How do you know that winter is on its way out and summer (or mudseason, depending on how you look at it) is fast approaching? Taste of Vail comes to town, and brings four days of foodie fun with it. This year's event (Wednesday, April 4 through Sunday, April 8) features perennial favorites—like the lamb cook-off and mountain-top picnic— along with plenty of other seminars and tastings to keep you sipping and snacking throughout the weekend.
Whether you're a first-timer or a longtime Taste of Vail groupie, there's certain events you just shouldn't miss—starting with an afternoon-long ode to rosé and ending with a Saturday night food and wine bash to close out the week.
Debut of Rosé
Wednesday, April 4, 3 to 6 p.m., The Arrabelle, Lionshead Village, Vail
Think (and drink!) pink, at the kick-off Taste of Vail event, where over 100 varietals of rosé wine will be poured throughout the afternoon at the Arrabelle's Grand Ballroom ($55 per person).
The American Lamb Cook-Off and Aprés-Ski Tasting
Thursday, April 5, 3 to 6 p.m., Vail Village
The valley's chefs and restaurateurs dish up their tastiest takes on Colorado lamb for the event's biggest party, with wine pairings on hand to complete the feast ($5 individual tickets available, or $85 per person and included in the festival pass).
Mountain Top Tasting
Friday, April 6, 12 to 2:30 p.m., Vail Mountain
Taste of Vail's annual Mountain Top Tasting transforms into a picnic lunch party, as winemakers and local chefs prepare the afternoon feast at over 10,000 feet above sea level ($150 per person, included in the festival pass).
The Reserve Grand Tasting & Auction
Saturday, April 7, 6 to 9 p.m., The Sebastian, Vail Village
Get your final taste (of Vail) at the event's final ode to wining and dining, as a ballroom's worth of local chefs and winemakers from around the country will be providing the evening's fare ($220 per person, and included in the festival pass).
Seminars & Dinners
If you're looking for a culinary experience that goes beyond tasting (but also includes plenty of that, too), opt for one of the Taste of Vail seminars, where winemakers from around the country—and world—offer some insight into the world of wine. School starts Thursday, with a run down of wines from Oregon ( April 5, 2 to 3 p.m., Matsuhisa, $50 per person), and two classes on Friday—a Beajoulais seminar with Kermit Lynch Imports (April 6, 3 to 4 p.m., The Sebastian, $55 per person), and a tutorial on Tuscany with Master Sommelier Sean Razee (April 6, 4:30 to 6 p.m., $55 per person). Saturday's class list includes a a tasting tour of varietals from Napa and Sonoma (April 7, 3 to 4 p.m., the Four Seasons, $55 per person) with all proceeds going to Red Credit Union's fire relief fund to benefit those affected by the California wildfires, a South African Sauvignon Blanc tasting (April 7, 9 to 10 a.m., Matsuhisa, $55 per person), an intro to German Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Chardonnay (April 7, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., $55 per person), and Rhone wines of Paso Robles (April 8, 1 to 2:30 p.m., Matsuhisa, $55 per person).
Haven't had enough? Make reservations at Blu's in East Vail for an extended wine list featuring wines from the festival (Wednesday, April 5, 5 to 9 p.m., blusrestaurant.com), and save room for Thursday's Kenwood Winery popup at Vail Village's White Bison (April 6, 6 to 7:30 p.m., whitebisonvail.com).