Inaugural Breckenridge Wine Classic features tastings, pairing dinners, Sept. 15-18 | VailDaily.com

Inaugural Breckenridge Wine Classic features tastings, pairing dinners, Sept. 15-18

Christina Holbrook
Special to the Daily

BRECKENRIDGE —The inaugural Breckenridge Wine Classic, Thursday through Sunday, combines outdoor adventure, music, art galleries and historic landmarks with an international selection of wines, as well as craft beers and spirits. Hiking and cycling excursions combined with chef-inspired tastings, wine pairing dinners, demonstrations, seminars and more will create a celebratory fall weekend.

Enlivening the four-day program will be performances by the National Repertory Orchestra.

"We are honored to be the beneficiary of the Wine Classic," said National Repertory Orchestra marketing and development director Julie Chandler. "We think it's a great collaboration. Our musicians will be playing at many of the events, from the opening night Farm to Mountain Wine Dinner through the Toast of Breckenridge Grand Tasting."

Thursday

Start your weekend early with the Farm to Mountain Wine Dinner, an artfully crafted five-course dinner and wine pairing served at Sevens at Breckenridge Ski Resort under the direction of master sommeliers Sean Razee and Damon Ornowski.

"People are getting incredible value," Ornowski said, referring not only to the dinner at Sevens, but also to all of the weekend events. "You are getting top wine selections and the opportunity to taste wines you might not usually know about or have access to. You'll get a good pour of each wine, too. And the folks behind the table are really knowledgeable and offer great insights."

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Friday

Morning: "Breckenridge is so beautiful, especially in fall. We really want to encourage guests to get outside and experience all that the community has to offer," said event director Katie Schultze, of Team Player Productions, the creator of the event in partnership with the Breckenridge Tourism Office.

On Friday morning, you can choose to hike or bike. The Walk of Wine includes a guided hike that takes in panoramic views of the Tenmile Range. Afterward, head to lunch at South Ridge Seafood Grill paired with select wines from Old Bridge Cellars.

Or attend Savor the Single Track and prepare to be challenged with a mountain-bike excursion led by chef and cyclist Matt Fackler, of Relish. Reward your efforts with a Colorado-inspired lunch at Relish, including wines chosen by master sommeliers and biking enthusiasts Ornowski and Razee.

Afternoon: You can't tell the difference between a cabernet sauvignon and a merlot, and frankly, you doubt the wine experts can either. The Somm Slam lets you see how your taste buds compare with those of the experts as you join a group of sommeliers for a blind tasting. This is an educational and fun event with lots of wine-infused interaction between guests and wine experts.

Evening: The Wine on the Mountain Grand Tasting is the signature event of the Wine Classic. Ten Mile Station at Breckenridge Ski Resort serves as the venue for an evening of international and domestic wines, beers and fine spirits paired with an array of culinary creations by chef Steve Arndt. Spend one-on-one time with wine experts, and hear a live performance by the National Repertory Orchestra.

And don't miss the After Party. Come as a flapper — or come as you are — to the Speakeasy at The Gold Pan, a free event at the historic Gold Pan Saloon. Sip cocktails created by Breckenridge Distillery and dance the night away to live jazz at this Prohibition-era inspired bash.

Saturday

Morning: Hike & Hops will have you pulling on those hiking boots and heading up the trail for an energizing trek with views of the Rocky Mountains. Later, relax with lunch at the Breckenridge Brewery paired with samples of the latest frosty beers.

Prefer a more educational morning? Join Shelley Sale of Southern Wine and Spirits for Breaking the Bottle, a discussion of the impact women are making on today's wine industry. Sample a selection of wines produced by some of today's top women winemakers, paired with delicious small plates at Modis.

Afternoon: Film lovers will want to join Breckenridge Film Festival at 11 a.m. for a screening of "SOMME: Into the Bottle" at the Popcorn & Prosecco event at the Breckenridge Theatre.

If music is what you're looking for, try a Taste of Music with musical selections performed by the National Repertory Orchestra.

Evening: Located in the Breckenridge Arts District, the Toast of Breckenridge Grand Tasting is the grand finale of the wine classic weekend, featuring hundreds of wines, craft beers and spirits to sample, along with gourmet dishes from local purveyors. Stroll through the historic district and visit galleries and studios as you sip. To get an hour jump on the rest of the crowd, opt for VIP tickets.

Sunday

Morning: Namaste and Nosh is an hour of yoga led by Meta Yoga and followed by brunch at Quandary Grille, cocktail included. Hair of the Dog Brunch is a traditional pancake brunch, hosted by the Gold Pan Saloon, featuring a pick-me-up cocktail from Breckenridge Distillery.

Rachel Zerowin, of the Breckenridge Tourism Office, spoke highly of the planning and coordination of the event and its potential for success for the Breckenridge community.

"The festival producers have done an incredible job integrating with the local community," she said. "Partnerships with the Breckenridge Film Festival, the National Repertory Orchestra and local restaurants have created a unique schedule that highlights arts, outdoors and, of course, great food and wine."

Breckenridge Wine Classic schedule

Thursday, Sept. 15

6:30-9:30 p.m. — Fan Wine Dinner, Sevens at Breckenridge Resort, $165

Friday, Sept. 16

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — The Walk of Wine, South Ridge Seafood Grill, $85

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Savor The Single Track, Relish, $85

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Mi Casa Es Su Tapas, Mi Casa, $85

12:30-2 p.m. — Better Off Red, Ember, $85

1-2 p.m. — Somm Slam, Coppertop Ballroom at Beaver Run Resort, $65

2-3 p.m. — Order Wine Like a Pro, Coppertop Ballroom at Beaver Run Resort, $65

6-8:30 p.m. — Wine on the Mountain Grand Tasting, TenMile Station, Breckenridge Resort, $125

8-10 p.m. — Kickoff Party: Speakeasy, Gold Pan Saloon, free

Saturday, Sept. 17

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Hike & Hops, Breckenridge Brewery, $85

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Breaking the Bottle, Modis, $85

11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Popcorn & Prosecco, Backstage Theater, $40

Noon to 1:30 p.m. — Meet Your Match, Giampietro’s, $85

1-2:30 p.m. — The Taste of Music, Imperial Ballroom at Beaver Run, $85

2-3 p.m. VIP, 3-6 p.m. — VIP Toast of Breckenridge Grand Tasting, Breckenridge Arts District, $145

3-6 p.m. — Toast of Breckenridge Grand Tasting, Breckenridge Arts District, $95

Sunday, Sept. 18

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Namaste & Nosh, Quandary Grille at Main Street Station, $75

10 a.m. to noon — Hair of the Dog Brunch, Gold Pan Saloon, $20

Go to breckenridgewineclassic.com for more information and tickets.