Telluride Wine Festival Celebrates 25th Anniversary June 22-25

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May 6, 2006

TELLURIDE, CO - (News Release) - Fans of great wine, great food and great fun are marking their summer calendars with Colorado's most scenic and revered wine and culinary event - the 25th anniversary Telluride Wine Festival, June 22-25. Tickets are available online at www.telluridewinefestival.com or by calling (970) 728-3178.

"Come enjoy the greatest food and wine party of the year," says Keith Hampton, the festival's director. "Beautiful scenery, spectacular wines, awesome fun. Cheers."The Telluride Wine Festival - the longest-running festival of its kind in the Rocky Mountains - is a unique experience, indeed. Held in the historic town of Telluride, high in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado amid stunning views of snowcapped peaks soaring to more than 14,000 feet above sea level, the four-day event features more than six dozen wineries from around the world pouring their finest at venues throughout town, as well as in Mountain Village, just a gondola ride away.

Despite its name, The Telluride Wine Festival is a culinary extravaganza, as well, with cooking seminars, delightful tastings and multi-course repasts prepared by world-renowned chefs. This year's guest chefs are:

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Vitaly Paley of Paley's Place in Portland, Ore., named Best Chef of the Northwest by the James Beard Foundation in 2005

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Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, CO, recognized last year as one of the "Top 10 Best New Chefs in America" for Food & Wine magazine

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Ana Sortun of Restaurant Oleana in Boston, named by the James Beard Foundation as Best Chef of the Northeast in 2005

Of course, the Telluride Wine Festival is known for its refined educational opportunities. This year, half a dozen wine seminars are on offer, hosted by some of the world's top experts:
*Richard Betts, Master Sommelier and wine director at Aspen's Little Nell Hotel
*Jay Fletcher, Master Sommelier, director of fine wine for Southern Wine and Spirits of Colorado and board member for the Court of Master Sommeliers
*Frederick Dame, Master Sommelier, president of the Court of Master Sommeliers and winner of Wine Spectator magazine's Grand Award for wine programs
*Doug Frost, director of America's Best Wine Lists National Awards, author, and one of only three people in the world to become both Master Sommelier and Master of Wine
*Bobby Stuckey of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, CO, winner of the James Beard Foundation's Wine Service Award in 2005
*Laura Williamson, Master Sommelier and senior consultant for Small Vineyards Imports.

For those looking for a truly extraordinary wine experience, the Telluride Wine Festival is especially proud to present its 2006 Reserve Program on Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24 - four hour-and-a-half tastings offering exceptional wines introduced by the winemakers themselves.

Then, for something totally different, there's the Scotch and Cigar Tasting, presented by Cigar Aficionado and Wine Spectator magazines, and The Ultimate Decadence: Chocolate Truffles and Wine, presented by Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher and artisan chocolate maker Patty Denny.

"The Telluride Wine Festival may very well be host to the most natural, organic melding of wine and food of them all," says Steve Olson, wine educator, restaurateur and longtime festival patron." In the spectacular surroundings of a box canyon in Southwestern Colorado, gifted chefs, talented winemakers, expert sommeliers and renowned teachers of wine mingle freely and unpretentiously with food and wine lovers."

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More on Telluride's Wine Festival

The Telluride Wine Festival's signature events, meanwhile, are what draw many patrons to Colorado in the first place. The festival kicks off in the spectacular setting of the Peaks Resort in the Mountain Village on Thursday evening, June, 22, with the Opening Night Celebration ffor Winemakers and Patrons, followed Friday afternoon, June 23, by the Grand Tasting, with incredible appetizers and more than 300 wines.

Then, on Saturday, June 24, patrons enjoy the ultimate wine and food matching experience, the midday Winemaker's Luncheon at Mountain Village's Conference Center Plaza, before heading out for the Toast of Telluride and Mountain Village, in which the festival's many sponsors become hosts, themselves, throughout town.

Saturday evening, the festival reaches for the stars at the Patron's Gala Dinner and Annual Auction, where guests are seated for an incredible five-course dinner prepared by the guest chefs themselves - and, of course, paired with great wines. It's all capped off with a charity auction, hosted by world-renowned auctioneer Tom DiNardo.

The grand finale comes Sunday morning, June 25, in Telluride Town Park with the Gourmet Brunch al Fresco.

The official artwork for the 25th annual Telluride Wine Festival was created especially for the event by Sally Strand, a native Coloradoan. Posters are available for purchase for $40; the original painting will be auctioned during the festival.

Despite its stature among wine and culinary festivals and its reputation for haute cuisine, the Telluride Wine Festival is a nonprofit organization. This year, all proceeds will be donated to the Telluride Medical Capital Fund.

For more information, visit www.telluridewinefestival or call (970) 728-3178.