Taste of Vail aims for charitable donations at ‘a whole new level’
VAIL – In its continuing mission as benefactor to Vail Valley Charities, organizers of the 16th annual Taste of Vail have decided to raise the bar.This year the festival will host world-renowned wine auctioneer Tom DiNardo at various Chefs Showcase Dinners, as well as festival’s Grand Tasting, to help perk wine collectors’ interest and drive donations.”We’re very excited about bringing a professional auctioneer of Tom’s caliber to Taste of Vail this year,” said Mickey Werner, the festival’s auction chairman. “It’s the measure of our commitment to Vail Valley Charities.”
A nonprofit organization, Taste of Vail, schedule April 5-9, is a food and wine festival that has contributed more than $300,000 to Vail Valley Charities; and in 2005, in conjunction with Ritz-Carlton, the Taste of Vail donated $13,000 to the Hurricane Katrina relief fund.Since its inception, however, wine auctions at Taste of Vail have been a mixed bag, with great – but not outstanding – results. Typically, they’ve been silent auctions during the festival’s finale, the Grand Tasting. Last year, Werner, known as the “Wine Wizard” in local circles, with 28 years in the wine and spirits business, worked as auctioneer himself during the festival’s one and only Chefs Showcase Dinner at Game Creek Restaurant. “Taste of Vail is all about benefiting Vail Valley Charities and getting people to reach into their pockets to do so,” said Werner, general manager of Alpine Wine and Spirits in West Vail. “I’ve been on a crusade for eight years for a real live auction, with a real auctioneer, to generate the interest Vail Valley Charities deserve. Now, I believe this is the right venue, with the right means.”This year’s festival features three Chefs Showcase Dinners – each including a live auction. Game Creek Restaurant hosts April 5, the Sonnenalp Resort of Vail hosts on April 6 and the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch hosts on April 7. Then, on April 8, the Grand Tasting, Taste of Vail’s grand finale featuring all participating restaurants, wineries and guest chefs, will host a live auction where guests can bid on a wide selection of wines, culinary and travel auction items.
“I’m incredibly excited to be involved. Taste of Vail is a very well known event covered by all major wine and culinary magazines,” said DiNardo, who owns five world records for proceeds generated at charity wine auctions. “We’re going to take Taste of Vail to a whole new level.”Auctioneer a record breaker
A true entrepreneur and veteran fundraising auctioneer, DiNardo founded DiNardo and Lord Auctioneers in 1993. Since then, charity wine auctions like the Taste of Vail – a phenomenon he calls “the hottest thing going in the auction business” – have become one of his specialties. His work, on average, has resulted in average revenue increases for his clients of up to 50 percent, he says.Just this year, DiNardo has broken records at charity wine auctions in California and Utah. In January, for example, he worked a crowd during Zinfandel Advocates and Producers’ annual Winemaker’s Dinner in San Francisco into a frenzy for a total of $77,550. Then in February, at the 2006 Culinary, Wine and Ski Classic in Park City, Utah, where organizers were hoping to earn as much as $50,000, DiNardo drummed up more than $130,000.DiNardo worked in the wine industry in both California and Washington before entering into his chosen craft of auctioneering, gaining expertise in wine and developing what he calls a heartfelt “reverence for the grape.” He’s a sommelier candidate with the International Sommeliers Guild; a freelance writer for Wine Adventures and Wine Enthusiast magazines; a regular contributor to WineSquire.com, AuctionZip.com, and GlobalAuctionGuide.com; a featured contract auctioneer for Chicago-based ERI wine auction gallery; and a certified appraiser.In addition to wine auctions, tastings and festivals, DiNardo regularly plies his trade as auctioneer for nonprofits, charities, churches, hospitals, foundations, museums, fraternal orders, clubs, universities, public and private schools, civic groups, theatres, symphonies, opera guilds, political causes and sportsmen’s organizations.
“I’ve been doing fundraiser auctions since the beginning,” said DiNardo. “I’m ranked in the top four, with five world records. I’ve established myself in fundraiser wine auctions selling some of the rarest vintages and most impressive-tasting wines ever from around the world.”For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.tasteofvail.com.Vail, Colorado