Inside the Mountain Top Tasting: Five Things to Know to Make this Your Best Mountain Top Tasting Yet

March 1, 2016 10:37 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Taste of Vail’s Mountain Top Tasting, with its sea of white tents spread before you, can be a bit overwhelming if you haven’t been before. While some would say the best advice is to just jump right in and start sampling from the more than 50 wineries on site, other longtime attendees are a bit more strategic about the experience, not wanting to miss out on all the fun bites and drinks from their favorite local restaurants and wineries.

From pork sliders and tacos overflowing with just-grilled meats and fresh toppings, to creamy corn Mountain Top Picnic-5 Photo Zach Mahoneand crab chowder, followed by Guinness s’mores, cupcakes blanketed in frosting, fresh strawberries and drizzled chocolate, no matter what the menu holds, it’s always guaranteed to be tasty.

We talked with a few Taste of Vail veterans to get their advice so that any novice or expert can ensure 2016 is the best Mountain Top Tasting to-date.

Come early
Mountain Top Tasting Director Chris Benson recommends arriving right when the gates open. The event is only two-and-a-half hours long and Benson recommends starting with the food first.
Mountain Top Picnic-33 Photo Zach Mahone
“There are usually only 15 or so restaurants attending, so I would try to get food first,” he said. “We set up the event so it is food on the outside and wine on the inside of the circle, so you can get some food and then grab some wine and wait in line for food with a glass of wine and then move on.”

Get to know the winemakers/winery owners
“One of the coolest things about Taste of Vail is the wineries have to bring the winemaker or a principle of the company, so you know you are talking with someone who really cares. It gives you a great opportunity to meet the actual winemaker or owner and get to know them,” said Paul Ferzacca, owner of La Tour, who has spent many years cooking for the Mountain Top Tasting. This year the restaurant is participating in the Lamb Cook-Off and the Grand Tasting. This also goes for the chefs, though they might not have quite as much time to chat with you. But don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn about what you’re eating. They’re passionate about what they do, and often want to share their insight with attendees.

Ski to the Mountain Top Tasting
Yes, it’s fun to ride the Gondola up to the event, but it’s even more fun to make an afternoon of it and catch a few runs before the festivities and take the Gondola down after. Plus, this will give you a chance to work up an appetite and burn some calories pre-Tasting. “Spend the morning on the slopes as the Mountain Top Tasting takes place on Vail Mountain right next to the Eagle Bahn Gondola,” said Chris Chantler, Taste of Vail board member.  Mountain Top Picnic-26 Photo Zach Mahone

Dress for the weather
And don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Executive Director Angela Mueller recommends checking the forecast before all of the outdoor events, including the Mountain Top Tasting, as spring weather can be unpredictable in the mountains. And even if it’s not overtly sunny, you can still get burned, so don’t forget to slather on the SPF.

Take it all in
 It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the Mountain Top Tasting, which is a very popular, signature Taste of Vail event, but it’s good to take your glass of vino, step away from the crowd, check out the view and send a little “thank you” out into the universe. “Nowhere else in the world is there an outdoor wine event with great food at over 10,000 feet in altitude. On beautiful, sunny days it is one of the most spectacular food and wine events in the world, and definitely one of the most unique.  And even on not-so-nice days, there is a tent to get cozy with all your new friends,” Ferzacca said.

Now that you’ve got the advice you need to succeed at the Mountain Top Tasting, purchase your tickets here!

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This post was written by Taste Of Vail

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