Debut of Rose wine event kicks off 25th annual Taste of Vail |

Debut of Rose wine event kicks off 25th annual Taste of Vail

Chat with dozens of winemakers at today's Debut of Rose event.
Zach Mahone | Special to the Daily |

If You Go ...

What: Taste of Vail’s Debut of Rose.

When: 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Where: Arrabelle in Lionshead. The event is held in a heated tent at the ice skating rink.

Cost: $4 per taste or $50 for an unlimited pass. Tickets for sale at the door.

More information: Visit, or call 970-401-3320.

Rose is the international diplomat of the wine world.

It has a foot in both the red wine and white wine camps, and plays exceptionally well with others — regardless of who or what the others might be.

This year’s Taste of Vail Debut of Rose event features 100 roses from around the world, including many spring releases just out in time for Wednesday’s event.

“There are new premiere spring releases from everywhere from Colorado to Oregon, Provence, France, to Spain and Portugal,” said wine expert Cary Hogan who is running this year’s event. “Name a country, we have it. We’re the first in the state to get to taste them. It’s a big deal.”

The event kicks off Vail’s annual spring food festival, which runs through Saturday evening and includes classic events like Thursday’s Lamb Cook-Off and Apres Ski Tasting, Friday’s Mountaintop Picnic and Saturday’s Grand Tasting. In between there are a slew of wine dinners at local restaurants, the first Vail-based James Beard Foundation’s Celebrity Chef Tour at Larkspur Friday night and fun seminars on everything from cigars and tea to “Speed Dating with the Heartbreak Grape: Cabernet Saugvignon.”

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Ramblin’ RosE

Roses look and taste different from each other because they’re made with different grapes grown in different areas, and created using different techniques, Hogan explained.

“They’re very versatile. Some are delicate, some are made to go with food,” Hogan said. “It’s different for everyone and that’s what makes it fun.”

Hogan has been doing the seminars and working with the Taste of Vail for 25 years.

It’s her first rose event, but not her first rose rodeo. She works with Avon Liquors and spends much of her day extolling the virtues of rose.

It’s time

Wines release this time of year, because it’s time.

Why it’s time requires a long and convoluted explanation about the timing of grape growing and all kinds of other stuff that, if you know wines, you already know. If you don’t know wine, all you really need to know is that 100 of the world’s top roses are at this year’s event, and you should be, too.

At the Rose Debut, you’ll find all kinds of people who do this for a living, and are happy to demystify the whole thing. And they’ll hand you glasses of rose to use as a teaching aid, because they’re serious about education.

America’s dalliance with things like white zinfandel likely kept us from taking up rose as soon as we might have.

Kids are raised on soda pop and are accustomed to lots of sugar, explained Bill Easton, wine maker with Terra Rouge. They might start with a white zinfandel, but before long they get a little smarter and they start drinking something better.

It’s good to think about wine, but you can overdo it.

“You’re not supposed to think about it that much. You’re supposed to enjoy it,” Easton said.

A rosE by any other name

For the uninitiated — and you won’t be after Wednesday’s Debut of Rose — rose is a classic and refreshing wine, especially in the warmer months because they tend to be a little lighter.

Rose wines, often referred to as blush wines, are typically made with red grapes that have a much lighter color than red wine because of the way the wine is made. The actual hue depends on the grapes and winemaking method. Most are pink, purple, or orange-ish, and can be sweet or dry.

“The object is to widen your wine horizons. If you only drink reds or you only drink whites, you’re leaving out 50 percent of all the wines,” Hogan said.

Once people understand rose, the more they tend to like it, Hogan said.

“With the food crazes, people are looking for things with less sugar,” Hogan said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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