35th Annual Telluride Wine Fest: Overview

35th Annual Telluride Wine Fest: Overview

The 35th annual Telluride Wine Festival was named official qualifier for the World Food Championships. For more information, go here. Call 970-728-9790 or email wine@telluridewinefestival.com for entry information. Telluride Wine Fest’s events take place in the Towns of Telluride and Mountain Village. For tickets to Wine Fest go here. 


Any self-respecting poet of pinot can rattle off a list of reasons why grape is good. For starters, wine complements and enhances the taste of food.

“I cook with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food,” W.C. Fields.

On dark days, wine can help shoo away the clouds.

“Give…wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink and forget his poverty and remember misery no more,” Proverbs 31:6-7

And science has proven that drinking wine (in moderation of course) contributes to health. One ingredient in wine, resveratrol, may enhance longevity; certain chemicals in wine are known to counteract the nasty effects of fat and cholesterol – which helps explain the “French paradox.”

Reason enough to check out the 35th annual Telluride Wine Festival, Thursday, June 23 – Sunday, June 26, 2016.

But wait, there’s more.

Telluride Wine Fest: Giving back and bringing home the bacon:

Now under direction of Laurel Robinson, the mission of the Telluride Wine Festival is ambitious and far-reaching: to stimulate the local economy, educate attendees about some of the finer things in life, and donate a large portion of event proceeds to support the Telluride region’s food-producing community. The plan is to provide grants to local entrepreneurs producing food in new and sustainable ways, as well as offering education for children in the culinary arts.

To help pay off that promise, this year the Telluride Wine Festival was named official qualifier for the World Food Championships.


The Telluride Wine Festival will have two-featured representatives at the 2016 World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Alabama, according to Mike McCloud, CEO of the World Food Championships.

“More than 400 pre-qualified competitors will enter one of nine competition categories beginning November 8, and the champions of the Telluride Wine Festival will be among them,” McCloud said.

The Telluride Wine Festival is qualifying two winners from its 2016 event to compete against the World Food Championships roster of Golden Ticket contestants through a bacon competition, which has been elevated to Preferred Qualifier status by guaranteeing that its winner’s registration fees are paid and other assistance is provided to compete in Orange Beach. The consumer competition will qualify a winner for the Bacon World Championship.

“Stakes are high and the competition is intense with a total purse of $350,000 in cash and additional prizes, while the ultimate World Food Champion takes home a grand prize of $100,000,” McCloud said.

Competitors will prepare food on site in timed events that include preparation speed, specialty recipes, presentation, and the ultimate test of taste. The categories this year include BBQ, Chili, Sandwich, Seafood, Bacon, Burger, Dessert, Steak, and Recipe. As a secondary competition, the Telluride Wine Festival has been deemed an Automatic Qualifier, which qualifies a chef competitor for the World Recipe Championship in the category of “Breakfast” in 2016.

“Tournament judges will select the top 10 finalists in each category where they will then compete for the chance to go to the Final Table,” continued McCloud. “It is there that one culinary genius will rise up from nine category champions to become the 2016 World Food Champion.”


In addition, Wine Fest’s 2016 partner is The Chef Ann Foundation, a nonprofit that believes every child should have access to fresh, healthy food every day in order to develop healthy eating habits that last a lifetime.

Chef Ann, who is a former Telluride local and restauranteur.

Chef Ann, who is a former Telluride local and restauranteur.

Through the Monica Callard Foundation, Wine Fest works to give scholarships to talented Telluride residents who would benefit the region through wine and/or culinary education.

More reasons to attend, in general:

It’s all about location, location, location. Telluride is easily one of the most beautiful natural settings in America, its iconic Main Street surrounded by 13,000-foot peaks. Waterfalls, aspen groves, rocky crags, and views of mountain life at every turn complete the unforgettable picture.


Street parties and intimate tastings. The event-packed weekend offers something for everyone. Tasting events boast the energy of a party with the added distinction of designer spirits and wines poured by the makers. Delight in the opportunity to meet and talk to growers and vintners of your favorite wine, while sampling a hand-made cheese, or many perfectly paired snacks. Seminars offer an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and your taste for the finer details of wine.

The food. Participants experience haute cuisine prepared by guest celebrity chefs such as Lisa Dahl, Lionel Vatinet, and Bernard Guillas, plus esteemed local chefs such as Chad Scothurn of Cosmo.

The 2016 Telluride Wine Festival Wine Director is a star in the field. Christopher Sawyer, wine writer and “Sommelier to the Stars” is an internationally-renowned sommelier.

Christopher Sawyer

Christopher Sawyer

Ticket and package options. Ticket packages allow would-be attendees to customize their experience, with options ranging from VIP-level packages that include all the food and wine seminars (plus a private concierge) down to single-event options.

