain Wine Festival
Head to Palisade, home of world famous peaches and cantaloupes for some late summer wining, dining and education. Start off with Wine, Dine and Paint to see if that glass of Vino gives you the eye of Picasso. It’s a big county, so best way to see all the wineries is the special bus tour they have orchestrated that hits all the wineries with spectacular vistas. The Grape Stomp at the Festival in The Park is more than a photo opportunity, it is smashing fun!