Telluride Wine Fest: Charlie Arturaola, Somm Like It Hot!

Telluride Wine Fest: Charlie Arturaola, Somm Like It Hot!

The 37th annual Telluride Wine Festival takes places June 28 – July 1, 2018 and thanks to director Laurel Robinson, the program includes something for everyone. Don’t have a pass? Don’t pass. Though some events are reserved for passholders and patrons only, individual tickets can be purchased for most events. For a full schedule, go here. For ticket information, go here. And when you check in, ask about the new Telluride Wine Festival app. With it you will be able to scan the label of any of your favorite wines and even place your order right there on the spot.

Sommelier, filmmaker, teacher, blogger Charlie Arturaola returns to Telluride to screen his latest film, “The Duel of Wines” and to co-host and present at luncheons, dinners, and talks.

Scroll down to listen to his podcast and for a full list of Artuarola’s Wine Fest happenings.

Sommelier Charlie Arturaola returns to the Telluride Wine Festival.

Grape seeds have been discovered in prehistoric caves.

Archeological evidence like flasks, stops and sealants point to the strong possibility some of the earliest wine production happened in Erwan or present-day Armenia, with the first vintage sometime around 4000 B.C. The Armenians allegedly maintained that Noah planted the first vineyard near Erwan. Ancient Egyptians made wine; early Greeks did too – and exported it on a considerable scale.

Just as old as wine are the arguments about vintages and varietals.

And arguments abound such as how the virtues – or lack thereof – of the technological revolution in wine that is democratizing decent wine, narrowing the gap between mass-market and high-end bottles – and at a time the price differentiation between the cheapest and most expensive wines is greater than ever before.

“Wine has always been a ritual as much as a recreational object,” former winemaker and CEO of Ridge Vineyards, Paul Draper. told The New Yorker. “Something that you talk about and write poems about..”

And make movies about.

Like “Sideways,” 2004, in which Miles/Paul Giamatti describes Pinot Noir in fulsome tones as “Its flavors… they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and ancient on the planet.”

In “Bottle Shock,” 2008, Alan Rickman portrays an English wine merchant who set up the Judgment of Paris, the famed 1976 blind tasting that pit American wines against France’s best.

And “Red Obsession,” 2013, is a lavish documentary that looks at how China’s relentless pursuit of prestige bottlings impacts the Premiers Crus of Bordeaux.

You might ask internationally renowned sommelier Charlie Artuarola about that last film. He just returned from an extended stay in China serving, educating, and entertaining its people about the grape as he has done at some many addresses around the globe over his 30+-year career – and counting.

You can ask that and any other, err, pressing questions when you meet Artuarola at the 37th annual Telluride Wine Festival, where he is one of the featured sommeliers and many places you want to be.

Artuaola also adds his own films to that list targeting oenophiles and screens his latest movie,“The Duel of Wine,” over the festival weekend on Friday, June 29, at a seminar that runs from 9:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Wines being presented at the talk include:


TXACOLI Bodega K5, Basque Country
Vermentino blend , Cantina Santadi, Sardegna


Carignano del SULCIS Santadi, Sardegna
Chianti Classico Carpineto, Tuscany
Sagrantino di Montefalco, Arnaldo Caprai, Umbria
Barolo Tortoniano, Michele Chiarlo, Piedmont
Rioja Reserva, Ostatu , Rioja Alavesa Spain
Catena Zapata, Catena Zapata , Mendoza, Argentina
Preludio, Tannat Blend, Uruguay.

Champagne Rose Laurent PERRIER

“The Duel of Wine” is Arturaola’s second film and a comedy. The plot follows Arturaola’s antics across Europe as he tries to re-enter the wine tasting world – which he was forced to leave in his film “El Camino del Vino,” in which he loses his mojo, his palette.

A desire to win back the respect of the wine community is heightened by his belief that his wife no longer loves him. She has taken a job promoting a young, wunderkind sommelier. As an excuse to follow his wife to Europe, he convinces a friend to pretend to be a sommelier and the two of them enjoy a spirited and hilarious romp through Italy. The subterfuge ends in disaster as Lino is found out and Arturaola looks for another strategy. He develops a mysterious character and, hiding behind a mask, he competes in the fictional “Duel of Wine” competition. His struggle culminates in a tasting in New York where he competes against his wife’s protégé.

“The Duel of Wine” was screened in Film Arts in Montreal; Seminci, Spain; and the International Film Festival.

“Hey I am not Gable, nor Clooney, nor Brad Pitt, but two of my movies made many people cry and laugh in nine languages!,” he says with a wink.

“…Arturaola makes an appealing larger than life hero and somehow the director has managed to coax convincing performances out of real wine people.” Financial Times, UK.

“The strength of the film is the charismatic Charlie Arturaola…a spirited and sensual wine tasting journey to recover his palate,” Screen Daily. “Charlie flits between grand events and modest functions and from fine wines to rough reds with a genial ease switching languages at ease and usually with a twinkle in his eye.”

In addition, these days Arturaola is in particularly high demand as TV stations look to capitalize on the growing wine culture in the US. He currently has at least three programs in production.

More about Charlie Arturaola:

Charlie Arturaola has been in love with wine since he was a child. While hiding from an armed dispute at a soccer game, he first smelled the intoxicating air of a wine barrel.

Born in Uruguay, (August 9, 1961), Arturaola is a charismatic Miami-based sommelier and actor, who has communicated about wine in all ways imaginable: sommelier of course, but also corporate wine director, teacher, mentor, appraiser, contest judge, blogger and president of a wine consulting and appraising firm, Grappolo Blu Inc. based in Miami Beach, Florida.

