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A taste of class

Christine Ina Casillas
Brad Odekirk / Leadville ChronicleLeadville Liquors owner DeAnn Skale is one of the organizers for the seventh annual wine tasting and silent auction Feb. 12 at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum in Leadville. The event coincides perfectly with Valentine's Day, organizers said.
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LEADVILLE – Ernest Hemingway once said, “Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.” And for seven years, wine has brought a sense of the civilized to Leadville.The seventh annual wine tasting, silent art auction and benefit comes Feb. 12 to the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum.”This is the only time you’ll get to eat and drink in the museum,” said DeAnn Skale, an organizer for the wine tasting and auction.The wine tasting and silent auction is just one of the events close to Skale’s heart, she said. The event has been scheduled to coincide with the lover’s holiday around Valentine’s Day, allowing guests to attend the wine tasting while staying in town for the weekend to celebrate the holiday.”We’re hoping travelers will stay the night in Leadville during the winter,” said Sam McGeorge, director of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum. “The hotels are full and the restaurants get more business this way.”Roses will be displayed at the entrance and given to the guests as they join the festivities.”About 14 dozen roses will be given out,” McGeorge said. “For the guys, it’s a good way to take care of their significant other, taking care of their Valentine’s Day obligations all at once.”And the mining museum is first-class, Skale said.

“It’s a beautiful place for a beautiful event,” she said. “People always come back for more.”And the romantic ambiance will be enhanced by the soothing sounds of the Lake County High School Jazz band playing in the distance – performing away from the wine, McGeorge said.But the wine tasting also just isn’t about tasting myriad wines or nibbling on hors d’oeuvres. It’s about community.”This is becoming a community event in a lot of ways,” McGeorge said.Last year, about 360 people attended the event, and organizers say they are expecting up to 400 people this year.”The museum is big enough so people can walk around, taste the wine and food, and also visit our new wing, seeing different parts of the museum,” McGeorge said.Wine into artWhile wine and food will be scattered around the museum, guests and wine connoisseurs alike will be able to place bids on artwork by Leadville and Lake County artists.

A first for the wine tasting event, the mining museum, along with the Leadville Lake County Chamber of Commerce and Leadville Liquors, has joined with the Leadville Arts Coalition to incorporate wine with art.”We went through a long, convoluted process to incorporate wine with art,” said Earl Walker, board member for the Leadville Arts Coalition. A few years ago, Walker attended an art show in Sedona, Ariz., where the proceeds were given to the arts programs at the local schools. He approached his fellow board members at the arts coalition with a similar idea, incorporating the idea of an art show with the annual event.”The arts coalition thought it was a great idea and it progressed from there,” Walker said. “And it gets the artists in the community involved.”Designated for Leadville and Lake County artists only, the display space will be used as an exchange for one piece of art for the silent auction. Guests can use their ticket number as their auction number for bidding items. The artists must be approved by Saturday. Set-up for the art display will begin Saturday and must be completed by noon, Feb. 12. Removal of the art must be completed by 4 p.m., Feb. 15.The proceeds will be divided between the mining museum (60 percent), the chamber of commerce (20 percent) and the arts coalition (20 percent). The proceeds for the arts coalition will go toward grants for the art teachers in the Lake County schools. “This will help with gaining grants to help with art projects,” Walker said. “It gives something to the kids to help generate their imaginations instead of just looking out the windows.”Vail, Colorado


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