Wine & Dine for a Very Fine Cause

The Denver Food + Wine Festival (DF+WF) celebrates its twelfth consecutive year September 6-11. A multi-day extravaganza showcasing talented chefs from across the state and their creative culinary creations served alongside hundreds of wines and spirits.

Photo credit Nick Adorni

Photo credit Nick Adorni

The weeklong festival will feature an array of events ranging from $40 up to $250 for a VIP experience. DF+WF is co-sponsored by the Colorado Restaurant Association and Southern Wine and Spirits and is the only food and wine festival of which all proceeds directly benefit charities. Beneficiaries this year are Kroenke Sports Charities, MSU Denver, Denver Post Community Foundation, and The Colorado Restaurant Assc. Education Foundation. You know how we like to wine and dine for a good cause!

Photo credit Nick Adorni

Photo credit Nick Adorni

The Festival’s Grand Tasting hallmark event is Saturday, September 10, 2016 held on the grounds of The Pepsi Center (7th Avenue and Auraria Parkway), opening at noon for those who bought a “First Tasting” ticket, 1pm for GA until 4pm. The Grand Tasting unites Colorado’s culinary leaders – award winning chefs, mixologists and wine professionals – and leads guests on a culinary journey through the state’s acclaimed, and expanding, dining scene. The open layout allows guests to eat, drink and explore the creations of more than 40 top restaurants and more than 700 wines and spirits from the region’s most lauded wine professionals. In addition to wine there will be heavy hitting libations such as an array of Devotion and Hanson Vodka flavors, Dulce Vida organic tequilas, Leopold Bros. many spirits, Old Smoky Distillery’s Moonshine, and locals Spring 44. For guests interested in additional unique experiences, the VIP Lounge at DF+WF will feature specialty wines selected by Southern Wine & Spirits Master Sommeliers, paired with tastes from 12 upscale restaurants, Viking Culinary Stage demonstrations by celebrity award-winning Chefs, and a silent auction.

Photo credit Nick Adorni

Photo credit Nick Adorni

Favorites returning from past Grand Tastings include Patrón Spirits Bar & Café; Woody Creek Lounge; Campari Tiki Lounge; Deutsch Redemption tent; Treasury Wine Estates; Trinchero Family Estates; and an Absolute Vodka tent. Sounds like we should prepare for some serious day drinking!

New Attractions to this year’s Grand Tasting event include the Elijah Craig and Heaven Hill Bourbon + Bluegrass Lounge. Local bluegrass band, Lonesome Days will be playing while Elijah Craig bourbon will be pouring. Guest can also chat with Lynn House, Heaven Hill Brands’ national brand educator and master mixologist. If you’re a regular pizza eat/maker, you’ll enjoy the Weber Mobile Grill Academy with specialists providing interactive “best techniques” to grill pizza. For those food fanatics who love the entertainment and celebrity side of things, you’ll want to periodically stop by the Wolf Specialty Appliance Culinary Stage featuring Chef/Owner Giorgio Rapicavoli, Eating House, Bravo’s Chopped winner, Forbes’s “30 Under 30” for food, and James Beard Rising Star Semifinalist!

Photo credit Juliette Coughlin

Photo credit Juliette Coughlin

The night before the big Grand Tasting is a fun Friday night cocktail party and contest on Pepsi Center property! Celebrity bartenders from the Colorado Bartenders’ Guild will compete for the title of Denver’s “Best Cocktail” Friday Sept. 9th during SHAKE DOWN. This will be a Southern-inspired evening of soulful bites and cocktails, paired with live music while eleven local celebrity bartenders compete for guest votes for the “Best Cocktail in Denver.”

For those who love to brunch, and with all of Denver’s amazing breakfast spots it’s hard not to, Sunday, September 11 is the first annual festival dedicated to brunch, Rise + Dine. It will showcase the city’s favorite morning eateries such as Lou’s Food Bar, Corner Office, McLoughlin’s, Rosenberg’s Bagels, Sarto’s, Snooze, Syrup, and The Squeaky Bean. Attendees are encouraged to wear pajamas while noshing on food, enjoying mimosas and striving to make the most impressive Bloody Mary. In fact, you could be a part of Bloody Mary history! The DF+WF Bloody Mary bar will be competing for the world record of “Largest Bloody Mary Bar,” by featuring more than 57 accouterments this year. Truly a once in a lifetime brunch opportunity!

Photo credit Nick Adorni

Photo credit Nick Adorni

Tickets are still available for all of the events https://denverfoodandwine.com/event-schedule/ and they can be purchased here: https://nightout.com/festivals/3612/events/tickets#.V8XsCixTHct

Saturday’s Grand Tasting Restaurants:
Ameristar Resort & Casino
Bistro Colorado
Carbon Café & Bar
Colorado ProStart
Colorado Western University
Degree Restaurant
Del Friscos Grille
Froozer
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
Jill’s Restaurant
Jim N’ Nicks BBQ
La Patisserie Francaise
Lavazza/Italco Foods
Luke’s A Steak Place
Maggianos
Nature Nate’s Honey
The Oceanaire Seafood Room
Postinos
Range Restaurant
Rhein Haus Denver
River & Woods-Open Blue Cobia
Simms Steakhouse
Skinny Pop
Solitaire Restaurant- Woody Creek
Texas de Brazil
The Fort
The Noshery
Uno Mas

-Tiffany Candelaria