Reasons to attend, highlights:

Mini luncheons & tastings:

Chef James Reaux returns to the Telluride Wine Fest.

Chef James Reaux returns to the Telluride Wine Fest.

For the cost-conscious “Winer,” on Thursday, June 23, 7-9:30 p.m., in the Transfer Warehouse, 201 South Fir, enjoy music, taste wines and beer at the U.S. Bank Post.

Toastie: $30 gets you four tickets for food or drinks from Wine Fest vendors. (Just $20 for Toast of Telluride pass holders.)

Friday, June 24, 4-6:30 p.m., the Transfer Warehouse is the place for Cocktails and Jazz for only $20. Watch Chef Lisa Dahl in action at the Bluestar Kitchen whipping up dinner while you sip rosé and unique cocktails shaken up by distillers from Colorado; in the background, some great jazz. Fine sipping whiskey is also available.

Luncheon and breakfast cooking seminars at the Transfer Warehouse on Friday and Saturday are a cost-conscious way to learn new cooking techniques, while enjoying a light lunch and nice wine. This year, Chateau d’Esclans aims to prove that rosé and champagne go with just about everything.


NEW! Thursday, June 23, Toast of Mountain Village & Town of Telluride: in Mountain Village, 3:30-6:00 p.m.; in Telluride, 4:30-7:00 p.m. 

Pick up your glass at Wine Fest’s ticketing in Mountain Village at 3:30 p.m., then munch at the Village Table or poolside at the Franz Klammer, then make your way around the five participating restaurants and venues.

Ride the Gondola to Telluride’s art galleries and restaurants for a feast for the eyes and taste buds alike. Participating restaurants plan to showcase their best bites with sips; retail venues will feature everything wine.

To find participating venues, look for giant chalkboard wine bottles.

NEW! Friday’s After the Farmer’s Market, Cocktails and Jazz Happy Hour, 4-6:30 p.m., Transfer Warehouse. (Also available, free non-alcholic beverages.)

The Reserve Room, Friday, June 24, 4-5:30 p.m., Denton’s Ridgeline Reserve.

Collect your tasting glass and join 30+ selected wineries as they roll out their Private Reserve wines in an intimate setting. This exclusive event allows guests to spend time with the winemaker and hear the story behind their reserve grapes. These wines are not normally available for tasting by the public. Purchase information will be available at the tasting. Complete your wine cellar here.

NEW! Dinner & A Movie: “Bottle Shock,” Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Judgment of Paris, Friday, June 24, 6:30 – 9 p.m., Transfer Warehouse. 

Here’s the trailer to whet your appetite:

Cocktails, and an al-fresco, four-course gourmet Italian dinner expertly prepared by our celebrity chefs in an outdoor Bluestar Demo Kitchen, followed by dessert and a screening of “Bottle Shock,” starring the late great Alan Rickman.

Each course is paired with wines selected by the Festival’s Wine Director, Chris Sawyer. In person: Todd Harris, producer, “Shock”; Chef Lisa Dahl; Chef, Gianfranco Maffezione.

Telluride Mountain Village Owner’s Association presents Grand Tasting, Heritage Plaza and Telluride Conference Center Plaza. Saturday, June 25, 3 p.m. for VIP and trade entry*; 4 – 7 p.m.


Experience over 100 selected wineries, breweries, distillers, distributors, regional restaurants, and vendors in one afternoon. Everything will taste better in a complimentary C and S Reveal-Up glass, the newest wine glass on the market.

Purchase souvenirs from our vendors, Colorado artisans at the new Telluride Wine Festival retail store.

The Grand Tasting is the Telluride Wine Festival’s premiere event.

*We are honoring industry professionals by offering gratis early entrance from 3-4 p.m. Just show your winemaker or chef lanyard or pay stub from any local bar or restaurant to take advantage of this great way to taste a variety of wines, spirits, and gourmet cuisine.

All-Caviar Dinner, Saturday, 7 – 9 p.m., secret location, given to ticket-holders only.


Spend an incredible evening of dining decadence at the Telluride Wine Festival’s first All-Caviar Dinner. The banquet features four sumptuous dinner courses with caviar in all its guises, creatively prepared by our celebrity chefs and paired with the usual wine or champagne, plus a few surprises. The elegant dinner takes place at a local home. (Tickets are very limited.)

Smithfield Farms Brunch, Sunday, June 26, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m., Telluride Conference Center tent.


Join Wine Fest in Mountain Village for million-dollar views, innovative local sangria from What We Love, mimosas, Stu’s Bloody Mary bar, gourmet food, and live music…Hot and cold entrees, fruits, pastries, all breakfast creations by celebrity chefs.

The brunch is also the culmination of the Bacon Cook-Off and the final for the Best Breakfast Recipe Competition, with the two winners qualifying for the World Food Championships final in November.

Watch the chefs battle it out.


No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.