Editor’s Picks: Summit County’s best bets for the weekend
When I was 22, fresh out of college, I spent a year living with my sister in the Sunset District of San Francisco. I had always liked wine, but I’m ashamed to admit my taste was incredibly unrefined in college — I still cringe thinking about the amount of White Zinfandel jug swill I used to consume. I felt like a backwards redneck from Missouri the first time I went tasting and drank the rinse water. I worked at a historic restaurant right on Ocean Beach called Cliff House, and, as a cocktail waitress, I had to have the bartender teach me how to open a bottle of wine in front of guests with a simple key rather than those fancy contraptions I was used to.
But living so close to wine country gave me more of an education and appreciation for producing good wines, a process that is truly a labor of love. Floating down the Russian River on a canoe, we would stop in Healdsburg for a tipple or bring visiting family members to lunch at spots in Sonoma or Alexander Valley. Although I’ve forgotten the name of the winery, I still remember walking the vineyard with a winemaker who invited us out for no reason other than he loved his work.
The older I get, the more I ask for a glass of wine over anything else, and I can now go into a tasting with confidence and ease. I struggle with contraptions like the Rabbit opener, and only use simple wine keys — and, although I sometimes indulge in a sweet Riesling, you can bet I won’t ever buy Carlo Rossi again.
Winemaking can be frustrating and rewarding, and I admire those who have the patience and willpower for it, like Joel Peterson, founder of Ravenswood Winery and speaker at one of Saturday’s seminars at the Keystone Wine & Jazz Festival. He spent decades working a night job in a lab so he could spend his days making wine, and for him, it really paid off. But even after a multi-million buyout, he still spends his day immersed in the art of winemaking, and will have plenty of stories to tell about earning the nickname “Godfather of Zin.” The festival begins today and runs throughout the weekend, with tasting events, jazz and seminars. Go to keystonefestivals.com/festivals/wine-and-jazz/ for more information.
Here are this weekend’s best bets:
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LAKE DILLON ARTS FESTIVAL
The three-day art festival showcases 90 artists from Colorado and around the nation. Artists will be on hand to answer questions and talk about their work. Artists’ work will include oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, charcoal and mixed-media paintings, along with bronze, stone, metal, mixed media and luminous glass sculptures.
In addition to functional stoneware and non-functional raku ceramics, there will be inlaid wood turned bowls, jewelry, black-and-white and color photography as well as silk fabrics. Go to summitcountyartfestival.com for more information.
MAC & CHEESE FEST
In an effort to add more festivals to its summer lineup, organizers thought up this little gem as a way to break out of the box. A full day of tastings focused on, you got it, mac ‘n’ cheese. But these aren’t just dishes for kids — chefs compete to come up with the most creative dishes for a cash prize, using ingredients from crawfish and Andouille to pork belly or brisket. And for the adults, each dish is paired with a sample-size cocktail created to complement the entrée.
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