Keystone’s Wine in the Pines fundraiser celebrates 32 years |

Keystone’s Wine in the Pines fundraiser celebrates 32 years

Pastry tournant Cristina Caldera pours the base of a solid chocolate centerpiece on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, a week before the 32nd annual Wine in the Pines fundraiser in Keystone on Oct. 24.
Alli Langley / |


17: Gourmet desserts served

$35: Value of gold leaf on each of 48 decorative chocolate stars

500-600: Wines available to sample

650-800: People expected to attend

1,800: Pieces of bacon for the chocolate fountain

4,140: People reached by Ability Connection Colorado’s employment program in 2014

5,600: Bite-size pieces of gourmet pastries

41,000: People across Colorado served annually by Ability Connection Colorado

$80,000: Value of hybrid electric Cadillac that will be live-auctioned

$3 million: Total funds raised by previous Wine in the Pines events


What: 32nd annual Wine in the Pines fundraiser for Ability Connection Colorado

When: Saturday, Oct. 24, at 6 p.m.

Where: Keystone Resort Conference Center, 633 Tennis Club Rd, Dillon, CO 80435

How much: $130 in advance, $155 at the door

Dress: Formal black tie or cocktail attire (theme is All Star Celebration)

For more info or to buy tickets, visit To learn more about Ability Connection Colorado, visit

Every year, Ned Archibald is given a blank check for one Summit County event.

It’s no wonder the Keystone Resort executive pastry chef’s desserts usually steal the show at the annual Wine in the Pines fundraiser, which will celebrate its 32nd year this Saturday, Oct. 24.

Hundreds of guests will be treated to an extravagant sensory experience as their eyes are drawn to sparkling evening gowns, their ears to an a cappella music group, their mouths to samples of wine and high-end foods and their noses to the centerpiece chocolate fountain.

“I call it the adult prom, Summit County adult prom,” founder and organizer Mike Smith said.

Plus, attendees can take pleasure in knowing their money is going to a good cause.

The event has always supported the Denver-based nonprofit Ability Connection Colorado, which will turn 70 next year. This year’s event proceeds will again go toward the organization’s employment programs.

The nonprofit’s Kelly Smith Employment Center is named for the youngest child of Wine in the Pines founders, Mike and Margaret Smith. The couple created the fundraiser in honor of Kelly, who was born with cerebral palsy, which affects muscle functions among other complications.

Mike Smith said the event has raised about $3 million over the decades through ticket sales and live and silent auctions. Organizers expect this year’s gala to net $100,000 or more for the nonprofit’s efforts.


This year, the Denver-based Auction Divas will be conducting the live auction, Smith said, which will include a hybrid electric vehicle.

Hudson Auto Source in Silverthorne donated a new 2014 Cadillac hybrid worth about $80,000, and FD Taylor Electric donated a garage conversion for the buyer to be able to plug in the electric vehicle at home.

Other standout auction items beyond the typical packages from local businesses include a trip for 10 people to Tuscany, a family vacation to Maui, an autographed Peyton Manning jersey, limited edition New Belgium Fat Tire bicycle and a couple dozen bottles of wine selected and signed by local celebrities.

This year’s theme is an All Star Celebration, and the event will feature the musical talents of the Denver-based 17th Avenue Allstars, the Allstars Dance Band and jazz singer Tina Naylor.

Kelly Smith, now 44, will be in attendance.

Her parents, longtime Dillon residents, started the event in the early 1980s when she was a child as a way to get involved and give back.

“We wanted to do something special with her and for her,” Mike Smith said.


Besides raising funds for Ability Connection Colorado, the family also wanted to promote wine in Summit County. The Smiths own Dillon Ridge Liquors, and Kelly’s older siblings are both in the wine business.

Mike Smith said he is working with almost every distributor in Colorado to provide 500 to 600 wines from around the world. Attendees also can choose from various liquors and beers from local breweries.

For food, guests will sample the finest dishes produced by the top-rated restaurants in Keystone.

“The chefs at Keystone, they try to outdo each other every year,” he said, “and then, to top it off, there’s Ned.”

Archibald said he and his seven-person staff are preparing 17 desserts including white chocolate hazelnut tartuffi, honey almond florentines and s’mores truffles. The team will spend nearly 600 hours creating the desserts and the event’s solid chocolate decorations.

Next to the chocolate fountain, he will place typical dipping items as well as three types of bacon: spicy sriracha red chili, a maple brown sugar ginger and apple wood smoked.

“Bacon is so flipping good on its own,” he said about giving in to the bacon-dessert craze a couple years ago. But, at a recent Vail Resorts company event, “everybody’s plate had chocolate with bacon on it, everybody’s!”

For more information, visit

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