He found acting a natural evolution from his day job as a somm, simply moving his showmanship from the dining room to the screen.

Arturaola appears on “The Wine Guys,” a reality show that airs on British Columbia, Germany and South Africa cable TV and he will soon be working in a new LATAM network wine show scheduled to go up next winter.

He is a life-time honorary member of The Italian Sommelier Association and belongs to the international Tasters team concours Mondial of Bruxelles.

Arturaola will be working in a wine book around the Mediterranean Sea starting next month and he has helped mold the next generation of sommeliers, wine teachers and wine lovers by mentoring students pursuing masters degrees in hospitality at Johnson & Wales Campus “The Wine School” and Lynn University in Florida.

And, in addition to the language of wine, the man speaks five languages.

Charlie Arturaola at the Telluride Wine Festival:


THURSDAY JUNE 28 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.

In Italy, lunch is regarded as the most important meal of the day. Shops close between 13:00 and 15:00 during the pausa pranzo (lunch break), and even schools observe the hour letting children return home for the main meal.  You’re invited to celebrate pranzo with an over-the-top gourmet Italian lunch – starting with an antipasti or il primo (pasta, rice or similar), followed by the second-course il secondo (meat or fish) served together with a side dish il contorno (vegetable or salad) followed by formaggi e frutta (local cheese and fruit) and finished with dolce (dessert or sorbetto) -created by Chef Tony Mantuano: a recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Midwest and the Chicago Tribune’s Good Eating Award, which honors achievement in the food and restaurant industry. Outside of the kitchen, Mantuano is often recognized for his participation in season two of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. His italian creations will be paired with lucious Italian wines curated by guest Sommelier, Rachael Lowe. Join us for an unforgettable gourmet Italian experience!

HOST:  Rachael Lowe- Sommelier, Spiaggia Restaurant
Guest Chef: Tony Mantuano, Spiaggia Restaurant—Chicago
Wineries: Caprice, Buglioni, Carpineto, among others
Winemakers/Proprietors: William Davis, Wilson Daniels; Charlie Artuaola,
Ariel Casali, Vinita USA

FRIDAY, June 29
FRIDAY, JUNE 29 9:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Join us for this unique tasting seminar with world-renown Sommelier/Actor Charlie Arturaola and Wine Writer/Sommelier and TWF Wine Director Christopher Sawyer, who will introduce wines made with grapes featured in the Italo-Argentinean comedy, The Duel of Wine about a sommelier (starring Arturaola) who has lost his sense of taste. The film screens after the seminar.

*Seminar ticket includes entrance to the movie at 11am.
Wineries: Champagne Gosset), Txakoli, Soave, Caprai Montefalco, Chiarlo, Alpha Omega Collection, Catena , Paul Hobbs, Venissa
Winemakers/Proprietors: William Davis, Wilson Daniels; Ariel Casali, Vinita USA

FRIDAY, JUNE 29 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The official Colorado debut of the award-winning international film, The Duel of Wine, starring actor/sommelier/wine educator Charlie Arturaola.
Synopsis:  Charlie falls from grace after starring in the film “The Ways of Wine” (Camino del Vino). His character – “a sommelier who lost his sense of taste,” lost not only his palate, but also his way in the tasting world, the only world he’s ever really know.  In “The Duel of Wine” his wife, Pandora, finds him a way back but with the unfortunate catch that he must work behind the scenes anonymously as a “ghost taster” for a young and ambitious sommelier, Antonio Poncelis.

Thanks to Charlie’s refined palate, Antonio quickly becomes one of the most promising young sommelier sensations in the world. The professional couple of Antonio and Pandora become highly sought after, and are pursued to participate in The Great Wine Duel, the “World Cup” of wine tasting.  Charlie is frustrated, forlorn, and refuses to continue the charade. After a fight with his wife, he abruptly leaves to tour the small towns of Europe alone. On his journey, he realizes that his sense of taste has returned sharper than ever, seeming to verge on the fantastic. His travels bring him into contact with important Old World wine personalities who help him devise a plan to win back his wife and reclaim his fame.

IN PERSON: Charlie Arturaola

FRIDAY, JUNE 29, 1:00- 2:30 p.m.

Are you looking for a crisp, refreshing alternative to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, or seeking a dry wine that pairs well with gourmet salads, quail, cheeses and seafood, join us to find the answers to these and many more food and wine questions! Enjoy a richly delicious lunch sponsored by Manchester Farms Quail and hot new wines from around the globe, presented by our friends at Turnbull Wine Cellars, Michael David Winery, Wilson Daniels and Vinita USA.

CHEFS: Tom Coohill, Regan Briggs, and Angela Covington
Wineries: Turnbull Wine Cellars, Michael David Winery, and more tasty selections from Wilson Daniels and Vinita USA.
Winemakers/Proprietors: Burroughs Blind (Turnbull); Derek DeVries (Michael David); Ariel Casali (Vinita USA)
SPONSORED BY: Manchester Farms Quail

SATURDAY, JUNE 30, 11:30a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
The Appellation Exploration

Fun, interactive lunch featuring extraordinary wines and engaging winemakers from select West Coast appellations who are celebrating their 35-year anniversaries this year in 2018. Featured wineries: Brooks (Willamette Valley), Bodega de Edgar (Paso Robles), Davis Bynum (Russian River Valley)

CHEF: David Wooding/Nikki Baldacci
WINERIES: Brooks Wine (Willamette Valley), J. Lohr (Paso Robles/Arroyo Seco), Davis Bynum (Russian River Valley), Pellet Estate (Petaluma Gap)
Guest Winemakers: Chris or Janie, Brooks Wine; TBD, J. Lohr; TBD, Davis Bynum; Eric Risch, Pellet Estate

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