Wine Fest

This weekend, the Snowmass Wine Festival is continuing the early fall energy that last weekend’s festivities brought to the village. The event is a fundraiser for the Rotary of Snowmass Village and it brings, unsurprisingly, a whole lot of wine to the valley for two days of revelry.

“It’s a very good vibe,” said Barbara Bakios-Wickes, owner of Sundance Liquor and Gifts in Snowmass. “Everyone is happy, it’s affordable and it’s for a good cause.”

Sundance — and by extension Bakios-Wickes — has been acting as the wine coordinator for the event for the past 15 years, which is only two years short of how long the festival has been going. The liquor store just celebrated 40 years in Snowmass and Bakios-Wickes said that she was approached early on by the Rotary Club to help out with the event. It evolved into a labor of love from there.

The festival is split into two main events: a dinner at the Viceroy Snowmass on Friday night and a Grand Tasting on Saturday at Town Park. Martha O’Keefe, one of the coordinators, explained that the festival used to be held on the Village Mall until it moved six years ago in order to accommodate more space for tents.

This year’s theme for the dinner is “Don't cry for me Argentina because the wines are so, so good!” and it features four courses of Argentinian food and wine. The dinner also includes a live auction, which will feature a variety of wine and spirits. Tickets for the dinner are $135 per person, however, they have been sold out for about three weeks now.

If I broke your heart with that revelation, there’s no need to fret. You can still attend the second part of the festival: a three-and-a-half hour grand tasting on Saturday. This event features 37 wine tables, 22 restaurants and seven Colorado-based craft liquor tables.

In addition to the libations, there will also be music from DJ Boogie Down Light & Sound and a silent auction, which Bakios-Wickes said will include items from almost every vendor at the event.

Tickets to the Grand Tasting are $95 ahead of time and $105 at the door. O’Keefe said that last year’s event had around 1,200 attendees and that they sold out of tickets day-of last year, so folks should buy them in advance to guarantee a spot.

It’s also worth mentioning again that, unlike other similar events in the valley, all funds raised at this event go toward the Rotary Club, which in turn donates them to local nonprofits, schools and scholarships. Plus, Bakios-Wickes said that this year they are trying to be as environmentally conscious as possible, and will be recycling and composting at least 90 percent of waste. So, if you’re already feeling the fall off-season funk, wine is sure to cheer you up. And even if you’re not looking to spend an entire afternoon drinking, why not attend to support such a great cause?

“I always encourage people to go, even if they don’t want to drink because it’s a wonderful afternoon,” said Bakios-Wickes. “You can enjoy the festival and do something good at the same time.”

Chapman is the web editor for Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at or on Twitter @Nescwick.